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Advanced Career Therapy for Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Jan 16, 2019 | 20-Somethings, Career Launch

Advanced Career Therapy for Reducing Stress and Anxiety
In my January 1st post, I started to talk about using Concomitant Career Therapy as a powerful tool for decreasing anxiety, finding perspective, and pulling oneself out of mental malaise. Many of my clients are experiencing job dissatisfaction, a lack of direction and are listening to the “should” voices in their heads. They say that they feel anxious when they think about their lives as compared to their friends, colleagues, and family members. They say the feelings include nervousness, apprehension, unease, obsessive over-thinking, and mostly confusion about where to go next and how to get there. If you haven’t read the Concomitant Career Therapy post yet, you’ll want to check that out first.
Today we’re stepping up the therapy strategies to the next level.  As a reminder, here are the first two “doses” of Career Therapy:

First Dose for weeks 1 – 4
Dosage Instructions: 3 times per week
Engage in a meaningful volunteering opportunity

Second Dose for weeks 5 – 8 (Note: Do not discontinue the first dose)
Dosage Instructions: 3 times per week
Show up to your job, but commit to digging through the “Intranet” – company internet and taking advantage of everything they have to offer in the way of workshops, classes, employee events, etc. Make a commitment to update your Linkedin profile and connect with people in your company that like you and that you like.  Don’t just ask every Tom, Peter and Harry, stick with the really awesome ones who know and appreciate you. This job does NOT have to fulfill your life’s purpose or passion. It does, however, allow you to pay some bills, get you out of the house and away from boring and life-sucking activities.

After completing the first two doses in weeks 1-8, you’re ready for the next level:

Third Dose for weeks 9-12
3x/week: Engage in a meaningful volunteering opportunity
AND
3x/week: Show up to your current job with new ideas
AND
Start an intentional and thoughtful Professional Situation Analysis. This is not a job search, but it is an excellent preparation for one

An intentional and thoughtful PSA is just that: intention and thoughtful!. This is about identifying and pursuing a path that meets your lifestyle needs, matches your skill set, and offers a sense of purpose or fulfillment. It’s also about looking inside and outside to see where the current dissatisfaction is coming from. In other words, it’s time to Take Charge of Your Career!

If you’re like many Gen Y professionals out there, you may find yourself working a job you don’t exactly love. There are many reasons why you might be disenchanted with your current position, but this dissatisfaction can actually provide you with useful information. If you take the time to work through this Career Inventory you will be better prepared to explore the options that are available if you find yourself in a position that’s simply not the right fit.

Part 1: Career Inventory
The Career Inventory is key to gathering the information you’ll need to determine what specifically is the problem with your current job. Are you not challenged enough? Overwhelmed by the work? In an uncomfortable environment or difficult social setting? Maybe it’s a management or leadership issue. And sometimes, it’s a matter of your own attitude.

The following exercises will help you generate a Career Inventory that provides a clear picture of your current situation.

Quiz: Is It You or Is It Them?
This quiz will help you gain much-needed perspective about whether your unhappiness with your job is because of “them” (the role, colleagues, company culture) or because of “you” (unmet expectations, perspective or attitude)

Rate your answers on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is disagree strongly, 5 is agree strongly.

I enjoy collaborating and spending time with my co-workers.
I have the necessary resources to do my job well.
My skills are well-matched to the position I currently hold.
My management is supportive and I can ask for help if I need it.
I am routinely challenged with growth opportunities at work.
Count up your total number of points (lowest is 5, highest is 25)

5-12: It might be them. Environment, management, co-workers, and job description might be ill-suited to your preference
14-17: Probably a hybrid of you and them. Some things could be improved at work, but your attitude likely plays a role in your dissatisfaction.
18-25: It might be you. No job is perfect, but in general you have the makings of a pretty good position. If you’re still dissatisfied, it might be time to examine your approach to work.

Reflection Questions
These questions will help you articulate and elaborate on your current relationship with your career. Grab a journal and a pen and spend some time digging into them.

Which parts of your job do you love and why?
Which parts of your job do you dislike and why?
Which people do you enjoy working with and why?
Which people do you not enjoy working with and why?
What do you like and dislike about your work environment and why?
What expectations do you have for the kind of lifestyle you want?
What level you want to attain/reach in your field?
Do you see yourself at your current organization 5 years from now?
Does anyone in your current organization have a job you would want someday?

At the end of these two exercises, you should have a comprehensive analysis of your professional situation. 
In our next blog article, we’ll talk about How to Make the Change. Be back soon!