Emerge and Spread Your Wings

Moving Right Along…

One of the issues that invariably comes up over a period of time in supervision is adjusting to a change at work. Recently I had the opportunity to provide a reflective space and ideas for two different supervisees. Each needed to leave behind aspects of their past work lives. One wanted to let go of resentment at what he felt were wasted years doing a job that didn’t fulfill him. The other is making a positive career shift, but had mixed feelings about leaving her past job. She had committed years to developing the service and had many strong ties within the old work environment. What these supervisees both had in common was the need for a process to explore the emotions and thoughts which accompanied this change in order to move forward proactively.
These are some of the ideas we explored, which could be used as a process for any change adjustment.
Identify all the feelings attached to the old job.
Identify what aspects of the job you viewed as positive and negative, and what might you miss or not miss?
Of the aspects you might miss, how might you re-create those in your new role? (For instance could you arrange to meet the colleagues you have formed supportive friendships with in a social setting? or can you incorporate your job strengths into your new work-role?)
Of the aspects you are glad to leave behind, how might you avoid getting caught up in old habits? (Might you set clearer boundaries with your new work colleagues? Might you set new boundaries for yourself about taking work home?)
What lessons can you take from your experiences in your past job?

When you have explored these questions I find attaching some ritual to a process is helpful.
For instance you might write down all the aspects of the job you want to leave behind on a piece of paper and tear it up/burn it/ float it out to sea?
When you feel a tug about leaving your old job, is there something symbolic of yourself you might leave behind? A gift the other staff might appreciate using, a resource you found useful?
Find a personal way to discharge the “old baggage” – journal, draw, sing, dance…..
Make or buy yourself something to represent what you have gained from the experience of the last job. Regardless of how positive or negative the environment you have learned and grown.

After letting go it is important to look forward.
Plan some positive events/holidays/celebrations.
Identify and put in place a plan to recreate the positive aspects of the past job that you want to keep.

This quote from Maya Angelou’s book Letter To My Daughter struck me as an insightful way to view the process of moving on.
‘Upon later reflection of the painful incident, I am remembering what Arkansas gave me. I came to understand that I can never forget where I came from. My soul should always look back and wonder at the mountains I had climbed and the rivers I had forged and the challenges which still await down the road. I am strenghtened by that knowledge.”

Supervision provides a safe, protected space to explore how you can move on.