Take a deep breath…

November 2020

How ‘secure’ are you feeling at work? Karen Young explains how you
can manage anxiety around job security

The world of work has been awash with change and uncertainty for most of this year, which has understandably left many feeling anxious about the security of their jobs. These feelings are a very natural response to what is happening around us and shared by many.

There’s no denying that it’s been a tough year for PQs, but I do believe that the Coronavirus crisis is revealing a world of new opportunity and unfolding a new era of work. It will be different, but that doesn’t mean that it will necessarily be worse. The change that Covid-19 has brought might provide an invaluable opportunity to review your career plan and ensure you’re making good decisions for your future.

Here are some steps you can take to calm your anxieties and feel more secure in your job.

I’d like to share some quickfire tips in the hope that at least a couple of these resonate with how you’re feeling and help you to calm your anxieties and feel more secure in your job.

1: Acknowledge your anxiety We have no choice but to accept that we are going through a period of rapid and unforeseen change, which will likely continue for some time. So as a first step, acknowledge the anxiety which this has caused. Having some self-awareness will help you to begin to overcome these feelings and take control.

2: Focus on what is in your control At times of anxiety, it’s easy to lose perspective and feel like everything’s spiralling out of control. Therefore, my next tip is to take the time to consciously identify the things that you do have ‘under control’ in your life. Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, focus on areas where you trust in your abilities and are confident in how you perform, how you act and come across. This should help dissipate any uneasiness you feel about your job or at least pin them to a specific area, where you can think about some actions to take.

3: Don’t suffer in silence Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It shows that we care and are committed to doing a good job. Think about someone at work who you trust and can approach for a reassuring conversation about your situation. Opening up to someone can be incredibly cathartic and gives you the opportunity to clear up any uncertainties which might be heightening your concerns, and an objective view helps too.

4: Reframe change as opportunity If the change of this year is at the core of your anxiety, try to reframe the way you see this change. Change really can provide some valuable learning lessons which will power your long-term professional growth. Shifting your mindset to recognise this is easier said than done, but the more you practice, the more engrained this will become.

5: Look for the positives Force yourself to see some positives in the current situation, rather than focussing on what you perceive to be the disadvantages. For example, have you been able to work with new people? Have you taken on new responsibilities which you enjoy? Or maybe you’ve developed some new skills throughout all of this? Even in the most challenging situations there are always positives to be found, no matter how small.

6: Enrich your life outside of work You should without a doubt be taking time outside of work to look after your wellbeing. Try to invest time in doing things for yourself which are unconnected to your career. It’s a great way to proactively occupy your mind and keep any anxieties at bay.

7: Remind yourself that this is temporary You’ve worked hard to reach this career stage, and the current situation isn’t going to unravel all of that hard work. If you’re in doubt about this, take the time to list your strengths and the things that you have learned. It will make you feel more positive and remind you that whatever might happen in the future, you can be confident that you have developed a valued skillset which will outlast the current climate.

The future is bright

Hopefully these tips will help mitigate some of the anxieties that you may be feeling about the security of your job and better enable you to deal with any anxieties that remain.

Adopting the most positive and forward-looking mindset you can will help you continue to thrive professionally throughout the crisis and beyond.

• Karen Young, Director of Hays Accountancy & Finance.