It is tough and challenging to juggle around 10 super urgent things at the same time and yet we all do it on daily basis. The funny thing is, that by the time we complete one task, something even more urgent comes up and the circle never ends. So what do should we do to avoid burning out? How do we approach the endless circle of urgent events that at the end add up to a pay check that is, for some of us, not even as rewarding, as a better working environment would be?
Three years ago, I was interning at a private clinic, an internship which taught me patience, understanding of running a business, and mistakes not to repeat if one day I hold a senior position. It also brought my way a health issue, with which I am still dealing daily. My doctor explained that these are the consequences of a 24 hrs work schedule, where we give so much energy and effort to an employer, who does not care, or if he/she does, doesn't show any appreciation in return. His advice was to take a step back and learn how to break away from work when I get home. Easier said than done.
Some people, try out sports to get their mind off work once they are, well, off work. This is also something on my list starting tomorrow. Anyway, the point is that we try and find distractions, and for some people it may be sports, for others the comfort of being surrounded by the loved ones. The thing is that we underestimate how much work can influence our daily life, though. If you have an employer that does not really follow through with you or leaves you hanging out there, they may plant a seed of self-doubt, insecurity and heightened sense of self-awareness. This may then lead to bringing home added issues and irritation, frustration caused by what one may consider unsuccessful or productive work day. This then starts the ball rolling with all small issues that come to light due to previous irritation - further adding to the list of problems in the circle of issues.
Regretfully, many of us out there, end up burning out. The pressure of succeeding, going beyond the expectations is too high for one to handle. Everyone, and I mean literary everyone, family, friends, loved ones, expect you to grow and succeed; your employer expects you to be available always and be dedicated to the job and you expect yourself to be able to handle the stress - and when you do not handle it well - you break down.
There is no one person to blame for the circumstances, it is a feeling that comes from the attitude that surrounds us at work. How do our colleagues react to similar situations? Are we the only ones under pressure? Colleagues sooner or later, and whether we like it or not, become our fiends. Not all of them and not on the same level, but having spent 8 hours a week with each other, we do develop a connection that we share. We build alliances and we power through the work together. It is extremely important to have the support system that holds you together when you reach the bottom of the slump. And for that, I am thankful to be surrounded by the people that make a difference each day.
However, at the end of the day, all I keep thinking to myself is "Is this race really worth it?" Is it really worth spending so much energy on something with so little return? Or maybe it is worth it and I am just not seeing clearly. Anyone have guidelines or advice?
*I do not own any rights to the image below, used for blog purposes only
Hi, it is me again - and today I have been inspired to write another post on #wellbeing at work.
Wellbeing at work is often disregarded or more accurately not paid enough attention to. As one of my best friends wisely pointed out, the more early career we are - the more challenging it is for us to separate emotion from work. This is not because the early careers cannot accomplish or complete the projects, it is simply caused by the lack of professional experience, and the more we advance through our careers - the more we learn.
It is for this reason that it is crucial to have a professional HR practice in place to make early careers feel welcome at the start of their professional journeys and to give them the guidance and structure that is much needed. In fact, it does not matter whether you are an early career or a senior professional - we all need guidance and support.
Wellbeing at work is not created by the lack of respect nor by defensive attitude towards everything that is being said. The employees need to feel appreciated, respected and heard - and this is what makes employees loyal to the company in the long term. Of course, it happens so that the company is in high season of activity and there is a general stress all over the company - but it's important not to project the stress onto your employees by defusing only half of the information. Trust me, we'd rather hear the bitter truth than hear the sweet lies and then find ourselves tangles in impossible deadlines.
As a suggestion, it is a good practice to have weekly check ins with your employees, outline priorities for the week and set out a roadmap for the quarter/month/year. It is also important to ensure that your employees have the space and time for their personal activities.
Honestly, if it was not for my friends (a big shout out to you guys) or for my family, I would struggle in today's fast paced environment. For someone who is organised and responsible - it is a challenge to follow the pace of the company with little structure.
In any case, this is just a little reminder to all of us out there that work is just work and we have other matters that are more important in our lives and all is relative, and one should prioritise their own well being before anything else.
The dynamics of today's employee turnover is quite different to the one of a few years ago and it is time we start questioning this change. More and more employees opt to quit their jobs in a couple of years for the reasons that are not necessarily related to salary or maybe indirectly related to salary. In business schools students take classes like change management, Human Resources, and business management and in all of these courses, students are taught that the working conditions go beyond salary expectations. Working conditions refer to the team environment, respect of the others, appreciation, being able to express your ideas and have an opportunity to hang out with your colleagues after work at least once a month to get to to know each other better.
Sadly, many companies choose to ignore the soft skills or the intangible circumstances and turn the blind eye. As a result, this gives a rise to uncalled bullying at work, games of hierarchy, stress, as employees no longer want to go to work and eventually burnout. The rate of a burnout has been increasing in the last five years, and we are just standing by and watching this happen. So what can we do to try and change this and would would make our employees more comfortable and loyal to work without burning out?
