At Times, It’s Just About Holding On

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Have you been getting a lot of advice on how to move forward lately? Does it seem like your best isn’t good enough if you aren’t getting ahead? And when you do make some progress and want to pause to celebrate or catch your breath, do you feel pushed or pressured to get back up and keep scratching and clawing for more?

Hang on. Sometimes, it’s perfectly okay just to be where you are. It’s even better than just okay, it’s exactly what you need; just…holding…on. Now maybe this comes as a refreshing change of commentary; you know, that somebody is actually validating what you’ve been feeling for days, weeks, month’s; that just holding on is the best thing you can do. So why then, why oh why does everyone you listen to seem to be urging you to do more?

Good question! There may be many reasons of course. Some well-intended people might feel they know you better than you know yourself and want you to experience more of the good things in life. They’ve heard you express at times your hopes and ambitions, what you’d like to have or what you’d like to do in the future. Seeing where you are and where you’ve said you’d like to be, they actually believe they are helping you along if they point out you’re not going to achieve those goals if you pause and stop pushing forward. They see themselves as cheerleaders when you actually see them as taskmasters.

And that message of getting ahead, of doing more, being better, striving for improvement is everywhere. Buy this truck and you can haul more, drink this beverage and you’ll be surrounded by cooler people, get in better shape and you’ll feel better, buy my book and you’ll be wealthier or have greater self-esteem and a better self-image etc. No matter which direction you turn, not matter what part of your life you examine, somebody is giving you the advice to push for something better. The unintended message they are sending is that your present life is lacking; you should want more. You’re not happy are you? Wouldn’t you like more house, a better relationship, a healthier you, a more fulfilled life, a safer neighbourhood, a brighter kitchen, a better job?

Wait. Hold on. If all you’re really capable of at the moment is hanging on so you don’t slip and fall, do exactly that. Hold on. Nobody else truly knows where you’re at, both in body and in mind. Yes, other people may have experienced similar situations as the ones you’ve experienced or are experiencing at the moment. Yes, they might be in a very good position to empathize with you because of that shared experience and if you asked for their advice or help, they might just be in the best position to help you out. However, you are uniquely you; you’re the one person going through your life with a past that’s uniquely yours. Nobody can truly appreciate how your past and present has shaped and continues to shape your interpretation of all those experiences.

When someone ahead of you or higher than you reaches back or down to lend you a hand and offer you support as you move ahead or up, they aren’t exactly where you are at the moment are they? No. They’ve moved a step ahead or a step up. They are no longer exactly where you are. This gives them perhaps some advantage which you could benefit from in avoiding a future pitfall, but their path out of where you are may or may not be the path that you end up seeing as right for you. Their way up, forward or out of a jam might not be the only one you have as an option; their solution might have worked for them but not be right for you.

Now let’s say you’re out of work and you may have expressed to people you meet that you want to find a job; one you’d enjoy doing that is stable and pays a decent wage. Not too much to ask is it? Of course not. You want such a job and you deserve it too. Given your expressed wish to get a job, those you talk with and listen to may naturally start urging you forward; get some help with that resume, improve your interview skills, write stronger cover letters, follow up, give it 100% and buckle down, roll up your sleeves and focus! Focus! Focus!

But hold on. Maybe…just maybe… you’re not ready – yet. A little more conversation would reveal your landlord wants you out at month’s end, you’re in overdraft at the bank, you left your purse on the bus and just lost all your ID, your surviving parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, your daughter just called and asked to move back in temporarily and your glasses are misplaced. Is now the best time to focus 100% on a job search? Yes you want and need work but first things first, there’s much more going on.

Hey, the above isn’t some far-fetched stretch of reality. Many readers are nodding their head saying, “That’s me!”

Sometimes the best thing to do is dig in, gain traction and deal as best you can with the limited energy you’ve got on what you have to do. There is nothing wrong with that.


Using Bad Experiences For Good

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If you’re like most people, you’ve experienced both the good and the bad in your past. While the good experiences are great to recall and replay over and over in your mind, as part of your self-defence, you may be intentionally blocking out the negative ones from your past, feeling it difficult or impossible to find anything good in the aftermath of a bad experience.

There are a lot of coaches in sports who encourage their athletes to have a short memory if something bad happens; like a goalie giving up a soft goal, or a team losing a crucial match. You’ll hear them say things like, “we’re only focused on the next game”, or “I have to focus on the next shot and forget about the one that got by”. Yet when they practice between games, they turn to what went wrong and they make adjustments, so that the bad experience isn’t repeated. It’s not therefore that they just relive the experience, but they work hard to get better so that they don’t experience a second time the disappointment of giving up a goal or losing when it matters most.

