“Whips and chains, handcuffs” – What’s Your Fantasy by Ludacris
While getting ready for Halloween and the end of the year, it’s good to think about the parallels the above costume items may have in common with your career.
It’s well known that the first of the year is prime time for job hunting – you’ve made it through the holidays, hopefully received a year end bonus and raise, and are ready for a fresh start.
As you close in on the year (and decade) end consider if you’re feeling totally whipped, chained, or handcuffed at work.
Whipped: Exhaustion, lack of motivation, and depression – all are common symptoms of being whipped, overworked and wiped out in the workplace.
I’ve been in this position many times through the years… too many 80-100 hour weeks coupled with constant travel, eating out, and little to no exercise will wear out the best of us. It’s tough early on in your career while you are having to prove yourself, but it’s imperative to recognize what type of care you need, and to act upon it right away vs. waiting until you crash. For me, it’s diet, sleep and exercise – if I’m going to keep functioning at a high level, I have to eat cleanly, get at least 8 hrs of sleep a night and take naps when I’m tired, and exercise (yoga, long walks / hikes, sprints, and HIIT are my favorite). I will always prioritize sleep because you’ll work more quickly and effectively once you’ve had rest.
Recognize when you’ve done all the self-care possible, yet it still isn’t making a dent in your well-being – it may be time to change roles or jobs.
Chained: Corporate chains come about when we feel stuck in a specific role, or at a certain level in the organization without upward mobility and trajectory opportunities.
It’s always good to be evaluating your own performance, and what opportunities are available to you. You can’t wait until someone offers you a promotion – you have to look for what is next on your own, and then be verbal and make your interest known. You also have to be realistic about what opportunities exist within your organization, and when it’s time to leave in order to secure the career growth you are seeking.
Handcuffed: And those handcuffs which can often be golden keep us tied to an organization due to the benefits and compensation even though we yearn for change and know we are capable of more – we get comfortable.
Recognize when a job or company is handcuffing you to it/them. You never want to get so comfortable or stuck in a role that you can’t leave. Handcuffs will inevitably cause you to make poor decisions because you’ll feel trapped. You’ll find yourself unable to make clear headed choices that are in your own best interest for fear of loosing what you have.
Feeling “overworked, underpaid” and potentially underappreciated will all contribute to job dissatisfaction, and for most aren’t the typical corporate fantasy. If you are suffering from any of the above, it’s time to evaluate how you are feeling with your job against your long-term goals. And be ready to make a change if necessary.
For this office appropriate Halloween colored outfit – I paired a blouse I found this summer on sale at Neiman’s with a black basic skirt. I’ve had now for a while that I picked up new on resale. I love this blouse as it’s a wrap style, but actually cut high enough to be appropriate for work – so many wrap too low to be office friendly. As fall is in full force, I opted for black hose to finish out the professional look.
As you evaluate any corporate ‘chains’ you may be bound by, consider: What’s your career fantasy? That will let you know what changes you need to make in the upcoming year to make it more than just a fantasy.
All my best,