Are you struggling to make choices in your career without burning out? If so, then you're not alone. We know that work, in general, impacts mental health all on it's own. The anxieties and stressors of work themselves are a very contentious prompt for making the big shift from everyday employee to supervisor or management, or even quitting altogether. When you've been steeped in the inner-working of a company, a forgotten factor is how WE want to work and what benefits us. Often this confusion and anxiety leads to "quiet quitting"- the act of disengaging with a work place while doing the bare minimum. Yes, this can be a sign of a growing knowledge, understanding and respect for your job role; but it can also be a sign that you are afraid of fully acknowledging that your job is not fit for you. And carrying that is, itself, an additional emotional and mental burden.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the choices in your career, take a deep breath and read on. We'll explore some tips for making decisions without burning out in this blog post so you feel empowered to make a choice, be proud of yourself, and don't look back!
Don't try to do it all - focus on what you're good at and what you enjoy
When it comes to hiring managers and job descriptions, it's easy to get overwhelmed trying to do everything in order to fit the mold exactly. Don't try to be the superhero; instead, focus on the things you're good at and enjoy doing. Juggling endless priorities is a surefire way to burn yourself out quickly - don't be afraid of bucking the system or breaking with tradition if stopping to smell the roses helps you focus and get better results. More often than not, hiring managers value results over rigid adherence to what they think 'should' be done. So stop trying to fit yourself into an ill-fitting job description and capitalize on your strengths! Wear the colourful scarf that isn't "uniform appropriate", cite your quirky coping mechanisms for stress, mention the office-wide treasure hunt that motivated everyone to work effectively.
Find a mentor who can help guide you in your career
Finding a mentor can seem daunting, especially if you're not sure where to look. And, if you're like me, it can feel so cripplingly new-agey to say that you're speaking with a life coach. But this doesn't have to be hokey to help you with your emotional wellbeing; they can be just as useful for helping guide you along your career path. So first and foremost, find that cheerleader who will get excited about your successes, and encourage you during the tough times in a way that resonates with you. You might respond well to affirmations and crystals, you might appreciate a psychological undertone, you might be the sadist who enjoys a cracking whip and a firm hand; whatever is the antidote to your stress, there is someone impartial to advise you. It's one thing to have friends that can point out issues within your profession, but having a mentor will give you access to valuable advice as well as networking opportunities. Find someone with expertise in your industry - they are invaluable allies in building strong relationships and achieving success!
Set realistic goals for yourself, and don't be afraid to change them as needed.
Setting realistic goals for yourself can be a great way to stay motivated and reach success and contentment in life - but nothing is ever constant. You may find that some goals need to be adjusted or changed as life progresses, and that's totally normal! Don't be afraid to check in with yourself and judge your own ability levels. After all, you're the one who knows what you're capable of best. Often you can start a job hunt, or begin to look for more or less opportunities in your professional life only to find you were overly ambitious or underselling yourself to our main purchaser; US! Be pragmatic - change the sales pitch. There is nothing wrong with setting audacious goals and crushing them, but nothing wrong with tempering expectations either. So set those goals, adjust them if needed, and keep on moving along!
Take time for yourself outside of work - make sure to schedule in some downtime.
Everyone knows how quickly all aspects of work can consume our lives. We often don’t realize just how much time it takes out of our day, until we wake up after a long night of sleep and still feel the need to cacoon ourselves in the duvet. If you think about that time between deciding on facing the world or settling in for indeterminate hibernation there are emails, meetings, employee interactions, deadlines ect. And, if you've not thought about it, you can bet there will be a pending notification to B'DING up when you turn on the computer. It is very easy to be under the impression that it is ALL on you; and, if there is a way, someone will find it to make you part of it ALL. Do not let your job goals take over your life - take the time to step away, even if that means leaving some tasks incomplete or delegated effectively to another person. Unless you are the head of the company, unless you are PART of a company; the world will not end. Leave work at work and check out @loewhaley for tips on how to assertively shut off when it's time for some much-needed downtime. You will most definitely be a better employee in the long run by not letting the pile up of constant stress weigh you down!
Learn to say no - it's okay to turn down opportunities that aren't a good fit.
Learning how to say no masterfully is an essential life skill - don't let other people's inability to prioritise shift your focus away from what really matters to you. There are going to be times when opportunities come along or tasks arise that don't align with your priorities, and it's totally acceptable to turn that stuff down. Sure, there might be an extra buck in it or someone might seem like they really need you, but don't fall for it - nobody benefits if you take up commitments that don't fit your existing goals. Saying "No" is the only real way to stay on track and make sure the chances you do take can pay off successfully.
Reward yourself effectively.
We've all done it - rewarded ourselves with a snack, a glass of wine, or maybe even just the pleasure of putting the housework off until later. But while these things are necessary to take care of our physical and mental wellbeing, they're not individual rewards that stimulate our positive skill-sets. Instead, true rewards should be individual - tailored to us personally, reflecting our individual successes and bolstering our self-esteem. It's not selfish to reward yourself for your hard-earned achievements; in fact it can be beneficial and restorative in its own way. As long as you don't get carried away by treating yourself too often for too trivial a success, individual rewarding can dramatically reduce stress, promote self-confidence and make all those objectives that seem just out of reach suddenly feel achievable. Buy the earrings, get the massage, sit for that tattoo.
It's all a game of shit-pile poker; here's how you win.
Between delegating, communicating, current work expectations, personal life goals- it's already a lot of shit. And you can feel prompted to play it fast and loose to get on top of the pile and stay on top of it. You can't play without cards in your hand; have patience until you have a hand you feel is worth playing. Get to know your skills, your expectations, your ambitions, and your limitations. When you're making career decisions, this is not the time to let the dealer or big players determine how you're going to play. While you don't have all the time in the world, remember that the game often cannot move without you.
It is essential to take stock of your career goals and objectives, focus on what you're good at and what you enjoy, find a mentor who can support, guide and direct you in this journey, set realistic expectations and remain honest with yourself about the abilities and limits. Don’t be afraid to turn down tasks which are unaligned with your long-term ambition or even say no when someone tries to take advantage of you especially because they understand that you don’t know how to refuse. Make sure to schedule in some downtime for yourself and reward yourself properly as it will be beneficial in the long run.
So how are you going to do that this week? And what sparkly mushroom are you going to reward yourself with?