Sometimes the bad things we’ve experienced are significantly personal and traumatic. The last thing we want to do is get in touch with the emotions and feelings that we experienced when those experiences were fresh and our current reality. Finding something redeemable or useful in our present life from such a negative event or series of events from the past just doesn’t seem remotely possible.

It is precisely because they’ve experienced negative events in the past however, that many people discover a passion for wanting to help others going through similar – but uniquely personal – experiences. Hence an ex-addict wants to become an Addictions Counsellor or a person experiencing anxiety and depression writes about their experiences in a blog, supporting others who may be similarly impacted.

Here is something you may draw great strength and encouragement from. While the good experiences in our past are helpful in rewarding us for what we did well, the bad experiences have the potential to be of more value to us moving forward. This is no reason to want to have bad experiences – and I don’t make light of them in the least – but the hurt we’ve experienced, the shame, the vulnerability, the helplessness we may have felt; all of these things have the potential as I say, to be useful to us.

When for example we get fired from a job, we may want to hide that fact from others, feeling embarrassed and not wishing to have to explain why to everyone who asks why we’re not working.  We can use that bad experience however, moving forward and being more aware of avoiding toxic workplaces, bullying bosses, fragile employers with shaky finances, or being put into jobs with high personal exposure to a lot of responsibility without the tools to be effective. Or if we were harassed on the job by customers – physically or sexually – and our employer’s did little to support us causing us to quit, we might learn to avoid that type of environment altogether in the future.

Yes our past negative experiences can be very helpful in steering us both away from similar situations in the future, or / and draw us into roles we’d have otherwise not considered. Experience alone however, doesn’t qualify us to suddenly become teachers in that subject matter. A recovering or former addict isn’t qualified to work as an Addictions Counsellor just because they have a desire to help others who have experiences similar to their own. No, they have realize there’s a further investment to be made in schooling and education which, when paired with their own personal experience, will uniquely qualify them to work successfully in such a role.

This is precisely where many who want to help others come to a dead stop in their career ambition. Or, worse yet, they set themselves up as business owners and provide their experiences to others – well-intended of course (let’s not forget this) but, they lack the formal training and only have their lived experience to offer. That lived experience isn’t enough.

The irony of these good intentions is too many people to choose from by the very people who need the help and want to reach out but don’t know who is qualified and who isn’t. This is precisely why so many people will say they tried getting help but it wasn’t very helpful and they then are cautious at best or refuse help altogether from people. This is an unintended and unfortunate reality for many.

So yes, you can turn your own negative experiences into learning experiences for yourself moving forward. You can learn from the past and avoid similar situations, improving your odds of having more good and fewer negatives as you go. If you’ve got the inclination and desire to help others, you can also channel this goodwill and use it to benefit others but, you really do need to consider getting the formal training that for many, gives you the credentials you’ll need to get hired. Credentials plus past personal experience is a winning combination.

If you’re thinking it’s too hard to go back to school; it’s too much of a struggle mentally or financially, think about the people you want to help most who may find it too much of a struggle and too hard to free themselves of where you were.


Goodbye Old Job, I’m Moving On

high-angle-view-of-man-giving-resignation-letter-to-businesswoman-at-office-889570084-5a6a601d0e23d90036e277e6Sooner or later, its likely that you’ll shift from one employer to another, and hopefully on your own terms. While you’ll be excited at the prospect of a new job, perhaps with greater income, more hours or just a fresh start, there’s the business of how to break the news to your present employer to think about.

Let’s get the worse thing you could possibly do out-of-the-way; just stop showing up, ignore phone messages wondering where you are and figure eventually they’ll stop calling. I’ve actually had people tell me they do this when they leave because they want to avoid conflict of any kind at all costs. This is not a good strategy because you’re leaving on a real sour note and honestly, it’s uncanny how life brings us back into contact with past employers, co-workers and people remember. It’s also incredibly empowering to be in the position of announcing your departure.

Let’s remember that this employer has shown confidence in hiring you in the first place. That faith in having brought you on board needs to be respected. Also to be respected is the fact that they’ll need some kind of transition plan to fill the position you’re vacating. How they do that is their business, but you demonstrate your own personal values when you provide the courtesy of giving appropriate notice. The more they get from you, the better they are able to address the situation.

