Living through a career or job transition poses challenges. For some, it creates an identity crisis: Who am I if I’m not a full-time parent? CEO? IT worker? Financial professional? Business owner? Who am I if I’m not employed? Some people in job transition can have a sense of clarity about a fabulous skill set they possess and are searching for the right fit in a new industry or company.
I’ve learned there’s often a larger context in which a career or job transition takes place, which may include the passing of loved ones, a relocation to a new living place, caretaking of seriously ill loved ones, or other life circumstances.
As a feng shui consultant, I have talked to people about the workspace or office they use during their job transition. Here’s what I learned about what some people in job transition see as the purpose of this workspace or office:
- A man cave –a personal space
- A place to look for a job
- A place to pay bills, file, and do the business of the household
- A place that supports and grounds the person’s values
- A comfort zone
- The place the person organizes his or her life
- A means to an end, with the end being landing a job
Here’s what I learned about what they liked least about their workspace:
- The mess and disorganization
- The reminder of being unemployed and the feeling that they wanted be somewhere else
- The experience of too much paper
- The feelings of heaviness, loneliness, fear, and stress while in the space
- The recognition that the workspace was the family junk room
The people in job transition told me they like the following things the most about their workspaces:
- They could close the door and have privacy.
- They loved their desk, perhaps because it connected them to a beloved family member who used it.
- The fireplace in the office.
- When it was organized, the workspace drew them in, welcomed them.
- They communicated well with others in the space.
- It had memorabilia that reminded them of beloved family.
- A roll-top desk hid the mess.
When I asked what they wanted to be different in a year, here’s what I learned:
- They will have an office!
- The space would be decluttered and organized.
- There would be more money coming into the household.
- The space would be repurposed because it was no longer needed.
- They’d own a roll-top desk to hide all the papers.
For a workspace that fosters a sense of empowerment in the midst of a job search, here are some ideas:
Consider the purpose of a workspace being connected to a vision and a dream that deeply inspires you, such as joyfully creating your new life calling or fulfilling a dream that will need all the love you can give. Or perhaps your dream is to help people save lives, prosper in retirement, enjoy the experience of eating delicious food, purchase clothes that make them feel attractive, thrive in their physical spaces, be inspired to go to work, find a career they love, find their dream home, create gardens that nourish their bodies and souls, transform the quality of their lives, furnish their homes with gently used furniture, find their soul mate, travel the world in the most economical way … A purpose or vision calls to your heart, is part of the answer to why you are here, and aligns with your gifts, skills, and talents.
Keep in mind that the purpose of a workspace includes productivity and creativity informed by your vision and your imagination. All the functions can then flow from this clear purpose. Simply said, it’s a place to fulfill your heart’s desire while doing meaningful work.
Consider that your career relates to cultivating courage. This may mean being fearless in expressing your unique skills, talents, perspective, and wisdom. Sometimes it involves breaking free from other people’s expectations for you, which may be limiting or not a good fit for you at this juncture. It often takes courage to be yourself and live true to your next calling. It takes courage to create a new career path.
Clear clutter—any items not aligned with the purpose of your workspace. Relocate these to another area of your home, recycle them, or donate them.
Consider clearing away items associated with past jobs you know you will never do again. Free your space and mind for the new adventure. I know that for some people this takes clarity and trust.
If possible, place your chair in the command position with a view of the door or the direction from which people will approach you. This allows the nervous system to calm down rather than be on high alert. Consider giving it a go for a week and see how you feel. If you cannot move your desk, place a mirror you can glance into like a rearview mirror. Many people feel empowered when they can see the door and look out a window.
Bring living things into your workspace, such as a plant, fresh flowers, or images of living things and nature. Bring in some items that inspire your career vision, such as photos, artwork, quotes, and affirmations.