As a graduate, finally stepping out into the job market can be an intimidating experience. We naturally start to feel uneasy as we leave the comfort zone we’ve become accustomed to. You’ve spent years in the education system acquiring specific skills, now the time has come to put them to real-world use.
Others already within the working world may encounter similar feelings of discomfort when changing jobs, whether you’re reaching for a higher position in a new company or embarking on a radical change of career.
In both cases, this uncomfortable feeling, although unpleasant, actually signifies personal growth. After all, there is no room for growth in your comfort zone. But you can rest assured that by pushing yourself through these situations, it’s likely you’ll discover you’re far more capable than you realized.
Here are four of the most common situations that make us feel incredibly uncomfortable and how to overcome them.
1. You’re Feeling Lost Due to Lack of Career Direction
In many cases, we receive a lack of help in finding our direction, which can be worrying. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to realize that you are solely responsible for your own career growth.
You’re not simply floating along and relying on others (or luck) to reach your career destination. You are in control and guiding your career development, so take the reins. Replace those feelings of discomfort with empowerment. You’ll regain clarity once you can define your aspirations and build your own development plans to reach them.
Whichever field you work in, you’ve got to try and connect with those in positions you aspire to reach. Be open and honest about your intentions and show them your determination. It’s likely they can provide essential insights.
2. You Are Worried Your Career is Too Challenging
Realizing that your chosen path is tougher than you expected can quickly fill you with feelings of self-doubt. Before you start to panic that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, you need to calm down and evaluate why you chose this career.
One surefire way to know you’re on the path to exceptional personal growth is when hardship is coupled with an unrivaled sense of achievement. It’s these challenging career paths with great rewards that will trigger your greatest progress and success.
Let’s say you work as a graphic designer for professional brands. The initial stages of designing a new client’s brand may be incredibly challenging. In the early stages of development, your creativity will be tested to the limit to come up with ideas. However, the further you progress, the higher your sense of achievement is. Finally, the feeling when the client compliments your final work provides an unrivaled feeling of accomplishment.
3. You’ve Got Doubt Because You Don’t 100% Love Your Job
It’s a common misconception that we must be completely in love with our perfect job. It’s true, you should choose a field that fuels your passion. But personal growth in your career should be thought of as a rose garden complete with the occasional thorn.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to encounter periods of frustration, difficulty, and possibly even boredom. Yet, you must rely on your passion to continue to drive you through rough patches. Don’t see these blips as reasons to doubt yourself.
No matter which position you hold, there are always going to be certain parts you dislike. Even if you reach a mighty CEO position in a highly reputable company, you may still take no joy in reprimanding and firing employees.
4. You Feel Like a Failure If You Receive Negative Feedback
It’s not always easy to hear your work was not as good as it could have been — especially if you already worked hard to achieve it. But instead of feeling disheartened, you should be grateful to receive constructive criticism on your work
Your career path is paved by growth and progression. You’ll need to be constantly learning and improving to reach the peak of your performance in a professional field. Feedback is an essential part of this process. Although it can make you feel uncomfortable, you’ve go to embrace this as personal growth.
Let’s say as a magazine journalist you worked tirelessly to complete an important piece of writing, only for your boss to comment on the number of grammatical mistakes. It may have knocked your self-confidence for a minute, but this should trigger you to sharpen your writing skills and fine-tune your proofreading process. As a result, you’ll become a vastly improved writer!