Be kind and stop being hard on yourself. This is a message for you, generation burnt out. Yes, I am talking to you.
Generation Burnt Out – My definition:
This is a member of the conveyor-belt lifestyle club, who has started to get fatigued and frustrated as they continue with the rat race. They notice that they are not getting the right balance they desire in their life. They feel that they work to live, rather than live to work. Their relationships may not be ideal, as they are not investing as much time as they like with their loved ones. They know that something is not right, and feel helpless sometimes.
Credit is due
Credit is sometimes not given to those of us who make the effort to go out there and try new things. This includes making a commitment to act upon an idea, which we believed was the right thing to do at the time. Our motivations to go into a work field vary. This may have been embarking on a training career after being told how we have a natural knack for it. Or pursuing a career in the legal profession, after being told that we’re passionate and can argue points very well. It may have been about status, how a certain position will mean that we will be respected, treated as a pillar of society. Although we all know that whether we wear a white-collar shirt or blue-collar shirt does not necessarily deem us a good or bad person. Can you remember the case of Dr. Harold Shipman, sometimes referred to as Dr. Death, who killed his patients? We can be influenced by the people around us.
In terms of why we enter into a career, it could be influence, or it could be the result of two other categories. The first would be personal aspiration toward a specific vocation, like always wanting to be a doctor. The second, is simply falling into a career and later realising that you have become comfortable in it. For example, taking a position as a personal assistant at an IT organisation because they had an opening, and later realising that you have the skills to pick up new systems, and so we fall into the career as an IT trainer. Does this sound familiar?
The new era in work is here
You may not have realised this yet, but history has a way of repeating itself. Coming full circle. How we work is the next phase in the cycle. The model is not exactly new; we have been bartering since the beginning of time for goods and services.
We are also in the digital age when people are coming up with new ways of communicating, sometimes kicking out a middle person. This can be seen most recently with the advent of smart contracts. There is even a new currency that at first may not been taken seriously as it sounds like that of a science fiction novel. Have you guessed it? Yes, it is cryptocurrency – a new currency intended to exchange for goods and services. There is a story about an early adopter of this currency deciding to eat his pizza, rather than wait to see the value of his currency grow exponentially! So have you guessed what age we are in? We are in the age of service. I am not referring to the everyday services that we see when walking down a high street, like the shoe repairer, mechanic, tailor, or banker. I am referring to the way we work, not necessarily having to earn your living from working under one big organisation. Freelancing is not so new, but in the digital age it made things much easier. You can now be location-independent and work with your client and team who are in a different room or time zone from you. So if I felt like learning French, as I did a few years ago, I could have my tutor teach me from his living room in Quebec, Canada. So do we need to be going to an office building, grouped together? This is not to say that having human interaction is a bad thing. But it is nice to have options. And the belief that we do not have options, is one of the roots of burn out.
Please give caution to adverts you are seeing …
As the title of this article suggests it is not about beating anyone else up about their work/career decisions. So how do we move from suffering from burn out to being kinder to ourselves? Number one, appreciate the career and business choices that we have already made. This may be hard sometimes, when we are reading the online adverts, and literature, and listening to the shouting coaches who suggest that we are at fault for being unhappy between the hours of nine and five in our day jobs. And it is not necessarily about quitting our jobs. Being good to ourselves is about how we design our work life.
What can we do to move away from generation burnt out – a starting place?
- The first step toward trying to cure a malady is to acknowledge that there is a problem. The symptoms may have been there for some time. Common ones are Mondayitis, lost of sleep, stress in communicating with your loved ones, eventually picking up new addictions to numb the unhappiness.
- Give yourself space. We do not allow ourselves to take time out. It does not necessarily mean going on a vacation, but not putting on time pressure to set life goals.
- Do not get distracted by a new course, or a get-rich-quick scheme. Yes, you are an intelligent being with world experience. But a common condition in all of us is need. We want things. We use currency to get things. We can get easily sidetracked when we hear about income-generating schemes. These will come in different guises. Be aware: About 65% of these salespeople will not have mastered the area they say that they are experts i
- Review our thinking. Start taking an unedited approach to matters. We are easily conditioned. You may have not realised how past relationships, beliefs, experiences, and fears have shaped you into the individual you are right now. A tip: If you have been feeling constricted by a belief, now is the time to question if it is true. For example, it may be that you enjoy the work that you do, but not like the environment. You may prefer being a lone boss, taking on your own projects. You may be better suited as a freelancer. Why not put together a presentation highlighting your best work? Getting on a books of an agency, creating a sideline gig. And when you are ready, go out on your own.
- Get back to your values. You may think that you know what is important to you right now, but you may be basing this on past beliefs. We are constantly changing. What you wanted five years ago may be different than what you want now. Start playing with words that best describe the person you want to become. Do you want to be a visionary? Do you want autonomy? Knowing what your values are makes it much easier when making decisions about what it is that you want to do. A step further would be creating your own mission statement. Companies have that. Why not you?
- Create a Vision Board. It is much easier when we can visualise things. We can then say, “I can see this happening” rather than the statement, “I cannot see this happening.” We can learn a lot from the late Steve Job’s approach about ‘Distorted Reality’.
- Create a plan. The next logical step would be to develop a plan. It can become confusing with the million bits of information that we are consuming on a daily basis to keep track of where we are.
- Get support. There are always people to help you. Research the information. Vet and also go with your ‘gut’ instinct when investing with people providing training. Find out their backstory, as with our work/business history it will also highlight our transferable skills.
- Ask questions. If we need to understand a particular industry or even try a change of lifestyle, speak to people who have done it. For example, I have interviewed people who have taken what some may call the ‘big leap,’ quitting their seemingly comfortable life, sometimes downscaling. They may share with you the realities. You can sometimes be a ‘work shadow.’
- Become a salesperson. Find your style of presenting your best self. Not a gimmicky version that makes you feel uneasy, as people will be picking up this vibe. You can only play yourself very well. You can begin by looking at your big why, and writing your own backstory.
In part two, I examine options closely to jumpstart with redesigning your work lifestyle. I hope that you have enjoyed the read. I would love to hear your experiences below.
If you would like to book a discovery consultation to discuss burn out and get support, you can book a session here.