Job change and the stress that goes with it
I have an announcement. I have accepted a new position as an instructor at Eastern Kentucky University. I'll be leaving the daily newspaper environment soon to teach journalism classes at a great state university.
"Wow!" people are telling me. "That's great! How exciting!"
Yes, it is exciting, and I am happy as can be about this opportunity.
However, I have a feeling that soon, the stress is going to set in. All change -- even good change -- brings stress.
Stress is not always a bad thing, though. Stress is simply the body's response to changes that create taxing demands. When people talk about being "stressed out," we usually think about negative stress, or distress. But there is a positive term for stress, and it's called eustress.
According to Wikipedia, distress is the most commonly-referred to type of stress, having negative implications, whereas eustress is a positive form of stress, usually related to desirable events in a person's life. Both can be equally taxing on the body, and are cumulative in nature, depending on a person's way of adapting to a change that has caused it.
Why does change cause such stress? According to this Web site,change challenges you to let go of the past, especially the comfortable, old ways of doing things, to accept new challenges and opportunities for growth.
This site recommends that you maintain the calm of an open mind, encourage flexibility in the face of rigidity and be willing to abandon former perceptions and security blankets. Change, like stress, can be beneficial when harnessed.
I'll have to remember that in the coming months.
So, how do you cope with the stress of adjusting to a new job?
This Web site has some good tips. A few typos and incomplete thoughts (Sorry, I have been a copy editor, after all. Just getting in practice for teaching my class!), but good tips nonetheless.
According to the site, the main key to adjusting to a new job is preparation. You also need to set new habits quickly, familiarize yourself with your new environment, find a friend and establish rapport and make the new environment as "homey" as possible.
Luckily, I have taught the very class I'll be teaching for EKU on a part-time basis. Thus, I am familiar with some of the people I'll be working with, and I have a taste of what teaching will be like. But as full-time faculty, I'll have many other responsibilities as well, like advising the yearbook staff.
I am preparing for the new job now by setting up meetings with some of my new colleagues -- especially those who have done parts of my job before me -- and getting as much information and advice as I can. I am also giving myself some time between the last day at my current job and the start my new job to relax at home for a few days and begin preparing for my classes. I hope all of this will help me be ready once classes actually start in the fall.
Many of the personal items on my desk at my current work will go straight to my new office. I have three beautiful plants that will keep some green around me, as well as some items at home that were once part of an office I had before. All of this will help me surround myself with familiar things, and with a little luck, make me feel right at home.
In the midst of the changes ahead, I will keep a few habits constant in my life. My once-a-week yoga class will be a wonderful relief, as will my twice-weekly gym workouts. And my blog will be a nice, personal outlet, as it has been for the past couple of months.
With all of these resources at hand, I hope I weather the positive stress this exciting new change will bring me.
Are you going through a major change in your life? Good or bad? How are you coping with it?