Stuck In A Rut Of A Job?


Hey how are you? No, I mean how ARE you? You…yes you the person reading this! Yeah you! Ah finally got your attention. How’s the job going eh? Not as rosy and perfect as it was some time ago then? Sorry to hear about that; no really I am. You were so sure this was THE one. Ah, well things change – we change.

So, ah, what are you’re plans today? “Going to work”? That’s it? I mean yes we both have to head on out soon to work yeah, but what are you DOING today to either make work better or find a better gig? You know, “take a sad song and make it better”?

No mate, I’m sorry but if you’re JUST going to work today, how are things going to get any better? I mean it’s not like you really expect somebody to ring you up and offer you the perfect job if you aren’t even out there looking for it. Yeah, yeah, I know the odd lucky one gets a call from out of the blue when some Recruiter calls them up after reading their LinkedIn profile and such, but listen mate really? I mean I’ve seen your rather pathetic excuse of a profile and you haven’t done much to really make it stand out now have you. What you’re needing is some motivation friend.

I hear you. I mean sure you’ve got to focus on work when you’re actually at work and then when you get home you can’t find the energy to job search after dinner. But uh, well, you know then as well as I do that things are almost never going to change. This is it then isn’t it? This life you’ve got, this excuse of a job that you once thought was downright smashing and all the rage. How much longer do you think you can go on? I mean you’re only in your 30’s now and you’ve got roughly 30 more years to go. It’s like you’re in the lockup!

Look, anything worth having is worth the work it takes to get it isn’t it? The old man told you that years ago but turns out the old guy knew a thing or two didn’t he? You’re floating along and can do that job with your eyes closed at this point right? I mean no more challenge, no more growing and stretching yourself? The only stretching your getting mate is on the couch at the end of the day. Don’t think we all haven’t noticed either even if you haven’t. You’re mentally exhausted and your brain is sending the message to slow down when your body isn’t even working up a sweat!

Oh so you DO want to do something about it then? Good! Well then DO something don’t just WANT to do something! Well for starters do you want to stay with the company or get a fresh start somewhere else? I mean, aside from your job, is there any other position in the company you know of that you think you’d be interested in? Yeah that’s the question then isn’t it? You’d best find out then what options you’ve got there.

So what is it then? I mean is it this company or the job itself? Could you be happier doing something the same as you’re doing now but somewhere else? You know, a new boss, new digs, corner office this time ’round?

All right, all right keep your shirt on! Sure enough then it’s to be something completely different then Well at least that little emotional outburst shows you’re alive and kicking! I thought you’d turned into one of those working zombies without a pulse but clearly you’re not too far gone and saveable!

Look, you best make a list of what you’re good at and the skills you’ve got. Yeah I know it sounds hokey but it’s the thing to do. Look do you want to go on like this or not? Then you’ve got to change something up man! Just do it. While you’re at it, write down what you like and don’t like in your present job. What’s that third thing there? Gloria? Who’s Gloria? Listen you can’t write down, ‘Gloria’ under things you like in your present job! Do behave!

Okay good start then. So you know your skills, you know what you like and don’t like. What are the things you’ve got going in your life now that you don’t want to change? This is where you write down my name mate! No really, what’s up for changing and what’s non-negotiable. Willing to get a new address or not? Big office? Small firm? What are you thinking is best?

Look here’s the thing. What you’re after is a gig that matches up with your skills and qualifications but is a good fit for your personality too. Might mean heading back to school you know. Can you handle the day job and night classes? What if GLORIA was there? Ha thought so!

Yeah you’re on track for a starter. What you’re needing then is someone with more smarts than I’ve got. It’s a Counsellor you’re wanting. You know, down at the Centre? They’re the experts in finding a good match. Set something up on your day off or lunchtime. Hey it’s your life mate. 30 years more…remember? Thought you’d forgotten.

So what are YOU DOING today?

 

 

 

 

 

Setting Yourself Up To Fail Job Searching


Job searching as most people will tell you can be a frustrating experience. So much of it after all seems beyond your own ability to control. However, instead of worrying about things you can’t control, let’s look at basic things you can control and the negative impact they can have on your success if you don’t get a handle on things.

For starters, let’s talk about your phone. These days job seekers have a tremendous advantage over those looking for work in years’ past. You can take your phone everywhere these days, no longer having to hang around the apartment or house just in case someone might call and offer you an interview. That’s huge; but it also pointless to have a phone and then not be able to receive or make calls on it.