Here's the list of my top 10 things that matter to employees at work:
The other thing is that you cannot be friends with your employees, and yes there should be mutual trust and friendly environment, but there should be a few rules and regulations in place, just to give employees at least some structure.
If you have any ideas or comments, or would like to share your experiences do not hesitate to get in touch.
*I do not own any rights to the picture below, it is just used for the blog post purposes
I was struggling with the post title and the post itself, to be honest, so just bare with me. As many of you may know I quit my job last December and was full of ideas for my next step: relocation, starting my own business, travelling. A few months later, I have found myself still in Switzerland at a new job, which is challenging in many ways and today, I wanted to share with you my experience of finding myself, finding the new job and also what it was like for me to be unemployed for a few weeks.
During this transition, I was unemployed for a few weeks and honestly, I enjoyed the time that I had for me. I finally had time to focus on myself and clear my head. It is important to have the time in between jobs to clear your head, simply because diving into a new job search without knowing clearly what you are looking for can be a struggle. So that is what I did the first two weeks out of job:
Before I launched my job seeking websites, I sat down with pen and paper and identified potential areas/industries that were interesting for me: Pharma, MedTech, Publishing, Fashion & Apparel
I then also identified countries, where I would like to work and live: Sweden, Netherlands, Russia, UK, Switzerland.
My search was then quickly narrowed to French/English speaking countries, for obvious reasons. My heart broke for a second there, but I know that sooner or later I will be living in Stockholm, or maybe at least dream about it. Anyway, the next few days were in research mode: researching companies, potential opportunities and where I fit in within these companies.
How to help you focus/narrow your search:
I have to admit what helped me immensely was my friend who works in HR and she was amazing in helping me structure my CV and give advice on what to look out for and how to get your CV noticed. Thank you Camille.
Websites that may help you in your job search:
Shortly after sending in various applications, I started receiving phone calls for interviews, and then the conflicting has begun. It was not easy on the phone to hear "sorry we selected someone else" or receive negative responses, but the key is to be motivated and never give up. I also kept the attitude that the right opportunity will knock on my door when I least expect it - and it did.
*I am happy to share more on my prep for interviews//CV in private, so do not hesitate to message me here or on LinkedIn.
I will soon do a separate post on integrating in the new company and share my experience with you. If you have any specific requests in this regards, PM me.
*I do not own any rights to the picture below, it is used for this blog post purpose only
When we talk about #Diversity in a workplace, we often refer to the cultural, racial, age, gender differences and we talk about embracing these to make an international and, well, diverse workplace. Whilst all of the above mentioned factors are extremely important factors that strengthen any cooperation, there are a few other things that are often overlooked when talking about diversity: background, culture, values.
One can argue that coming from different countries and cultures implies the background diversity, which is true. However, what I am talking about is background in terms of upbringing, education and experiences. No matter your age, race or gender, we have all been through different experiences and have received different education, which should only enrich our own perspectives of the world from socialising with each other.
Recently though, it has come to my attention that people tend to compete in terms of their backgrounds instead of embracing the differences and learning from each other. Diversity is not just build up of the visual, evident and obvious factors and it is disappointing to see that this is not being recognised. So how would I approach this rising issue?
* I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is simply used for this blog post
If you are reading this and wondering why #wellbeing is part of this section, then you should keep reading on to understand the full impact that our work and working environment has on our personal and mental wellbeing. Mental health is often very underestimated by employers, parents, and friends, as it is not easily detected and recognised. Often the early symptoms of not being well are associated with temporary stress or temporary fatigue but then a few month later the symptoms do not go away and your mind is still not feeling better.
What if it is not just stress? What if it is more than that?
As someone who has once been on a medical leave, as a cause of bullying at work, I can tell you are not alone in this and you need to put yourself first in such situations. If you are feeling ill-treated or your work being undermined and not appreciated, or a colleague is bullying you by their behaviour take an action and speak. I would advise to do the following:
If you feel that none of the above have helped you to overcome this challenge, re-evaluate the situation.
With experience, you would probably find at least one solution by starting to be aware and recognising these as rising issues.
Sometimes, there would be no issue and you would be perfectly happy at work and yet still feel like you need a change to be happy. Imagine that you have your dream job, and your life is a picture perfect and yet you'd feel like something is missing from it. This would make your morale lower and result in lack of motivation. Whilst there is no external influence on your behaviour, internally your mental wellbeing is being affected and it is ok to accept that you are not doing well and that it is not caused by anyone but it just comes from within. Listen to your gut feeling and if it tells you to jump - then jump!
Balancing work and life is a challenge that we learn to overcome with time and experience. Some of us use sports as a measure of stress release, others turn to their loved ones for support. No matter what you choose as your source of re-charge, make sure you have something to lean on.
*I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is just used for the purpose of this blog post
After being away from the office for full two weeks, it may be challenging to get back to work and settle back in to the everyday rhythm. So how can you make the transition from holidays to being back at work easier?
