Leaving Work Trauma Behind: How to Start Fresh in a New Job

Home » Leaving Work Trauma Behind: How to Start Fresh in a New Job

Leaving Work Trauma Behind: How to Start Fresh in a New Job

When it comes to career transitions, it’s often said that people leave their bosses, not their jobs. But the reality is far more nuanced. It’s not just about leaving a problematic manager. It may be about escaping a toxic culture, unsustainable work conditions or workload, or roles that no longer align with personal strengths. The effects (i.e. baggage) from these experiences can linger, affecting one’s self-concept, confidence, and success in subsequent roles.

If you’re experience work-related trauma, you’re likely familiar with the toll it takes. It may manifest in many ways, including:

  • Perhaps you’ve engaged in “quiet quitting,” mentally checking out while physically present.
  • Maybe you’ve found yourself overcompensating, striving to prove your worth in an environment that consistently undervalues it.
  • The “Sunday Night Dreads” may have become all too familiar, with increased anxiety about the upcoming work week.
  • There may be more escapist behaviors channeled through increased substance use.
  • And, in an effort to survive day-to-day, you may have resorted to over compartmentalization, simply trying to get through each moment without considering the long-term impact.

But what happens when you finally gather the courage to leave? How do you prevent the shadows of your past experiences from tainting your fresh start in a new job and company?

Healing from Workplace Trauma

The key lies in healing. Before stepping into your next role, take the time to acknowledge and address the wounds left by your previous experiences. Recognize your triggers and understand how they shaped your behavior.

Take time to breathe, reset, and engage in activities and with others that build you up and fill your bucket — a bucket that may have been depleted in your last job.

Without this healing work, you risk carrying unresolved baggage into your new environment, potentially sabotaging your success.

To navigate this transition effectively, consider the following strategies:

Practice Self-Awareness

Be vigilant about your thought patterns and reactions. Cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness to recognize when you’re slipping into old patterns of behavior. You must understand your triggers in order to move past them and find a fresh start in your new role. Take proactive steps to course-correct and respond in a manner appropriate to your new situation.

Seek Perspective

Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted colleagues, friends, family, or a coach for guidance. Their outside perspective can help you discern between genuine concerns and past traumas. When you know what triggered you, you will then be able to avoid missteps moving forward.

It’s important to talk to someone who will listen without judgment. Sharing your worries can help you feel less alone and more understood. Trusting someone with your worries ensures you are working through that past baggage, instead of continuing to carry it with you into whatever comes next.

Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries to protect your mental and emotional well-being in your new role. Learn to say no when necessary and prioritize self-care practices that replenish your energy. Oftentimes, burnout comes from a desire to make others happy. This means you say yes, when you really need to say no.

By doing the necessary healing work and adopting these strategies, you can leave the workplace trauma of your past behind and embrace a fresh start in your new job. Remember, you deserve to thrive in a supportive and fulfilling work environment, free from the burdens of your past. Allow yourself to step into this new chapter with confidence and optimism, knowing that you have the resilience to overcome any obstacles that may arise.


About the Author:

Cultivating Careers was founded by Karen Kodzik, a Career Consultant who has worked with individuals in transition for over 13 years. Karen meets professionals at various points on their career path and works with them to gain a clearer sense of where they want to take their careers. Karen Kodzik holds a Masters Degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Career Development. Karen couples seasoned counseling skills with a solid business acumen. She has coached and consulted various levels of professionals across industries to successfully reaching that next point in their career.

Leave A Comment