Develop a Resilient Career Identity
You’re an experienced professional. You’ve taken on big projects and nailed them, proven your competence, and earned respect from your co-workers and supervisors. Then you move to a new employer for a better long-term opportunity. As you get into the day to day flow of your new job, you realize people don’t treat you the way you were used to being treated before. Maybe they don’t give you the same level of assignments you were used to getting. Maybe your new boss tends to micro-manage you when your old boss gave you freedom. Maybe your co-workers don’t give you much encouragement.
As you realize you’re not viewed in the same way that you were by your old employer, feelings of insecurity can creep in. You may start to question yourself. You may wonder whether your past successes were aberrations and your “real” level of performance is just average, or whether you made a mistake by leaving your old employer. When you recognize you’re having these thoughts, STOP and reset your self-talk.
Make a mental list of some of your greatest successes. Remind yourself of what you are capable of accomplishing. Reaffirm that your work has been respected and valued, and has gotten outstanding results. You have talent and capability – those don’t leave you when you start with a new employer.
But also remember that even if you came to your new position with excellent references, you will have to prove yourself again to some degree or another. You may feel you shouldn’t have to, that your history speaks for itself. But the truth is that until you build relationships, learn to adapt to the new culture, and have new successes, you’re something of an unknown quantity. You earned respect and recognition in your old environment because you did all those things. And you will again. But it may take time. You can’t shortcut the process of becoming known, trusted, and respected.
It’s understandable to feel a little daunted when you realize you have to prove yourself to a new set of stakeholders. But don’t get bogged down by feelings of self-doubt. Remember that it’s a normal process, and you will build your reputation once again. After all, you are who you are - no matter where you are.
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