Feeling Burned Out at Work? You Don’t Have to Join the Club!

The other day, The Wall Street Journal published an article by Rachel Feintzeig entitled Feeling Burned Out at Work?  Join the Club.  The article is about how the burnout problem appears to be worsening which is driving up turnover and health costs for companies.  It discusses how companies contribute to burnout creating cultures that include universal factors such as:

  • job uncertainty
  • an expectation that you always be in work mode thanks to technology or being responsible for people and initiatives happening in other countries – who doesn’t love a conference call at 2:00 AM?
  • an ever-present “do more with less” expectation

 

But have companies single-handedly created these cultures or have workers manifested these factors from their fear-based beliefs born during times of economic uncertainty?  In other words, is the workforce truly a victim of economic capitalism at its worst or are we powerful creators who still haven’t learned to wake up to and hold true to who we are, what we have to offer, and what it takes for us to provide our skills and services especially in times of economic uncertainty or in the face of fear-filled leaders who falsely believe the way to endure hard times is to pass a burden of giving more and receiving less onto their most valued commodity – their human resources?

 

Although there is so much companies can do to address this epidemic, workers simply cannot rest their laurels on their righteousness that companies are just not doing enough to help their employees heal.  Workers must rise up to realize that although they are right that companies are wrong to enable these factors for short-term gains, it doesn’t justify throwing in the towel by settling for short-term solutions to address their sense of dwindling energy, power, and emotional (which drives physical) well-being.

 

If you are feeling burned out, your spirit is broken and only you can actually fix it.  Companies know this – they make amends with the only solutions their fears will allow – band-aid solutions such as yoga or meditation at work.  I’m not trashing either practice – both are fabulous and if your company offers them – be grateful.  However they alone are not the solution that will heal you.  You must find and engage in solutions that work for you to be emotionally aware and well.

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The real danger of not fitting in at work

Do you perceive danger for not fitting in with the herd?  We all have felt this at one time or another within our families right?  Heck, there’s even a name for those who don’t follow the family status quo – they’re called the “black sheep” of the family.  At work we might call the one who marches to the beat of a different drummer “the innovator”, “the independent contributor”, or the “creative-types”.

 

“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”  Henry David Thoreau

 

Focusing on …

 

aptitude vs. attitude, motivation vs. intention, and effort vs. energy as explained in my last post…

 

… aligns you with exhaustion, cynicism and feeling like everything is an uphill battle because accomplishment is perceived as possible when you ignore or quiet a full exploration and understanding of who you are and what you actually have to effortlessly offer (and be valued for in return).  Consider two different equations:

 

Aptitude (what you can do)

+ Motivation (what you can gain or need to perform)

= Effort (hard work)

 

or

 

Attitude (what you believe about yourself and others)

+ Intention (what you believe others can gain as a result of your contributions)

= Energy (what you effortlessly give to others and attract for yourself in return)

 

Which formula have you habitually followed at work?

 

Have you settled for understanding what you can do/should do/what you believe others expect of you?  Have you focused on what YOU can get or what you need to perform – whining like a baby whenever you don’t get what you need to work hard?  Have you worked so hard that you are now exhausted, cynical and feeling like no matter what you accomplish it’s never enough?

 

Why would you settle for that?  I’ll tell you why.  Because you have falsely perceived danger in not fitting in with the status quo.

 

When we have fear about fitting in – we don’t fit in.  Thinking about fitting in from a place of fear puts all our eggs in the “what’s happening out there is what determines my fate” in here (in this workplace), basket.  Thinking about fitting in from fear still makes us seen as different, but not a good different like Prince, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, or any other admired person of your choice.  Those folks were well-admired and revered whether you like their music or not because they came to perceive the opposite of fear of fitting in – they perceived positively standing out.  Having their uniqueness fully discovered and offered in service to others is what got them celebrated in return.

 

In the workplace, fear of fitting in manifests into us being experienced by others as a performance problem.  That only leads to termination (a quick one if you’re lucky), or endless disabilities and bottomless pits in our stomaches when we think about work.

 

But that’s nothing – we can heal from all of that (granted we will probably only repeat the same pattern at another employer – but that’s another blog post).

