Recovery and Moving Up At Work: Am I Ready?
Getting sober takes hard work and dedication. And for many who have dedicated their lives to the new path of recovery, learning balance can be tricky. But as your recovery gets stronger, you’ll start feel ready for new challenges.
At work, this might mean taking on a new job or pursuing a promotion.
7 Tips to Make Your New Job Recovery-Compatible
New jobs bring new responsibilities, team dynamics and added stress, so it’s important to think through the decision before you make it. Here’s how to make sure your new job is compatible with your recovery:
- Tip #1 Check your recovery pulse.
First and foremost, be honest with yourself about how you’re doing. Evaluate your recovery pulse and ask yourself a few questions: How long have you been sober? What obligations do you have in recovery or in treatment? Will you be able to balance the demands of work with your commitment to recovery? Asking these practical questions is the first step to honesty and self-awareness.
- Tip #2 Look at your sober support.
Meaning – do you have support? Taking on a new job can be stressful, so before you make the move, make sure you have people in your corner. Go to meetings or try to make a few new sober friends. Having support will give you the accountability and social connectedness you’ll need as you add new dynamics to your life – work included. You will have hard days in any job, so it’s wise to have people in your life that you trust.
- Tip #3 Do your homework.
Before you start applying for promotions, learn more about the area you’re applying to. What’s the boss like? Do people like their jobs? Is there high turnover? It can be easy to get excited over a job description, but make sure you know what you’re walking into. Assessing a job opportunity based on research and feedback will help you make a wise decision on how the promotion could strengthen or weaken your recovery. The decision is still up to you, but it’s better to walk into a new job prepared rather than being blindsided by a harsh reality.
- Tip #4 Reflect on your goals and aspirations.
It can be easy to take a job for jobs’ sake, so think through what it is that you truly want to do in your life and career. Before you jump into a new job, spend time reflecting or goal setting. Taking time to ground yourself in the goals you have for your future will better equip you with the wisdom and discernment to take a job that supports that vision. You’ll be happiest in a job that aligns with your life goals – and it’s proven that when you’re fulfilled at work, you’re happier overall.
- Tip #5 Talk with your mentor.
Having a professional mentor can be beneficial, but especially when you need to make important decisions, like whether or not to take on a new job. Professional mentors are valuable simply because they’ve been there. They’ve taken the jobs – both good and bad – and they have wisdom based on their lived experience. Tap into their expertise and ask for their help as you decide your next step.
- Tip #6 Talk with your sponsor.
While a professional mentor is beneficial as you evaluate career decisions, a sponsor or recovery coach can help you grow your recovery. While a professional mentor might be a better person to talk with about the job itself, your recovery supports can help you look at it from a recovery lens. Are you ready to move up? Why do you want to take on a new job? A sponsor will help you talk through these questions and will always bring you back to your recovery. Taking your recovery one day at a time means doing what it takes to stay sober. If a new job will help you strengthen your recovery, it’s probably the best move. If not, or if you’re feeling hurried, rushed or frantic about moving up or taking on a new job, they can help coach you through these emotions and brainstorm how you can make a change without rushing into a negative situation.
- Tip #7 Don’t get discouraged.
For many people who have taken time off when they first get sober, it’s easy to feel like you’re behind or like you’ve missed out on your chance to get ahead in your career. This is simply not true. Many success stories come after rising from hardship, just like you’re doing in recovery. And better yet, some of the greatest leaders got it wrong before they got it right. You’re allowed to make mistakes, to fail and even to get behind – it’s all a part of the process. So instead of getting discouraged, keep a positive attitude about what you can control today: your next step. Small, diligent steps lead to long-term gains. Even if you’re in a temporary job for now, if you’re prioritizing recovery, tapping into your support network and are grounded in vision, you’re on your way.
If you’ve spent time focusing on recovery, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. And better yet? Your dedication to recovery can help you tremendously when you get back in the swing of things at work. You haven’t missed out on anything – your journey has just started.
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