Make sure you put enough money into your plan so that you can actually receive and make outgoing calls. Nothing is more frustrating to an employer than receiving your resume, deciding you are indeed worth an interview and then calling you up only to find that they can’t leave a message. If they do leave a message and you never receive it due to issues with your provider, employers won’t know that. They’ll only surmise that you haven’t got the good grace and respect to call them back

Your resume might be another major issue. If you are still photocopying your resume and sending it to multiple employers, you’re stuck in the early 1990’s. Your competition? They’re adjusting their resumes to meet each and every posting they apply to and that means on paper, they will always come across as better qualified and a good match. If you are too lazy or disinterested in your own job applications to target your resumes, companies won’t want you working for them.

Next get yourself connected on social media platforms and do more than just post pictures of yourself and your friends. You’ve got this extraordinarily powerful tool at your disposal where you can connect with people, share ideas, ask for support, tap into job leads and reasons for job openings. What a shame if you are complaining that job searching is all about who you know not what you know, and you don’t know anybody. Create a profile for yourself and fill it out in detail, research companies you are interested in working with and who works there; these are the people you can make connections with.

Another problem many people make is only going about their job search using technology. Sooner or later you have to get out of the home office or off the couch and meet people. Your interpersonal skills; your ability to talk with people, engage in conversations and listen all need practice to stay developed or to improve. So many people can chat up a storm when it’s a keyboard they have in front of them, but when it comes to meeting people all those communication skills fail them.

So get out of  your house and go see a local sports team in action. Head out to the library, the zoo, take a stroll on a well-used walkway, join a recreational organization – in short do anything that will give you opportunities to connect with people. If you fear your communication skills are really poor, just keeping your head up as you pass someone on a footpath and saying hello while making eye contact is a good start. Will that get you a job interview? Absolutely not and it’s silly to think it might. Could it be a huge first step for someone with social anxiety and as a result poor communication skills and low self-esteem? Absolutely yes!

Here’s another idea that you probably will agree philosophically would be time well spent, but for other people and not you: get some help with your interview skills. Told you that you wouldn’t like. You need practice my friends; those interview skills are probably rusty, and if you aren’t getting past the interviews you are currently getting, the answer could be in how you interview. If you aren’t even getting too many interviews in the first place, all the more reason to get help so you do well when the interview does come.

A good Job Coach, Advisor or Employment Counsellor will help you strategize ways to deal with: awkward questions, work on your body language, appearance, the tone of your voice, things you could phrase better, things you shouldn’t share, draw out your accomplishments and strengths, how to minimize the possible damage of exposing your weaknesses.

However the number one thing you should avoid at all costs is the very thing that some people ultimately do, which is to become so bitter and angry that they allow their lack of success to change who they are. Don’t let the stress of unemployment change your optimism, your positive outlook. You’re still a good person worthy of living a life full of all the good things you want in it. Don’t turn off your friends, alienate your spouse and family, and think the world owes you.

No, you owe it to yourself to work hard at this job search. Hold yourself accountable, not all the other people in your life. Take personal responsibility for your successes and your failure and most importantly for learning from your failures.

Set yourself up to win in your job search!

Constantly Consumed With Your Problems?


Working with so many people who are unemployed or underemployed, it is only natural that most of them have problems. Actually, all of them have problems, issues and barriers. Some of those barriers and problems they openly share, and some of them they keep locked away and are only revealed after establishing a deep trusting relationship.

Now these problems usually tend to mirror many of the problems that others have who have shared them with me. Their issues typically include stress over being in debt, family problems, relationship issues, low self-esteem, a lack of purpose, housing instability, mental health and literacy issues and of course unemployment.

Any one of the above is in its own right, difficult to deal with. Imagine trying to juggle all of them and possibly throw in an addiction or a criminal record, seeing a counsellor, a probation officer or going through the court system to obtain full custody of a child. So, it is very understandable to me to see how such a person dealing with so many weighty issues could be entirely overwhelmed.

From the time the brain moves from dreamland in the morning to wakefulness, right up until sleep comes again, how must it feel to be so constantly aware of all these things that need fixing? What if you didn’t have the skills or knowledge that you need to actually do much of anything to start dealing with the problems in the first place?  I think therefore it is not such a stretch to start to see why some people appear to give up or give in.