 

Here’s the real danger of not fitting in at work…

 

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Got skills? Highly motivated? Working hard? Still not reaping the rewards you deserve? Of course you aren’t, here’s why…

“My success isn’t a result of arrogance – it’s a result of belief.”  Conor McGregor

 

Do you believe that success comes easily when you have some special talent or ability?  Do you believe that motivation is key?  Do you believe it is a by-product of hard work?  Early in my career, I believed those things.  Actually, I still believe success is possible with any of those things – it’s also exhausting, not fun, and can leave you vulnerable for feeling like you ultimately don’t matter anyway no matter how well you get paid.

 

In my many years as an HR executive I have witnessed countless people who were facing performance counseling become upset about not being valued because of…

 

  • what they could do (but of course, weren’t being utilized to their full ability)
  • they are self-motivated (“My boss pays no attention to me and still I get my work done”)
  • how hard they work (they felt they worked hard – why didn’t anyone else?)

 

“How dare other people not see all these wonderful things about me!” was the bubble fixated over their head while they were in their performance counseling meeting.

 

Often, what people fail to absorb is that what you do is never more important than how you impact others.  What you do will never give you power – only this will…

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6 Ways to Get Back in The Groove After Your Holiday Haze

Feeling sad that the holidays are over?  I usually feel a bit deflated as I pack away our holiday decor and start the gift exchanging and bill sorting process – but not this year!

 

This year I am excited about keeping the spirit of miracles (like the ones you might experience during the holidays), in my life!  It’s possible (and simple) when you are clear about what matters most to you and you give up trying to make things happen in exchange for letting them happen for you (this is the best gift exchange you will ever give to yourself)!  Let me give you a few examples of opportunities and miracles that happened over my holiday break…

 

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Do dark times at work turn you into a zombie? Wake up, restore, and heal! Here’s how…

Every damp, cold, dark morning, starting around 5AM – sometimes even earlier – millions of people turn into zombies and terrorize corporations and businesses everywhere!

 

You know!  You’ve been among them – they’re everywhere!

 

But…

 

…can you be sure you’re not one of them?  Dun, dun, dun….

 

We all go through dark times – especially with our jobs.  Whether you are tortured by the stress that comes with….

 

  • demands that you stay long into the night – alone in the office building – working to meet a deadline and sacrificing much needed sleep and down time to get it done
  • your brain getting zapped and melted down by aliens with lasers that come from their eyes and mouths – they try to reprogram your brain into doing your job exactly they way they think it should be done – your brain, talents, experience, and skills are no longer required-  just your blind compliance
  • the axe dropping down – yet another under-performing quarter that requires downsizings – it feels like death by a thousand cuts and you feel powerless to do anything about it
  • picking up the slack from under-performing co-workers who suck the life from you like a vampire – leaving you transformed into a crabby, cynical monster yourself

 

Here’s what’s even more scary than facing dark times like these at work…

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Want a to get on a fast-track to a promotion? Promote yourself to creator of your work – here’s the one secret ingredient that gets you there…

Ready to wake up to what makes you unique among your peers?  Ready to breakthrough to being “a creative” for your work vs. “a cautious” at your job?

 

Want a to get on a fast-track to a promotion?  Promote yourself to creator of your work – here’s the one secret ingredient that gets you there …

 

All it takes to be a creator is to be aware of the intention you hold in your mind (and heart) for those who will be impacted by your contribution.

 

Intention is the secret ingredient that sets you apart from others.  Understanding your intention and being able to demonstrate how this intention actually makes the difference you imagine for others wins you favor – even over others who may have more experience than you.  It lets people know “What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) to work with you?”

 

Understanding your intention and performing tasks through that intention (holding that intention in your mind and heart) is doing “your work”.  Those who only complete the tasks within the assigned responsibilities of their job without awareness of the intention they have for others (or who only know an intention they have for themselves – i.e. promotion, bigger bonus, favor with select individuals, etc.),  aren’t doing “their work” (they probably aren’t doing the job as well as they think they are either).  Contribution without intention is not creating – it’s cautious at best – and the rewards that come from being cautious, have no chance of offering you a sustainable sense of fulfillment – not from your job and definitely not from a confident sense of your unique self.

 

Being a creator makes you stand out – and sometimes standing out among others who seem to be just doing their job can be dangerous.

 

So, is “danger” your middle name?  I think it is – no matter if you are a cautious or a creator.  Here’s how…

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What a lazy river taught me about getting what I want in life – here’s how you can get what you want in your life too – maybe even for free!

