Posted in Friday, Personal Observations, Work

#Friday 19.0: Signs that work is overwhelming you

Each week I will (try and) share a small segment of something useful I learnt. While this is for my own amusement I hope it resonates with my lovely readers.

Different jobs, same triggers?

My official job title is Project Manager and it’s a field I’ve been in for over 18 years. In the last few years the intensity of my projects has increased i.e. more high profile, difficult clients and contracts filled with penalties for missed obligations. Every so often I’ll pick up a project and those initial months of setup riddle me with dread; it happens every time. It’s an overwhelming feeling which, over time does go away. It’s a mixture of re-building your confidence each time and not trying to take it personally..

In a recent project I’ve been experiencing the same feelings regardless of the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated. You may, in your industry suffer from the same triggers of being overwhelmed.

Lack of focus on conversations at home start etching their way into your dialog. I can hear the voice coming in my direction but it’s being blocked. Noise that’s blocking those conversations is my mind preoccupied with something about work. STOP! Identify what actually is creating that noise and openly talk to a work colleague or your manager. It may be that you are overloaded or think you can’t cope with the new challenge.

You’re not able to pull away from the laptop and find yourself engrossed while trying to half listen to the conversation. If that happens, stop typing! No one wants to talk to half an eyeball. A tunnel vision approach will only block out those at home and bubble up frustrations.

Clock watching while having lunch because you feel every minute lost munching is time lost not working on something. Food is fuel for the mind and body and you must take time out. My approach has always been to block out lunchtime in my diary as a private appointment. Appreciate this will be different for everyone depending on the job they do. But remember, lunch is a given right which for some reason we are too inclined to give up.

You are smiling less around the house because you can’t get a work problem out of your mind. Or you are already thinking about the possible repercussions of things failing and what the fallout is going to look like. I think my kids and wife have noticed I have not been chirpy recently, and that’s a personality trait I definitely don’t want to transition into. Take a positive approach and try not worrying about what may or may not happen. Something my manager told me the other day – people say you are judged on your last project and performance. Bullshit! Think of it as “what did I learn from that last piece of work”. If things begin to tumble, it’s not the end of the world, this stupid virus hasn’t ended it so what is work in comparison!

If you still can’t wipe the blues, time for a change

Recently my sister and I had a similar conversation about work and the constant pressures. While I have enjoyed the last 18 years in this industry, I can’t see myself signing out with it. I do personally feel a change is on the horizon, career change for that matter. There will definitely be financial ramifications but one must balance the choice between income and sanity.

Stay safe, stay healthy