The Question: I am going though a messy divorce and am miserable in my job. Should I look for a new job now to create something positive in my life?
Divorce can be, and usually is stressful event – even when it’s “amicable”. It can throw people into emotional volatility…and temporary insanity. Causing them to behave in unpredictable ways that may be out of character. So it is a difficult time for those who experience it.
In addition to your impending divorce, you are experiencing unhappiness in your job. A double whammy. For anyone, being unhappy in a job requires a proactive effort to improve one’s situation. And your current situation is no exception. But does it make sense to embark on a job search and change jobs now?
You are experiencing one of the biggest changes in your life: the ending of a significant personal relationship. What you need to strive for right now is stability. To add a job search–and potential new job on your shoulders is too much. And too risky for your personal…and professional well being. A job search takes time, energy, stamina and a positive attitude. Things you might be a tad short of right now. In addition, while interviews are a showcase for your experience and talents, they also provide a window into your personality, demeanor and sense of being. If you are not feeling your best, it will come through in an interview and compromise your candidacy…and at times, your reputation.
Even if you are successful, starting a new job…while exciting…is still stressful. In the beginning, you’re an unproven commodity and need to be on your game 24/7 with regard to your job responsibilities and work relationships. Divorce causes preoccupation (physically and emotionally), which will steer you away from the focus and effort required to succeed in a new role. It’s a professional risk not worth taking if you can avoid it.
Instead, focus on improving your current work situation until the time is right to make a permanent change. How?
List the things about your job that make you unhappy. Is it the role? Your boss? Your compensation? Do you feel unappreciated? Perhaps you’re projecting your personal situation on work? Pinpointing the specific issues will enable you to create solutions to make life better at work.
List the things that make you happy. It’s easy to fixate on the negative–especially when going through a divorce. By appreciating the positives, you can try and incorporate more of them in your work experience. Focusing on positives also helps keep your attitude and mood lifted.
Create solutions. No one is going to solve your problems for you. It’s your responsibility. After you’ve assessed your situation, identify possible solutions to make it better. If you feel stuck, ask someone you trust or a professional coach to help facilitate your effort. Then implement.
Keep your finger on the pulse of the market. Just because you’re not pounding the pavement doesn’t mean you can’t stay up to speed on the employment market. So at your leisure, educate yourself. Read articles, speak with recruiters, and peruse the job boards. By staying current, feel like you are taking proactive steps, which may ease the stress of your current work situation. You’ll also feel more connected and at ease once you decide to jump in.
Take care of yourself. You’re going through a tough time…so give yourself a little TLC. Exercise, eat well, get sleep, watch funny movies and lean on your friends and others in your support group. Seek professional assistance if you feel it would be helpful. Now is the time to re-center and fill up the tank.
Life is a journey – never void of challenges. And you’re in a situation where it’s in your personal and professional best interest to keep change at a minimum until your divorce settles. So during this time, take care of yourself and focus on doing what you can control to make your current role a happier one. And by the time this storm passes, you’ll be in a better position to put your best foot forward when it’s time to move on.