The Thread: Navigating Transitions

Sheryl Burgstahler

Summer is here, and I wanted to share with you a question posed by a DO-IT Ambassador within our Internet discussion forum and some of the responses, so you can get the flavor of the many rich conversations the DO-IT community has online. Some forum posts are edited for clarity and brevity.

How do you deal with the stress of going through multiple transitions? First of all, I am starting a new job as a customer service representative and will be working through a temporary agency. My second transition is pursuing a Microsoft certification. My goal is to try and get certified before I start my job. If/when my job goes permanent, I will have more opportunities to pursue work in the IT department. When you have to complete multiple transitions at the same time, how do you keep the pressure to a minimum?

DO-IT Mentor: That is definitely quite a lot to go through, and I hope that it all goes well. I may not have had this type of pressure, but I just find that whenever there is pressure in any stressful situation, I just get myself distracted for a while through a hobby that I enjoy.

DO-IT Ambassador: I think that you are on the right track in recognizing that there is a lot of stress in your life right now, and you need to find healthy ways to manage it. It might sound cliché, but I've found that maintaining good eating habits, getting exercise, and making sure I get enough sleep every night allows me to deal with high pressure transitions in a positive way. Plus, I make sure I take time to do something fun every day—even if it seems like I don't have time to do so. You can't always minimize pressure or stress, but you can make sure you have the energy and positive attitude you need to deal with those difficult transition times.

DO-IT Mentor: Congratulations on your job obtainment. Public relations and customer service can get stressful at times, especially when working with people of various backgrounds and disabilities. No matter how busy you get and how much work is piling up, you are going to get yourself in a rut of stress if you do not take the time to walk away and take a breather. Getting to know your fellow office staff is also another plus because you never know when there are times that you will need a helping hand with something complex beyond the capabilities of your job. As for the technological side of things, there will be times when your equipment does not want to cooperate or is not functioning correctly. Different types of software and hardware are not always compatible with one another due to propriety. It is a good idea to have technical support contacts on hand just for those instances.

DO-IT Mentor: I realize the tension and anxiety that you are going through right now. However, you should not let those negative feelings control your thoughts. Being a service representative is a stressful detail that not everyone has the mental and emotional patience to endure. I, myself, being a service rep experience all kinds of situations, and it is difficult not to take complaints personally. Still, you are not the one who caused the situation that they are in. A new job can be nerve wracking as well as uneasy at first. Yet, if you can keep your cool and perform well, you will find being a service rep to be rewarding and exhilarating.

DO-IT Mentor: Glad to hear that you are being proactive with your new job. In essence, how well your job works out very much depends on how determined you are to make things work. By treating fellow staff members and clients with courtesy and respect, you will do well. Perform your work with professionalism and take pride in the little accomplishments that come along. You will eventually build an enjoyable career step by step over time; do not stress over the here and now.