Think about when you have a problem of your own. Life is good except for the stress you feel over that one single thing; maybe the brakes on the car that are going to cost money you have but didn’t plan on spending. Aside from the brakes, you’ve got a home to return to, a job and the income that goes with it, golf on the weekend with your buddies, movie and dinner tonight with the spouse and a pretty decent closet of clothes. Ah but those brakes are stressing you out!

Not to diminish the unexpected cost of replacing your brakes, but you’ve got one thing to stress over and you know that it’s a time-bound stressor. When the car goes in the shop tomorrow, by the evening your brakes are fixed and your one problem solved. Can you imagine having 5 – 9 additional sources of stress all at the same time and each of those stressors goes on and on with no end in sight of being ‘fixed’ and done with? So maybe some empathy for those dealing as best they can with their issues would be the least you and I could do.

Okay. So you’ve got some major issues that are getting in the way of leading the life you want. When you say you just want to live a, ‘normal’ life, what you really mean is living with normal pressures and stresses, not dealing with major stressors all the time and all at once. Yes? That’s not such a strange thing to understand; in fact it’s reasonable.

One possible idea if you are open to hearing one, is to do something that might seem unpleasant but is fairly easy. Start by writing down all the things you can think of that are causing you stress. Just putting them down in black and white on a piece of paper will be a good place to start. This alone will help you if you feel totally stressed out and can’t understand why. It is however only a first step.

Then if you are willing, look at picking one thing that’s freaking you out and decide to put most of your energy into tackling that one issue. So if getting a stable place to live that you can afford is constantly stressing you, it might be a good idea to put most of your energy into that one thing. When you do get an apartment to call your own – even if it’s not your ideal residence – you can give yourself some credit for dealing with that one thing. Having dealt successfully with one thing might give you the motivation to deal with another source of stress.

Now let’s say you are so overwhelmed you just don’t have the skills or ability to even know how to go about getting affordable housing, but this is the one thing you want to resolve first. Perfectly normal by the way. Congratulate yourself for two things: 1) you know what you want to work on and 2) you’re smart enough to know you need someone’s help to fix things.

No matter where you live, look into visiting a social services agency nearby. It doesn’t matter which one you contact first, if they can’t help you directly, they will point you in the right direction and give you the phone number, address, maybe a name of the people who will help you out. They are all connected, know what each other do, and so they can provide you with support and help. Share your troubles and the problems might be less heavy to carry on your own.

Everybody has problems and issues. Most of us manage things well but some better than others. It is a sign of your strength and wisdom to reach out for help, and there’s no shame in that. All the best.

 

 

 

 

 

That Single Second Of A Possibility


Your commute: That daily drive down deep into the darkest, dank, death-like dungeon of despair. Your destination? The job from the netherworld from which you routinely gazed up into the ceiling above, with your arms flung as wide as you can while you screamed to some unknown force in the universe, “WHY ME?!”

Ever had one of those jobs? You loathed it on a Sunday morning when you automatically without willing it realized that you had this single day of respite before you had to march into your workplace and shackle yourself to your desk with a ball and chain. You looked around and saw only resignation on the faces of your co-workers. The worse part of the entire picture was that as you saw it there were no guards, no warden, no executioner – just prisoners who chained themselves without questioning to their work and released themselves at 5:00 p.m. only to repeat the sentence upon the dawn of the following day.

Your co-workers names you no longer recall, but sympathetically refer to them now as Diablo in reception, Lucifer in accounts, Beelzebub your boss; who seemed looking back now to be as lost as yourself. Everything around you seemed so stale, so unappealing, joyless – even plants on the window sill drooped in mute capitulation.

Maybe you did have one of those jobs or worse still have one of those jobs now! Yikes! How unfortunate if you do but feel you have no options, no hope, no promise of a brighter day! Alas, is there no mercy? And what devilry is there afoot that brought you to this lowly place? What sins did you commit to become sentenced to this endless fate which drones on and ever on?

Okay enough of that. Give your head a shake and sit up straight. Focus. I said focus! You there in the front row with your head in front of the screen. Yes you! Focus!

A change in scenery is definitely required here isn’t it? Of course it is. You’re deserving of a better existence aren’t you? Of course you are! Work need not be a drudgery exercise to be repeated 5 or 6 days out of 7 for the rest of your working life. You’re not serving a sentence where you get released home for a day or two each week in an effort to integrate you back into society when you retire and can’t do anyone much harm. At the moment, it would appear you are the one in harm, and it may just be self-inflicted.