It’s probable that for any number of reasons, where you’re headed is preferable to you over where you have been. There’s a wave of relief for some in leaving a deteriorating situation or toxic atmosphere. For others it’s a fresh start in a different role entirely, a move up in seniority, a move right out of the community to another city or country, etc. There are a lot of reasons why you could be moving on, but what they all have in common is typically going to something you want more than you’re getting now; a positive change.

When you’ve only been in a job a few days or even up to three month’s, your replacement value to the organization is not as great. The fact that the employer or you can just walk away from each other with no notice required over this period confirms this. So sure, have the good grace to let the employer know in-person you’ve accepted a position elsewhere, thank them for their confidence in hiring you, turn in any items the company provided you with as an employee and do your best to leave on good terms. While the news is likely disappointing, you’re hardly irreplaceable in these early days, and they may go right to the people they almost hired and present them with a job offer.

When your tenure is longer, you’re departure probably creates a larger hole to fill. This is still their issue not yours, so don’t take on the guilt of improving your lot in life at their expense; that’s not helpful. They’ve got a decent return on your employment if you’ve been there a long time right? Sure they have. This move is more about your own job satisfaction, improving your financial health, maybe even your mental health.

Sometimes a conversation is what’s needed and in some places a letter of resignation is the expectation. This letter if you write one should be brief. The content includes the statement you’re resigning from your position, the effective date and typically a few words of appreciation for the opportunity to have worked for the organization. Leave out any remorse for the disruption, apologies for the trouble you’ll cause in leaving, snarky remarks about getting out while the getting is good, or anything in fact that is vengeful or mean-spirited. It might be witty and satisfying to tell them what you really think, but it’s unprofessional; take the high road.

Of course you might be leaving your current job for retirement. Even though the employer might have an inkling it’s coming in the near future, when you actually provide notice, it can still come as unexpected. You might want to consult with your boss or the Human Resources Department where you work as to how to ensure you use your vacation or in fact any time you’re due as part of your notice. So you might actually provide notice you’re leaving but be on 5 weeks vacation technically before the ‘last day’ kicks in. Worth thinking about and checking out.

Where you are on the organizational chart, how long you’ve been in a role or with a company all play a part in how much notice is appropriate. When you do give notice, be prepared for various reactions. You might be asked to train a replacement or you might be asked to turn in your ID badge on the spot and walked out on the spot. Maybe you have some examples from others who gave notice to draw on in terms of the organization’s response to guide you.

When you resign, your focus is really on where you’re headed. For many, it’s important to share your news with your co-workers, say your goodbye’s and get the well-wishes and congratulations. You should likely have a word with the Boss, as they might like some control over how the message gets communicated. It’s likely they’ll want to be the first to know.


A Success Story Shared

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Carol wanted out. As a single mom with a couple of children however, she knew she had to get another job before quitting the one had.

She had the kind of boss who kept changing the rules on the fly, so she never knew from one day to the next if the things she did and how she went about doing them would be appreciated or not. In this small family run business, she’d get criticized daily over something or the other whether it was her fault or not, and when the boss would realize it was herself who had made an error, no apology ever passed her lips.

The last straw happened recently when suddenly the boss introduced a new employee; a new full-time, inexperienced family member employee no less. For the past 6 month’s Carol had been asking for and denied full-time hours because apparently they weren’t available to be had.

The first thing Carol did was ask a co-worker she trusted if he knew of someone who could help her find a better job. He understood her motives to move on and that’s how Carol and I got connected with one another. This co-worker just happens to be someone I’ve advised before.

I worked in partnership with Carol after having an initial get-to-know each other talk. She ended up with an updated and reformatted resume plus a cover letter for a position she identified as being local, full-time and better income. The day after she submitted it to the potential employer, she got a call setting up an interview.

Carol happily shared her success with me via email right away, and accepted an invitation to get together a second time to go over her interview skills. This second meeting was a 2 1/2 hour chat that covered a lot of territory. We looked at what an interview actually is versus what she perceived it to be for starters. By the time she’d left, she knew what to bring with her, how to dress for success, how to market herself to the specific needs of this employer, and most importantly how to predict and answer the questions.

The credit for her success is Carol’s alone. You see she got the job, beating out other candidates soundly and performed so strongly, she got hired on the same day she got interviewed. From an initial inquiry to getting hired took her about three weeks. This is a real story by the way, only her name is changed to protect her identity.

So what did she do right?

