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How to Get Past the Anxiety of Leaving a Job

by Tara Duggan, studioD

Many people have anxiety about starting a job, but leaving a job presents some challenges too. Any change generates feelings of uncertainty, and you might face several changes when you leave a job, from shifting to a new career to moving away from your longtime home. If you have feelings of anxiety, face them head on.

Assessing Your Skills

If you’ve been working at a job for a long time, have been passed over for promotions and feel like you’re getting nowhere, it might be time to seek employment elsewhere. To reduce your anxiety over this decision, it helps to be prepared for the next challenge. Take stock of your current skills using free Internet tools such as the U. S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop Skills Profiler website. Find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie in areas such as problem-solving, listening skills, critical thinking, communication and decision making. Use the results to find a career that suits your skills and interests. Finding out what you’re good at should increase your confidence and help you get over your trepidation about leaving your job.


Whether you are considering leaving a job or have already done so, you should expand your professional network to make the transition easier. Professional networking tools such as LinkedIn can help you locate potential contacts and resources in your new field. You can also create a profile so people can locate you. Also, join professional organizations to get support for transitioning into a new job. Experienced business people can provide valuable insights into easing your anxiety over leaving one job and starting another.

Asking for Help

Dealing with the anxiety of leaving a job can leave you exhausted and depleted. Speak with your immediate supervisor to get tips on how to finish projects, train replacements and deal with any necessary paperwork during your final days and weeks on the job. If your company has a HR department, contact a representative there to provide guidance on how to proceed with your health insurance plan or 401(k) plan. Use any available resources to ensure you don't spend your last day scrambling for answers you could have gotten well ahead of time.

Managing Stress

Uncertainty causes stress. Taking risks produces anxiety. Leaving a job generates both of these conditions. Reduce that sick feeling in your stomach, throbbing headache or heart-pounding panic by taking a walk, getting some exercise, having lunch with a friend or listening to music. A temporary distraction will refresh you and let you focus on resolving your anxiety associated with leaving a job. Also, use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to calm your nerves and recharge your batteries

About the Author

Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.

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