You my dear reader, in order to bring about the change you want, have to BE the instrument of change itself. Nothing changes until change occurs. Oh lovely you say, now he’s being just a tad trite. But it’s true. NOTHING CHANGES UNTIL CHANGE OCCURS. It has to start somewhere after all; that first second when something sparks a new thought that you haven’t previously had. That single second is the seed of change presenting itself and what happens next is entirely up to you.

Think of it; that single second where you see an option, a fork in the road, a possibility…and we all have those single seconds when new possibilities come into our conscious thought. Some of us nurture those thoughts, close our eyes and encourage more thoughts. We imagine, allow ourselves to dream, to consider, and then we connect those single seconds into a minute of thought, an hour, a day. We then talk with others around us about those thoughts we are having and breathe life into the possibilities which lead us to examine our skills, our aptitude, then research the opportunities suggested and develop workable realistic goals.

In others of course, that same single second of thought which is the seed of something that could be, is quickly extinguished like an unwanted light in the darkness. Change and the struggles it might bring seems somehow worse than what we have now, and what new disaster might the future bring if we error in following that spark and things end up even more disastrous than they are now? The result is no change, no movement, little hope for something better, and more of the same.

Choose.

Choice is one of the greatest gifts we have but only if we see choice as opportunity for something better. Choice can be something others don’t want – they’d prefer others choose their destiny for them. ie. “Tell me what to do with my life!”

Maybe exploring a small tiny spark of some new idea doesn’t really have to cost you anything other than some moments of reflection. After all, you have the power to explore any idea as far as you like and either go all the way with it or choose at any time to snuff it out for what you have instead of something else.

But you; you who toil timidly today, tomorrow, to the ends of the time you can foretell, why not at least consider that the next time you feel a momentary spark of a new possibility to think on it. You my friend are the single person on this planet of billions of life forms with the capacity to alter your future. Your future you is one day going to look back and either regret the moments you rejected exploring change, or thank yourself gratefully for giving yourself permission to pause and reflect.

 

 

 

60, Visible Minority, MBA, Unemployed


Yesterday I sat down with a man for an hour and half and we talked about his employment goals and employment barriers. Now he wasn’t completely unknown to me as we’d just spent the previous week together as he took part in a class I was co-facilitating pertaining to knowing yourself and finding a job / career that would match.

So who is this man? Well as the title suggests, he’s a 60 year-old, originally from India where he obtained his Masters degree. He’s been in Canada now for 20 years and is a Canadian citizen. He’s worked professionally in Sales and Marketing, once starting on the front line in a company and rising all the way up to be the company CEO. He’s in good health, speaks multiple languages, has a good sense of humour, excellent communication skills – and oh yes he’s unemployed and on social assistance.

Last year he and his wife moved from the west side of Canada to Oshawa, Ontario to move in with their adult son. This way the son gets some rental income, helps out his parents, and they in turn have a stable home and the extended family support they want. The difficulty is of course that they begin anew employment-wise.

When we talked of barriers I threw the prejudice against age and race issues right out there instead of dancing around them to maximize the value of our time together. Yes, both are possibilities he conceded and he has felt dismissed too abruptly for jobs he is well qualified on paper to do. In a move that is sure to offend some but be completely understandable by others, I asked if he’d ever considered submitting some resumes using a pseudonym or nickname. Both his first and last name you see might suggest he is a person from a visible minority with origins offshore.

Yes, sadly, there are still some employers who are prejudiced against people who don’t look like them or their other employees, and worry about everything from a lack of Canadian experience to traditionally spicy foods in the microwave. It’s true. They don’t want to risk alienating their customers or some other such silliness and so they blindly dismiss any application from a person not like themselves.

Then again, it might be his age with all that grey hair (same as my hair colour). At 60, the sands of time are falling much too quickly and employers might look him up and down and see someone slowing down, rising health issues, afternoon naps, inflexibility, out-of-date training and experience. Very real possibilities.

“But can they really do that?” he asked me. “I mean can they not hire me just because I am old or because of my name?” Well honestly discrimination is against the law on the basis of age, gender, sex, religion, ethnicity etc. However, people being people, some poor employers do discriminate they just don’t always openly share their prejudices with applicants.

“If I used a nickname would that not make me seem fraudulent?” This is a great question and one that people will argue for or against with compelling points. The object of a resume and cover letter however are to do but a single thing; get an interview. Once the interview is obtained, it falls to the applicant to sell themselves in the interview, marketing their strengths and values as benefits to be desired leading to being hired. Good thing he’s in Sales and Marketing.