Last week my husband took some vacation time and we treated our kids to a bunch of different day trips.  One day at the beach, another day with friends, another at the pool, another bowling, mini-golfing and just some goofin’ off.  And on one day we went to a water park in Pennsylvania – this was a magical day for many reasons…

 

A few things were ideal – the weather was perfect (everything depends on the weather – doesn’t it?), the park wasn’t crowded (turns out some kids in Pennsylvania went back to school a bit earlier than we did in New Jersey – no lines!), and everyone was into it and in a good mood (not easy to get your kids to agree on activities when they are 5.5 years apart and opposite genders).

 

The look on their faces when we went down the slides together in 1 giant family-sized tube left an indelible imprint on my mind and my heart.  My daughter’s expression of pure joy and excitement with an imaginary bubble over her head that read “again!” before the ride was even over, and my teenage son’s smile that fully exposed his braces practically back to his molars coupled with a high pitched scream over the anticipation of the drops, twists and turns of the slide was priceless!  I’m sure it was priceless for them to see me and my husband go down a massive water slide on our bellies that made my husband go airborne and a major splash of water to my face that left mascara tracks running down my face.

 

Of course, we didn’t start out the day this adventurous or uninhibited – we started out on the lazy river.  No kid was initially convinced the place wasn’t too baby-ish for them, I had no initial plan to get my hair or face wet (silly me!), and my husband was up for a “lazy river nap session” after the long drive – so the lazy river it was.

 

On that initial float around the park, I had a breakthrough… (yes, even at the water park on a vacation day in August my mind does not stop observing ways to gain clarity, confidence and conviction to experience a sustainable sense of fulfillment in life).

 

The lazy river taught me how to get what I wanted in life – here’s what happened…

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Still ready to quit? Want to be transitioned to a job you love much faster and easier? Then stop doing this to yourself …

Warning:  this blog might be tough to read…

 

… but it can help you gain your power back in a job situation you just wanna quit.

 

Buckle up…

 

Identifying with any of the 3 scenarios in my latest blog series about quitting your job is living in agreement that there’s something wrong with your current job, employer, work environment, etc.

 

This erroneously identifies the problem as being outside of yourself leaving you powerless and in victim mode.  Still ready to quit? Want to be transitioned to a job you love much faster and easier?  Then stop doing this to yourself …

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I love that this was said…

“Work is love made visible.  

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.”

from The Prophet (on work) by Kahlil Gibran

 

Translation – L.O.V.E. your work - Look Out Vigilantly for Everyone/Everything affected by your contributions.  Doing so also takes great care of you in return.  It introduces you every day to how you make a difference for others.  It also enlightens you to what brings you joy and makes you feel happy and fulfilled.  Happy contributors are those who are valued and enjoy all the materials rewards and markers of success.

 

If you just can’t find it within yourself to do that then you’re better off accepting charity from others who earn a living while practicing L.O.V.E. for their work.  I, however, don’t agree with this part – I don’t believe anyone should just throw in the towel and start accepting charity because they can’t perform their job with L.O.V.E.  Instead, I believe

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Ready to quit? Maybe you should – here’s how to know…

To quit or not to quit – that is the question

 

In my last blog I offered you the opportunity to understand the importance of adopting a daily recovery strategy This strategy will help you to recharge after the daily, draining demands of your job.  Not engaging in an active plan to recover is like making daily purchases on your debit or credit card but never adding any money into your accounts.  Eventually the bank will shut you down and you will risk bankruptcy and maybe even exposure as being fraudulent in your practices.

 

Yes – the effects of draining job demands are cumulative.  It’s a debt that racks up and eventually it manifests as health issues (exhaustion, susceptible to common infections such as colds and flus, gastro-intestinal problems, back/neck/shoulder pain, panic and anxiety disorders, depression – to name a few), if left unaddressed.  The truth is you can recover and heal from the daily affects of your job – especially if you are going through a tough time that you know will soon pass.

 

But what if your not so sure this tough time at work is a passing phase?  Do you have this unsettled feeling about your job?  Are the demanding conditions an expected way of life (and it’s not what you want for your life)?  Is your fight or flight instinct is kicking in?  Are you wanting to run (quietly and quickly) or stirring up a heap of trouble due to feeling backed into that same corner where all the other “misunderstood and undervalued” employees are hanging out (are you fighting with some poor souls who deserve it – and even some who don’t)?  Maybe the time has come to make a drastic move – right out the company front door.

 

(Almost) convinced you’re ready to quit?  Maybe you should – here’s how to know…

 

2 factors that matter greatly for deciding if you should stay or go -even without another job lined up are:

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