  1. She recognized the time had come to move on.
  2. She asked someone she trusted for a referral.
  3. She followed through on the referral and reached out for help.
  4. She identified potential jobs she was interested in.
  5. She presented as open and receptive to change.
  6. She learned how to craft a resume/cover letter targeted to a single job.
  7. She shared her success in landing an interview.
  8. She accepted an invitation to work on her interview skills.
  9. She presented a 2nd time as open and receptive to change.
  10. She let go of how she had done things in the past.
  11. She invested herself in improving her interview skills.
  12. She put what she learned into action.
  13. She shared her ultimate success.

As you can see from the above, Carol made many good decisions, each one building on the previous. At any point along the way, she might have made a different decision, such as passing up on the offer of interview help and going with how she interviewed in past situations. Whether it would have worked out had she done that to her complete satisfaction we’ll never know, but if you ask her, she’d say she was glad to have invested herself in this process. She not only learned what to do to get this job, she’s now got all the tools to apply herself in the future when the time comes to seek out yet another job.

What of you and your needs however. Have you been growing discontent with your present situation; either underemployed or out of work altogether? Maybe you know you need the very kind of help described here but you still haven’t taken that step to ask people around you that you trust for a referral. Or having done that, you’ve failed to reach out for help – not just to me personally of course, but perhaps to someone closer to where you live.

Depending on the job you’re after and your level of commitment in investing yourself in what may be a completely new way of doing things,  you might not have the rather quick success of Carol. You’ll benefit immensely nonetheless in improving your chances and ultimately realizing your career or employment goal. You’ll definitely make forward progress; and if you’re feeling like you’re just treading water and going nowhere, you know moving forward is exactly what’s needed.

By the way, Carol not only got another job, she landed a job moving up in seniority too. I just love success stories because behind every one is a real person, and to have played a small part in helping them achieve their goal is extremely gratifying and humbling. If you really think this story is just a pat on the back for me personally, you’ve missed the point of this piece entirely. The focus is where it belongs; the good decisions Carol made.

Who’s next?



A Better Job Search

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Many who have been unemployed will tell you that it was one of the more difficult times in their lives. The prolonged job search, more lows than highs, mounting stress and the pervasive feeling of lower self-worth as you get rejected or even worse just plain ignored again and again. I empathize with all of you who have found the process mentally tough to go through; and yes, I speak from experience.

Take heart though, it need not be this way. Today I want to share some old and new ideas to help you get working faster. As you look at the ideas here, it’s likely you’ll find some you’re doing and some you haven’t thought of or are resistant to try. If you feel so inclined, add an idea or two of your own in the comments area. Hey, you can spare a few moments to help out another job seeker right? Great. Let’s begin.

  1. Diversify Your Day. Incorporate phone calls, face-to-face conversations, work on your on-line presence, research, apply for work, talk to your references and schedule some time to be physically active.
  2. Phone People. It’s ironic that people carry cell phones everywhere they go these days and yet when it comes to looking for work, they are so reluctant to actually call people. Use the phone to get the name of people to apply to, introduce yourself and showcase the energy of your voice to demonstrate your enthusiasm.
  3. Get Out. The last thing you want is for your castle to become your prison. Please don’t isolate yourself and in so doing, increase the anxiety you’ll feel at meeting people. Yes, you’re unemployed. This is but one part of the larger person you are. You’re value doesn’t change just because you’re out of work.
  4. Educate Your References. Send your updated resume to your references so that when they do get a call from an employer they can quickly put it in hand and talk better about you. If they come across someone who just might be hiring, they can share it with them without the delay of contacting you and getting you to contact the lead.
  5. Thank People. Gratitude is worth its weight in gold. Send a note of thanks to anyone who has helped or may help you along. Certainly include a note to your references, interviewers and if you’re working with them, possibly a job coach. When you thank people on a regular basis and in your daily life, it makes you realize just how grateful you can be for all the people who do things large and small that make your life just a little nicer.
  6. Target Your Resume. A unique resume IS mandatory for the jobs you apply to. Stop photocopying or running multiple prints of your resume to hand out. If you haven’t got this message in the past, it is likely one of the top reasons your job search is taking so long. You resume has to hit each of the qualifications employer’s list in their ads, not just a lot of them. Seems like more work but ironically, it’s not because you get more interviews, and they lead to job offers.
  7. Spruce Up. Ever heard sayings like, “Clothes make the man”, or “Dress for success”? Get a few outfits together that you feel good in and look good in. Don’t stop there though. Every time you walk out that door, tell yourself you might run into someone or be introduced to someone influential. If you’re used to wearing your pyjamas or sweat pants on the street, please stop. The one thing you always have control over is your appearance and the attention you take or don’t.
  8. Smile. Our faces communicate so much to others long before our mouths open to speak. Look friendly, approachable; even warm and inviting just by the look on your face. People like to work with, help and be around others who smile. It’s true.
  9. Know Yourself. Know your strengths, areas needing improving, why you are a good fit where you apply, your worth and HOW you’re going to benefit the companies you apply to work at. If you haven’t done a self-inventory of your skills, interests, liabilities, education, motivators etc., why not?
  10. Reach Out. Asking for help is a strength and everybody else is doing it; especially your competition. Get over your pride if it’s holding you back, have a piece of humble pie and get some professional advice and work through some job search barriers.
  11. Invest Yourself. Okay so you’re unemployed and have time on your hands. What are you doing with that time? Take an online course, go to night school or day school, get SMART SERVE, First Aid or Health and Safety training. Get a police check. The worst thing you can do is … nothing.
  12. Be Healthy. Go for a walk everyday, get the unhealthy snacks out of the house and stop buying them. Fruits, vegetables, smaller portions, ride the bike etc. You know this is all good for you and so do I for that matter. Why we don’t do a better job is beyond me but we should – start now.
  13. Stop The Excuses. Take some personal responsibility. It’s your life here and whatever happened in the past is – well – exactly that…in the past. Commit to a better future by doing more of the things now your future self will thank you for.


The Team, ‘Goodwill Account’

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If you’ve got co-workers, you’ve likely got other, “co’s”, as in cooperation, co-dependency and coordination. Can you count on your co-workers to be cooperative and do you all work using a coordinated approach that thrives on that co-dependency?

I’ve heard many people describe frustration in their workplaces where the only time the word, ‘team’ comes up is when it means having to do your own work and take on other’s too; such as when they are absent or not pulling their own weight.

When working in an environment where you’re assigned to a team, it’s probable that the number of people on the team has an impact on the dispersal of work when someone isn’t contributing fully. So in a team of two people, the impact of one member not pulling their weight falls completely on the other. In a team of three, the extra workload could be equally split between the other two and so on.

If and when you work in a team environment, you should be aware of the need to make regular deposits into the team, ‘goodwill account’. Pitching in without being asked, helping others voluntarily when you’re on top of your own work, expressing praise for the good works of others and of course gratitude for any assistance you receive. This goodwill comes back to you when others sense or become aware that you’re not at your best one day, appearing distracted, absent due to illness or required to go to some training event. You see this goodwill when you return and unexpectedly find some of the work you believed you had to do is already completed.

Not everyone however, gets this idea of contributing to the goodwill account. There’s often this lone wolf on the team; the one who’s in it for themselves, figures they get paid to do their own work and the only time they pitch in to support a colleague is when they are told to by Management; and then under protest. I worked with a fellow decades ago now who fit this description. A likeable fellow in many ways, but when he was on the schedule to cover for anyone absent, he didn’t. He’d go over to a phone full of messages and clear them all without listening to or actioning any, then claim no one called. Not exactly a team player.

The notion of co-dependency or co-reliance on each other is inherent in teams. People are going to be sick, they’ll be at training, they’ll have days where they just don’t feel it, vacations, there’ll be deaths in their families, projects they’ll be drawn into, committees they’ll be part of, and the list goes on. It’s not just others either as the same is true for you. When you find yourself in a team of people who understand and contribute equally to the goodwill account, you’ll appreciate how fortunate you are.

By nature however, employees are not generally the same when it comes to involvement in activities at work. You’ll find one or two on the team who seem to be on five committees at any time, then others that may have had their fill and pull out of this extra commitment preferring to focus on the job at hand or limit their time to the social committee.

The difficulty for many comes when one or two people on a team are perceived to be drawing a lot more out of the goodwill account then they are depositing into it. I mean, if your own workload isn’t impacted by anyone else, you likely feel it’s none of your business how productive or not someone else is. However, when your workload is increased on a fairly regular basis, it has the potential to create disharmony. You know, one co-worker grumbling to another about so-and-so on the team and that second employee chiming in with their own dissatisfaction. It may start innocently, but know that your awareness that someone else feels similar to you has the potential to cause a negative ripple.

Under the right circumstances, and if coming from a caring, empathetic approach, you might test the waters and ask someone if everything is okay. Your inquiry has to be more than just because of the impact on your own work. The risks of course are that the person might feel they are doing a good job of concealing whatever is causing their production or contribution to the team slip. They might feel it’s none of your business, or you could open them up to confiding in you with something you’d rather they hadn’t.

