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How To Be At Peace With The Uncertainty In Your Career

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Jun. 14 2019, Published 4:15 a.m. ET

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The words “uncertainty” and “career” are typically two words you would not want to see in the sentence together. You can, however, find peace with the uncertainty in your career. I have had my fair share of ups and downs while working for myself. I’ve ridden the rollercoaster of making money and then not, which can undoubtedly affect you mentally, let alone financially. I believe that no matter where you are in your career, be it a business owner or are in between jobs, there is a way to be at peace with the situation you may find yourself in.

How To Be At Peace With Uncertainty When You Work For Someone Else

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We are in a time when more and more companies are announcing layoffs. It’s natural to feel nervous, wondering if your company is next to start its job cuts. I live in Rhode Island, which is a “fire at will” state. An employer does not need good cause to fire you, which is even more anxiety-inducing.

If you are an employee and you worry about job security, this is a really great opportunity to focus on the skills you have outside of work. Is there a side hustle that you’ve always dreamed of starting? Do you make crafts as gifts? Do enjoy writing? Do you like children? Why not sell your candles online, freelance write, or tutor young students?  Have you considered going back to school? Even taking a few classes at night through the local community college of a subject that interests you could lead you in the direction of a new career. Take the time outside of work to develop your skills in case one day you find yourself unemployed.

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A decade ago, I worked at a camera store, then one day out of the blue, I was laid off. Even while at the camera store, I never once considered being a photographer.  After trying it out during my time of unemployment, I learned it was something I really enjoyed doing. I’ve been a working photographer for 10 years. 

Don’t hesitate to start now. Whatever it is that is of great interest to you, whether it falls within your current industry or not, give it a try. Seek out professional development opportunities and groups that will support your learning in the area of your choice. It’s never too early nor too late.

How To Be At Peace With Uncertainty When You Work For Yourself

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It’s strange when you feel like working for yourself is more secure than working for someone else. You’re not relying on someone else to sign your check at the end of the week. You are in control of the money coming into your bank account.

There are surely seasons of making a ton of money and not making any money when you work for yourself. My advice would be to see if you can diversify what you offer as services. For example, even though I am a fashion photographer, I started a productivity coaching service. I’ve always been the person to help my friends organize and plan out their projects. Why not offer that as a paid service? Look into any skills or talents that you may have, and see if you can add it on to your existing business.

That additional avenue of income might just be the thing that will provide some peace of mind during that time of uncertainty, and the added service can only benefit your work and show your clientele a new layer of expertise

Also, part-time work is wholly underrated. If you find yourself in a slow season, see if you can pick up part-time work at a local coffee shop or a retail store. Go online to see if there are work-from-home jobs that are manageable to do within the odd hours that entrepreneurs can sometimes have.

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How To Be At Peace With Uncertainty When You Do Not Have A Job

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I feel for anyone who is in between jobs. Again, when I was laid off a decade ago, I had no idea what I was going to do and was actually unemployed for two years. I took that time to develop my photography skills. I suggest you strengthen the skills that you have and to consider if starting their own business could be a viable alternative. Keep applying to jobs that interest you, but don’t ignore all the opportunities that lay in front of you. Maybe being a small business owner was never an option you thought was for you, but if you have the skills and you see that there is a need in the market for those skills, why not take the leap and try?

Also, I cannot stress taking on a part-time job enough. It will give you the time to figure out exactly what you want to do. In a culture that glorifies making as much money as possible, you may find yourself applying to corporate jobs that will pay you a lot of money but will not bring you joy. Take this time to see what really lights you up inside. Getting laid off was the best thing that happened to me. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and worry in this time, but I ask you to see it for what it actually is–an opportunity to learn what you’re made of and what you can create in a difficult moment.

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