Now by his figures, since January, he has applied for 1,000 jobs. (Is that even possible over 4 1/2 months?) As hardly any interviews have transpired, it would be interesting for ‘Peter Sharpe’ to send out a few resumes and see if he gets any increase in interviews. And supposing that with his new nickname he did land more interviews, he’d have eliminated one barrier to employment.

But what about when they see him and the colour of his skin and the lines on his face – the colour of his hair? He’s in Sales and Marketing remember. So my advice to him was to immediately hijack the interview at the first sign of being dismissed if that happens. After all, if he feels a job is lost that he is qualified for, there is nothing to lose but something to gain. So it could go like this…

“I’m not sure you’re what we’re looking for after all Peter. We’ll let you know though if we can use you.”

“That’s a good strategy of yours, I like it! Dismissing me early to see whether or not I get up and leave or persevere and make my best sales pitch. You are playing the customer who doesn’t want your product. Let me tell you then that I am internationally trained and have full fluency in 4 languages. That means your multicultural clients will readily identify with me. I have worked both on the front-line, at the top and everywhere in between so I can speak with customers at their level. I’m energetic, in good health, have a great sense of humour and meet all your requirements. I even adopted a nickname to increase my chances of obtaining this interview by improving the attraction of the product – me; and you bought it. I am fortunate to have met an employer who understands Sales and Marketing and can detect value when it sits across from them.”

And wouldn’t it be ironic if Bob the interview was sitting on his wallet containing his birth certificate identifying him as William?

Bazinga!

 

 

What You’ll Grow Up To Be


Older. That’s pretty much it as far as a guarantee goes. It’s also a great answer when all those well-meaning people ask you what it is you want to be when you grow up. Other than older, which barring your untimely death is going to happen with great certainty, little else can be guaranteed; certainly not the occupation you end up with.

Did you catch the error in the concluding sentence of that previous paragraph? Read it again and now that you know there’s one there, see how easy or difficult you find locating it. Go ahead, I’ll wait a minute for you to catch up.

The error in the first paragraph is in the singular version of the 5th last word; occupation. You see it really should be pluralized to read, “..the occupations you end up with.” By the time your life is winding down, you will no doubt look back on a working life that has a combination of jobs and careers rather than a single occupation to fill out your adult life. So it’s interesting that adults who themselves have had many different jobs and careers would still ask of those just entering the world of employment, what they want to be when they grow up.

Doesn’t the question itself beg a singular title? “When I grow up I want to be a Teacher.” Surely that is the kind of response most people are expecting when the young person they ask is answering. What would happen however if you overheard a different answer; an answer that actually reflected the reality the person was going to experience? “At this point I think I’ll be a Journalist, but I’ll tire of that in 6 years and turn to conducting market research. After a period of disillusionment, I’ll work in retail sales for a year, return to school and complete a program in Heavy Equipment Operations, work my way up to a site Foreman’s position, then I expect my spouse will accept a job in another part of the country necessitating a relocation and I’ll open a consulting business.”

I think the eyebrows might rise on the listener, the mouth gape a little waiting for the brain to catch up and figure out what to say next. And that’s when the irony of the situation becomes funny; most young people don’t know how to answer the ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ question, and most who ask the question wouldn’t know how to respond to the answer.

Truth of the matter of course is that the future is so unknown, the options so wide open, the possibilities are limitless. The only limits really are the ones we place upon ourselves. Of course our finances, family encouragement, geography, education all play significant roles in how we develop and the opportunities we might have. The single biggest hurdle or source of  motivation however comes from within ourselves.

In addition to being older, I think you’ll grow up to be whatever you want bad enough. If you don’t think about occupations seriously enough and what will likely make you happy, you may just move from job to job – some of them quite good fits, and some poor ones. You can be very successful and earn a living or living to earn.

If in another perspective, you give considerable thought to your long-term happiness and fulfillment, you might either alone or with the help of someone else, come to settle on a longer-term career goal that based on what you have found out, would appear to offer you the job satisfaction that you personally would find fulfilling.

Either way, I would suggest you give yourself permission to change your mind down the road. Sure it would be great to have such conviction that you get it right the first time and you have a very linear path to your ultimate goal and it’s exactly like you imagined it would be. However, it is also the case that some people find that what they imagined at 17 or 18 was good then, but at 26 and 27 they have had a change in perspective, learned about jobs and occupations they hadn’t ever known in their teens, and what was a good fit then is not right now.

