Change is scary. It can be nerve-racking on a normal day, and even more so during a pandemic. Many people naturally avoid it as much as possible.
Pharma is a constantly-changing industry. Many people have, by no fault of their own, become very used to change and frequent job changes. Others, however, have made very few job changes and it becomes a daunting task to make a move. Making a job change forces us out of our comfort zone, which makes us anxious.
The anxiety can cloud our judgment and it’s human nature for us to start overthinking things and focus on worst-case scenarios. Here are a few ways we can help ourselves stay calm during stressful decisions.
1. Remind yourself why you’re at the point that you are
Let’s say you’ve begun thinking about a job change – maybe you’re already in the middle of the interview process. You might begin feeling winds of change in your life as you get closer to making a decision on a potential offer. You may start to get nervous. Your mindset might change, and start convincing yourself a job change really isn’t necessary. Or, maybe the work that comes with changing jobs suddenly doesn’t seem worth it anymore. This reaction has been called “amygdala hijacking.” Our brain’s amygdala, which is responsible for our reaction to fear and other emotions, can activate our fight-or-flight response. We feel it suddenly clouds our judgment and makes the impending change scarier than it needs to be. But if you stop, breathe, and remind yourself why you’re at this point (i.e. why you thought it was a good idea in the first place), you can help yourself think more clearly. It gets your decision-making process back on track.
2. Write down what you’re nervous about
Many of you essentially do this already, as making a pros/cons list or a T-chart is a common practice we hear about from candidates who are mulling over job changes. But during times of heightened anxiety, write down specifically what it is that you’re worried about. Then, write down why you’re worried about it. You may be surprised to see that writing down your thoughts and reflect on the change you’re considering will help you realize that your worries are a little overblown. You can even take it a step further and write down the worst-case scenario that can come from the change you’re considering. You’ll probably see that it isn’t as life-altering as you might think.
3. Take advice from someone with a neutral opinion
If you’re experiencing stress about a situation and you’re seeking someone else’s opinion, try to pick out a colleague or a friend who you know you can trust to be level-headed and unbiased, even if they aren’t necessarily your closest confidant. The problem with leaning on your closest family members and friends is that they will be more sensitive to seeing you be stressed out and they’ll be more likely to guide you to whichever option gets you back into your comfort zone quicker. Find someone who can genuinely tell you what they would do in your shoes if you need a sounding board.
Questions or comments? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC