Is fear stopping you from leaving your job? For some people, leaving a job is easy to talk about but not so easy to do. Even if you know it’s time to leave, fear may get in the way. Kathi and Katherine explore the challenge of leaving a job and discuss tactics for managing the fears that come with making this kind of change.
One of the things that can be more difficult to establish when we work remotely or in hybrid situations is a feeling of trust. Because we can’t see each other, it’s harder to verify what is really going on.
In this podcast, Kathi and Katherine examine the qualities of two kinds of work environments: Trustworthy and lacking trust. Join us and see which one you relate to.
Kathi and Katherine talk about stress management on this week’s My Crazy Office Overtime show.
How are you managing stress during these very stressful times?
Listen to this week’s podcast here.
I don’t know about you, but I hate to wait. When faced with a long line at a store, a movie, a food bar or even a gas station, I’m the person who opts out, returning at another time when I won’t have to wait. In fact, until March of this year, waiting for anything seemed like an immense waste of time to me.
That was before the pandemic hit. Before we were all told to shelter in place. Before we understood the importance of social distancing. And before we were asked to wait in line at stores, at banks, at any place where people congregate to conduct their essential business.
Now, waiting is a form of caring, of preventing, of dealing with a situation we don’t yet have under control. We’re waiting for signs that it’s safe for the economy to slowly re-open. We’re waiting to see how schools will operate. We’re waiting to discover when and how sports teams, service businesses, and the entire entertainment industry will re-emerge.
It’s hard to be waiting in so many ways for so many things. The human brain is a planning brain and we desperately want to know what comes next. That unquenchable thirst for answers can mutate into uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, frustration, impatience, agitation, restlessness and even depression.
Today, we are all Living in the Waiting Room. We won’t have to be here forever, but it will be a while before we can re-launch our lives in any significant way. What follows are some thoughts about making the Waiting Room more tolerable:
Bring many forms of entertainment to the Waiting Room– good books, fun movies, knitting projects, crossword puzzles, word games, musical instruments, dance routines, sketch pads, new recipes – anything that takes your attention away from fretting, worrying or obsessing and allows your mind to be creative.
Take physical breaks from sitting in the Waiting Room – Go outside, take a run, go for a hike, yawn, stretch, shake your head and arms, walk around, pound a pillow. Physical movement helps move emotions through your body. Feelings of impatience, frustration and agitation can be reduced by increasing blood flow.
Connect with other people in the Waiting Room – We’ve heard over and over that we are in this together. Nothing confirms that more than striking up conversations with others who are waiting. Even if the novelty of video conferencing has worn off, it’s still essential to reach out to the people you care about and make contact. Human connection lessens anxiety and makes us feel less adrift.
Try not to obsess about when you’re getting out of the Waiting Room – This is a hard request. You know that person in the waiting room who paces back and forth, looks at the time, stares at their phone, insists on being the first to be informed? Don’t be that person. Understand the limits of endless news briefings, medical predictions, scare tactics, and conspiracy theories. None of those items are going to get us out of here faster. And everyone is working on getting things moving again.
One other thing about the Waiting Room – each person, each family has their own set of concerns, their own set of pressures that they are juggling. Appreciating that we are all dealing with different conditions is part of living in the Waiting Room. You don’t have to feel guilty if your conditions are less difficult than others, but you can be respectful and appreciate the wide range of challenges that each person in the Waiting Room is managing.
Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further help around this topic.
You may be the leader of a large organization, the executive director of a nonprofit, the manager of a team, the owner of a business with a few staff, or the sole proprietor of a small business. It does not matter how many people directly report to you. At this time, we are all called to be leaders. What does that mean?
1 – Be the calm in the storm. One of my clients is the Executive Director of a large retirement community. After describing the extensive plan she’d developed to protect all residents and staff from the virus, she said, “You want me in a crisis, because when everyone gets upset I get calm.” She shared her process: “I make my lists and methodically take care of each item as calmly as possible. I think through what could go wrong, and take steps to eliminate every problem as best as I can.”
2 – Make tough decisions. Confronted with the prospect of several months of delayed revenue, managers, business owners and CEO’s everywhere face tough decisions. One CEO told me she’d asked her CFO for a cash projection for the year. To her surprise, she found out that her organization had more cash on hand than she’d originally thought. Because money will be coming in, she does not have to let people go. Another CEO conducted the same kind of financial analysis for her organization with less favorable results. She is preparing to lay staff off.
3 – Be the positive voice, and at the same time be realistic. It is time to be transparent. I know you’re thinking that the term transparent has been overused. Transparent simply means tell the truth. If you know that your company or department or organization must take difficult steps like letting staff go, communicate that clearly. Describe the problem and what you are doing about it: “We may have to let some people go. We may lose business. But we are looking to secure financing.” Tell them the truth. Tell them you are doing all you can – then deliver on your promise; they are watching.
4 – Care about your people like you have never cared before. I had a client ask, “How are you doing?” I said, “Fine.” She said, “No. Tell me how you are really doing.” That individual showed true concern for my well-being. Take the lead in this area, and express true interest in your staff’s physical, mental and emotional state. I have another client who is holding a virtual happy hour for her employees every day at 6:00 pm – participation not required. If you manage people who are considered essential workers, give them food, drinks, cash – whatever they need. And be sure to take care of their families.
5 – Look for creative ways to give. This is not a time to look for business. It will come if you show and believe we are all in this together. Think Give not Get. Can your company retool and make masks or hospital gowns for medial staff? Can you put your services online? Shaun the co-owner of Seagull Hair salon here in NYC, is putting up tutorials on how to cut your bangs, touch up your roots and trim your beard at home. Think out of the box: How can you keep your clients be engaged without any expectations? When you return to work, your clients will return to you because they received from you.
6 – Make sacrifices. This is a time when you may have to ask staff to take pay cuts. Those pay cuts should not exclude you. You may have staff that are home schooling while their partner is an essential worker. You might want to take on some of their work to lighten their load.
Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.
Contact us at email@example.com with any questions or for further help around this topic.