It takes courage of course to change your course. It could mean the tuition you’ve paid has left you with debt and you incur more debt to change your field of education. It could mean too that sharing your change of heart means potentially upsetting others; your parents, family and spouse. But courage to change might be far better if done sooner rather than letting what was expected of you have you end up living someone else’s plan for you instead of your own.

So what will you be when you grow up? Difficult to answer whether you are 14, 34 or 55. If there is something stirring inside that says you are due for a change, it’s a good idea to listen and identify what is driving that inner voice. You may be all grown up at 55, but that voice pulling you to look at other things that would make you ultimately happier is a voice worth listening to.

It may be safe to do the usual; what is expected of you. Safe isn’t bad nor good, it’s just – safe. Doing what really motivates you and enriches your life – that’s living.

How Do Givers Keep Giving?


Ever known someone who always has time for other people? Someone perhaps who works through their breaks on a regular basis, maybe shortens their lunch just so they can give a client some personal time? Maybe you know someone who works all day and then comes home only to leave again and go volunteer their time for the benefit of some social organization or cause. How do they do it and where do they get all that energy from?

Those questions are good ones; especially if you are the kind of person that puts in a days work and then comes home and feels the need to plop down on the couch and your done as far as being able to rally yourself to help someone else.

I’m not leading to a conclusion by the way which is going to encourage you to be one of those who continuously give of themselves. No, that’s an individual choice and one you can make for yourself or not. It certainly doesn’t fall to me to suggest you be one kind of person or another in this respect. I just think it’s interesting to see the givers for who they are.

Now contrast this kind of person; the one who makes extra time for their clients seemingly all the time. Be it as they walk in the building and are accosted by an unscheduled client just wanting a minute, someone at break or lunch time who’s needs are pressing, or the client who just needs some social interaction after class and doesn’t want to return home to the isolation of their bachelor apartment.

Contrast this person I say but with whom? Let’s go with the worker who needs to get in to their workplace and get settled first, check their emails, check their hair, have a bite to eat before seeing anyone, then who at break exercises their right to a full 15 minutes of alone time, and their lunch hour isn’t a lunch hour unless it’s a full hour; and finally who at the end of the day, switches off their client concern as they switch off the lights.

Before you say the picture I’m painting of the second person is unfair, I think in many respects that person is fully entitled to start and end their workday as their contract lays out. They are equally entitled to take whatever lunch and break periods that their employer has set out. They are not to be vilified in any way, least of all by me – for going about their job and doing what is expected of them.

No, I’m focused here more on the person who just gives and gives. Where does that energy come from to do not just every so often but on a continuous basis? I think these people by and large are fueled differently. They get genuine energy from the moments of connectivity that helping others provides. If a client really wants more of their time, they put the clients purpose and needs ahead of their own without reservation. Often the times they do say they can’t give someone the time, it’s only because they’ve previously committed to giving of their time to someone else. Even then they don’t say no absolutely, but offer to make time for the person soon.

The people who give and give of themselves do run a risk of giving so extensively that without making concerted efforts to replenish themselves they may literally exhaust themselves physically and mentally. The result? A person who lives to give but is ineffective and conflicted in their ability to give. This can cause the person who doesn’t read the signs correctly to actually struggle to give more when there’s nothing to give.

The easiest metaphor or image I can share would be a container of water. If the water represents the good will one has and is continuously emptied without ever being replenished, it will eventually be exhausted. There has to be a mechanism or process of filling that container with additional water in order that there be water to share as needed with others.

Now this kind of person who fails to replenish can become fatigued; their inability to give weigh on them and who knows, a complete mental breakdown would not be unexpected. Only after a mental health leave and truly taking time to regenerate and revitalize would the person have any real chance of once again being effective in their ability to give of themselves for the benefit of others.

For most of us, the replenishment we need comes from what we do in our evenings and weekends. We get momentarily refocused and recharged on our lunches if we go for a walk, talk with our coworkers, squeeze in a trip to the store. In short, we build in moments of self-repair with a change in activity that focuses more on our own needs.

Look out for yourself as you go about your work if you see yourself as a continual giver. If you want to be helpful, watch out for your co-workers; recognize the signs of those who might be in danger of exhausting their reserves. Suggest going for a walk at lunch together, just sitting down and engaging in conversation about things outside of work that would be of personal interest to the person.

When you take the time to self-govern your giving, you may just be able to give more and for longer. Stay healthy out there.