Working on a team where others have your back and you’ve got theirs can be extremely satisfying. Not everyone however is at the core a team player, nor does everyone need to be. There are many fine jobs where people are inherently left to work independently and they thrive in it. A Sales Representative with an extensive territory might spend a large part of their day on the road visiting customers and potential customers. Even in such a situation, they may still rely on Head Office personnel to feed them leads, forward data and check on inventories and supply orders. There’s still some element of team even in this scenario.

Float this idea of the goodwill account perhaps at a team meeting. What does a deposit look like? Is it important that everyone contribute to it?


Feeling Stretched Too Thin?


In the course of your job, you will occasionally be given additional responsibilities or tasks to carry out. For the most part, those extra things have a finite existence; which is to say they don’t go on forever. Maybe you’re asked to put in an additional shift or and extended shift. You might be asked to shoulder some extra workload until the company can replace someone, or a sudden demand for your services and products means everyone has to pitch in and contribute more numbers to meet production needs.

Sometimes it’s a situation where you’re given the news matter-of-fact with no room for discussion. The boss lays out their expectations and essentially you take on the additional work without question. In other workplaces, or in other situations, the boss may come and ask if they can count on you to do more. While this approach is a gentler way of achieving the same thing, you might feel obligated to say yes even though you’re wondering about the toll on your personal life, your time management or the quality of the work you’ll produce given the expectation of doing more.

Taking on more and stretching yourself to reach some new level of achievement you perhaps didn’t believe you had in you is for many a good thing. It can make you a more valuable asset to your organization, tap into skills and abilities that you had underdeveloped or not realized, and can take your career north as you do more. As I say, stretching yourself to see what you’re capable of can be a wonderful thing.

However, when you’re already feeling stretched and you’re asked to take on more, implement new programs, work additional hours, or train others without letting your production slip, something has to eventual give. I mean, just how far can you pull an elastic band until the inevitable snap?

In addition to the additional load you’re taking on in the workplace, you may also find that demands of you increase outside of work, or if not demands, your ability to cope with normal expectations placed upon you in your personal life are ones you feel more acutely. Things you’d normally enjoy such as reading to the kids, heading out for a bike ride, having those friends over on Friday night, having to go to the in-laws for dinner on Sunday afternoon suddenly mean expending more energy when you’re feeling tapped out. Add a few more things to the list such as a leaky faucet to fix, a sagging fence that needs propping up, a request to clean out the garage Saturday, and you become irritable, resistant; ticked off as everybody seems to want more of you.

Back in the workplace, you’re feeling pressure and know you should just be honest and tell the boss you’re not in a position to take on more. Ah but there’s pride on the line isn’t there? Sure. You worry you’ll appear weak, unable to take on more and maybe you’re not cut out for a promotion where the stakes are higher. You like your job and your boss for that matter and maybe you don’t want to disappoint them or your co-workers. If you don’t take on more, will they suddenly wonder what’s wrong with you or feel your inflexibility to do more means it gets dumped on them? That’s a sure way to be popular.

An elastic can only be pulled so far and it can only be held so long when it’s pulled to its maximum length. An hourglass only has so much sand in it and unless it gets filled back up by turning it over, it eventually becomes completely depleted with nothing left up top. Take whatever analogy you like.

It can also be challenging and downright frustrating when you do let the boss know you’re approaching or at your max and they sympathize with you but nothing changes. “We’re all feeling this way. Believe me I know. But we all have to pitch in don’t we? It will eventually get better. I’m aware of the situation. Trust me.” I mean what do you say to that? The boss is likely under pressure too; being tasked to get more out the workforce without the good fortune of additional resources.

If such a situation exists for you at work, you’ll maybe see co-workers taking more time off than usual. They may be physically ill, or they may be taking much-needed personal mental health days – (perhaps calling in ill but really needing a break) which can be a self-preservation move to cope with additional demands. Maybe a day isn’t such a bad thing, but it will be if that day turns into several days in a row, or several days every month or so. The workplace atmosphere may be at risk of becoming tense as grumbling about absences increases in proportion to the increased workload your co-workers have to take on should you be the one taking time off more frequently.

We; you, we only have so much we can give. You can only do what you can do and you can’t do much more than that. Sounds like the lyrics of some pop song actually. But it’s true. We only have so much in our extra reserves from which to draw upon.

Let’s take care of ourselves out there today and everyday. We’re in this together.