It all starts with how you talk to yourself.
This is about when you feel nauseated about going to work, not (only) because there is so much to do but because the people there are… not your trusted favorites. It doesn’t look promising.
The symptoms you feel may resemble those mentioned in disclaimers at the end of a pharmaceutical product ad: nausea, chest pains, weight gain, dry skin, suicidal thoughts….
Even worse, you question why you’re there and if you’re being punished for some forgotten karma.
While most projects (jobs and businesses) have their hellish moments…
You know it’s bad when you’re singing in your head, “Should I stay or should I go”…or worse “Take this job and shove it….”
Leaving a job situation because it seems unbearable is rarely a good idea. It usually pays to stick it out through the project, if only for the learning. This could be your chance for you to show what you’re really made of. Swords are forged in fires.
Deciding between staying and leaving frames the situation as binary. Binary thinking limits actions and outcomes. That’s why Aristotle warned us about “false dichotomies.”
Organizational change, planned and unplanned, can feel like childbirth. (Men, think kidney stones.) Regardless of whether you think the coming structure is positive, change always means opportunity. Always. The fact that you don’t see any opportunity does not mean it’s not there.
There is strength in accepting uncertainty, randomness and volatility. Accepting does not mean enjoying. Remove stress from any system (or person) and you get useless mush. Try not getting any exercise for a month. (Read Antifragile for more on this.)
Sure, activate your job search, but don’t make a decision from a place of burnout. Rest and recover some of your mojo first.
It’s hard to change perspective from inside your own head. But here, I’ll play the role of the wise psychologist, and you ask yourself these 3 questions to gain a much better perspective on your icky situation.
:: Ask yourself. “Where is the opportunity in this mess?”
Even if you don’t yet know the answer, realizing that there just could be cool chance to make a difference can change your perspective.
Fortunes are made in times of crisis and transition. You may not be about to make millions but there definitely can be a career opportunity in the morass.
Maybe others will quit and open up a better position for you. That option is actually quite likely to happen.
[Shameless plug: maybe this is your call to bring in some transformational communication skills training or coaching from this amazing firm you may have heard of. :)]
:: Ask yourself if you’re placing too much blame on outside circumstance. This Harvard Business Review article points to research showing high achievers tend to fall for the attribution error of taking too much credit for their wins and too little responsibility for their setbacks.
Could it be that a teeny tiny part of your troubles are self-inflicted, even if unintentionally?
Something to think about.
If you’re answer to this one is, “Heck, yes this beastly self-sabotage is staring me shamelessly in the face,” that means now you are equipped to do things differently.
Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of doing something different but have been too fearful. This could be the nudge you need.
:: Ask yourself if maybe it’s time to reinvent yourself.
Picasso had his Blue Period, then his Rose Period, then his African-inspired Period, then… Cubism.
The most interesting careers have twists and turns. Could be pivot time.
Take the action of talking to someone who’s doing what you would like to do. If you are a killer photographer, talk to a professional to see what it’s really like to live from your craft.
That conversation could spark a career change, or fresh appreciation for your current state.
Take inspiration from my friend and ultra achiever, Teresa. She’s almost done with a dozen (more or less) chemo sessions (on Fridays so there’s minimal disruption to her work.) Ask her how she’s doing and you only hear the positive, the promising perspective. She realizes that as unpleasant as chemo must be, it does no good to carry on about it. She’s busy getting herself and her team ready for that next opportunity. Don’t dwell on the negative.
Outcomes start with how you talk to yourself, make sure you’re asking helpful questions. (You may enjoy Want this? Say That.)
Don’t say “It will all turn out” – this puts the situation in an outside locus of control. Instead say “I can handle this.” Because, you know, deep down, you got this.