Here are a few of my suggestions, which may help you out:
*I do not own any rights to the picture below - it is used here for blogging purposes
1. Organise your day by priorities: Being organised helps you to structure the day ahead and makes your workload seem more approachable and feasible to meet the deadlines. One of the techniques that may help you is to make a "To Do" list before you leave home. This way, when you are back at the office the next morning, you would know exactly where to start. Moreover, knowing your priorities and the tasks that require your immediate attention, will help you maintain your focus and concentration on what is important.
2. Take well timed breaks: Taking breaks is very important to ensure that your concentration is not lost. Make sure that every now and then you you take a short break, walk around the office, go to the kitchen and get a fruit or step outside for a minute. It is definitely good to take sometime outside and let your eyes rest from the computer screen. Avoid having lunch at your desk and having a sandwich quickly - there are a few things here to remember: a) eating fast is bad for your digestion system and can damage your health b) eating at your desk you are not concentrating neither on your food nor on your work.
3. Avoid more than one caffeine intake per day: This one is probably the most challenging to keep up with because nothing motivates you like a good cup of coffee. However, caffeine may increase the level of your anxiety without you even realising it. It can also make you edgy or react impulsively. So try and keep your caffeine intake to a minimum.
4. Have regular meetings with your manager: You'd think this one is straight forward and quite natural. Not all employers will see it that way. It is important that you have regular meetings with your manager to discuss any issues/challenges or the workload. This will help you see the bigger picture of your job rather than focusing on a tiny part of it. It will also ensure a good relationship with your manager and that you are both on the same page when it comes to work.
5. Avoid having your emails/calendar on your phone: If you are in a top senior position this may not always be possible to do if you need to be in contact 24/7. However, for the rest of us out there, we should try and avoid having emails on our personal phones. It is truly psychological, once we have it on our phone, we are tempted to check it all the time and then if we see an important email, we are tempted to reply or even worse anticipate the next day, thus causing your mind and body think of work --> not healthy.
6. Work/Life Balance: After you are done with your work day, make sure that you have something to keep your mind off work: healthy relationship, fitness, socialising with friends - whatever it may be, remember to always take care of yourself. At the end of the day, it is just a job and yes the employment market is tough and we hold on to what we have, but it is just a job. There is more to life than the world of emails and internal politics.
Attitude at work is one of the most important factors that differentiates you from your colleagues, impacts your productivity and helps you in any conflict solving. It is all about how do you perceive a situation and what you can learn from it or bring to it to improve it.
The way you are behaving towards your colleagues makes a big difference. Regardless of your past experience or your career path, you should always remember to be polite and appreciative of your colleagues. Don’t forget that we are learning something everyday and one day you might learn something from a colleague as well. In my last experience at work, attitude was something that was lacking and something that not many people understood and undervalued. That had affected my personal development as an employee and at some point decreased the productivity level.
Showing up to work with an attitude to show that you are better than anyone else will do no good to anyone and will probably hurt you in some way at some point as well.
On on the other side, if you show up to work with a positive attitude, you will be more motivated and will be more productive during the day. You have to also remember that everything in life is rather relative so unless you are in the business where someone could die (hospitals, life guard, etc.) think about your issue twice before you blow it out of proportion. There’s nothing worse than making a big deal out of a tiny problem that could probably be solved in a different and calmer way, of course depending on the management style.
Another thing to bare in mind is having expectations. If you are expecting something of your employee be clear on it and set clear guidelines. The thing is most of the time employees are willing to take on new roles and responsibilities but if it’s unclear what’s expected of them - how would they go around this??
Attitude truly makes a difference. Appreciation of others makes a difference. Respect to the other matters. Regardless of their age, experience level, position, socio-cultural background etc.
8 hours a day, 7 days a week - this is how much time we spend at work. Needless to say that for some of us work becomes home. Statistically, a lot of couples are formed in the working environment, as this is the most common place for people with the same interests to meet. You end spending most of your day at work and the other half of your day commuting to work. Thus, it is extremely important to make sure that you have chosen a profession that you like and that you are enjoying what you are doing. Let's not hide the truth, most of us, will have a Love-Hate relationship with our jobs. The few lucky ones, will actually never think of work as WORK because they are spending their time doing something that they love. So how do you find that profession, job, etc. that you like? How do you make the right choice? Is it by going to the right university or by letting life take you where you need to be?
Honestly, a good majority of people ends up doing something they do not actually have a degree in. Let's not talk about doctors, lawyers, etc. people who chose these as a profession, they probably ended up where they wanted to be and thankfully so. Let's focus on the other jobs. I for one, always knew that my ideal workplace would be in publishing. Yet due to some obstacles on the way, I did not receive a degree in literature nor did I study journalism. And yet by some miracle, I am working in a publishing house today. Should we then just listen to our hearts and follow our dreams?
Of course, we are always under a lot of pressure from our loved ones "Choose a job that pays well". How many happy millionaires do you know? Of course, we all need jobs that pay our bills, let's be honest here, and yes this is the reality. But if we only work on these basis, we are wasting so much time of our life when we could be using our potential to be doing so much more with our lives. Wealth comes and goes and your heart and passion remains. Think about it.
8 hours a day, 7 days a week - make every moment count.