Published: 01/12/2005 Volume 115 No. 5984 Page 27

Once again, changes to the NHS job market are coming. If you are among the many likely to be affected, you should be asking yourself what you can do.

Where change is imposed, the first challenge is to recognise the dangers of acting like a casualty. The more distressed or sulky you feel, the more you are likely to prolong the process of adjustment. Indulge yourself with one good private moan to your partner or dearest friend and then put it behind you. It really does not help to whine to colleagues about the stupidity of those who made the decisions or to mix with people who are perpetually stuck in victim mode. Do not waste your energy on things you cannot affect.

The secret is to get back to feeling in control. Who is the best-informed person in your immediate circle? Ask them what is likely to happen. Talk extensively to your seniors and find out all you can without, of course, displaying rancour or anxiety. Offer to work on change projects. Scan websites and trusted newspapers or journals.

These tactics have significant benefits.

You will feel better immediately. In the eyes of the world you will be posititioned as a mature, changeoriented person and you will have as much advance warning as is possible of what is likely to happen. It will also begin the process of networking, which will help you find another job.

You need to assume that you will be on the job market. It may not happen, but if it does you will be ready. Use the knowledge you acquire about structural changes to assess where you might find a new job. An utterly realistic appraisal of how others see you is vital. If you haven't yet done 360-degree feedback, do it now.

Add this to any psychological profiling that you have undertaken - for instance, the Myers Briggs-type indicator.

Now update your CV. If a head-hunter rang you tomorrow, what state would yours be in? You should never use a generic CV, but at least the core will be ready.

Jenny Rogers is a partner at Management Futures (www. managementfutures. co), which specialises in coaching senior public sector staff. This is the first in a series designed to help managers take advantage of job opportunities in the current round of NHS reorganisation.

Next week: where and how to look for a new job.