Posts tagged: On the job

5 ways to catch burnout before it catches you


Long before it became a common part of the workplace lexicon (or modern life, for that matter!), the term “burnout” was most associated with physics.

Here’s how Oxford defines it: “The reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion.”

Of course, it’s more common now to hear burnout used alongside words like fatigue, exhaustion, or collapse. But the original definition might be the best one — we can all relate to the image of our personal energy literally being reduced to nothing through overexertion and constant burning.

Burnout is everywhere

You don’t have to be in a stressful office environment to suffer from burnout; it can stem from home life, constant social interactions or obligations, the political climate, or even social media.

Now consider how blurry the lines between personal and professional have gotten or think about how technology has made it feel like we’re always on the
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The difference between being busy and being productive


It’s easy to be busy. You’re probably busy right now! And depending how your busyness manifests itself, you might be reading this while eating a piece of a toast or walking down a sidewalk or having a conversation with someone. (If you’re doing all of these things at once, please feel free to stop reading, you are a wizard and we can do nothing for you.)

Busyness can be many things — checking email, looking up next week’s weather, obsessively keeping up with the news, seeing if airfare to Minneapolis has gotten any cheaper yet. Busyness can look like productivity, it can feel like productivity, it might even enable productivity, but busyness can never be productivity. If productivity is a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, then busyness is a generic imitation brand with a name like Allspice Bread Crisps.

The difference between productivity and busyness

The key difference is that busyness is easy
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How to make the perfect soundtrack for your life


Planning weddings can be stressful, and one of the most fraught parts of planning my own recent wedding was choosing which song would play during our first dance. (We eventually went with “Razor Love” by Neil Young). 

That’s because music is important. Even in much lower stakes scenarios than weddings, music simultaneously sets the mood and communicates the significance of whatever’s happening. The wrong music can make a task impossible — imagine trying to fall asleep to heavy metal — while the right song at the right time can make a moment magical and a party come alive.

So that all said, how should you go about DJing your day? How should your soundtrack change to suit all of your diverse activities?

Waking up

In my own life, I’m what’s not always affectionately referred to as a “morning person.” I generally greet the day with a smile on my face (so long as I
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How to battle impostor syndrome


In my practice as a coach and social worker, the most common confession clients share is that they think they’re a failure or a fraud. “Why are other people so self-assured while I struggle with constantly feeling inadequate?” they think.

This feeling of inadequacy followed one of my clients, Mandi, to work and was beginning to hold her back in her career. By all outward standards, Mandi is successful. She has multiple college degrees, a well-paying job, and was recently promoted to a management position.  

Yet nearly every day she goes to battle with her inner critic, the voice in her head that says she’s not good enough or smart enough. She worries that someday soon she’ll finally be exposed as unqualified for her job. In an attempt to control her fear, she’ll stay up all night perfecting projects before submitting them. Even though her team praises her work, Mandi is
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How to negotiate a power struggle at work


Power struggles personify the worst kind of office politics. They sap energy. Distract from purpose. And hold the potential to derail success and happiness.

It’s the rare individual who actually enjoys a power struggle. Most of us want to do what we’re paid for, joke around with our colleagues, and feel like we’ve contributed.

That’s not so easy when emotions are running high. Empathy is replaced with an “us or them” mentality that can quickly escalate. Then we’re stuck either dodging bullets or picking sides. What other choice do we have?

The heart of the struggle

Power often evokes the image of a corner office where people in expensive suits lay down the law for the rest of us. But the reality is, power — and the fight for it — can come from anywhere.

To help us understand workplace struggles, and how to respond to them, we asked our colleague Sara Kalick
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5 ways to banish the work blahs


We’ve all been there: in a job to which we’ve resigned ourselves. “It’s good enough,” we tell ourselves, and we try to focus on the positive. But we just can’t shake that weighed-down feeling.

Whatever the cause of your work ennui, we’ve put together five ways to help you feel better:

  1. Make something right now (artistic ability not required).
    When you’re feeling powerless at work, or in any aspect of your life, making something is a great way to boost your energy and confidence. Things you can make include: a cake, a journal entry, a garden, a website, an article that you publish on LinkedIn, a drawing, a Spotify playlist, or a collage. Have fun, and don’t judge the results — they aren’t the point. The point is to have fun (yes, fun! Remember that?) and to enjoy the sense of agency you get from making something. Now imagine
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If I have to spend one more minute with this person, I might scream!


annoying coworker

We all have “that” person at work, that annoying coworker with an uncanny ability to get under our skin — even make the environment feel toxic. Whether it’s the office know-it-all or a passive-aggressive button-pusher, every interaction makes our blood boil.

Unfortunately, dodging them in the hallways or fantasizing that they’ll get fired only works for so long. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face them. (Sound of sad trombone.)

The good news is, it’s possible to feel better. The harder news is, doing so is up to you. It’s not enough to behave impeccably despite someone acting horribly; your reactions to them are making you unhappy. So it’s time to change your reactions.

Here are six things you can do to keep “that person” from ruining your day
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How I changed careers (and found work that is truer to my nature)


Rachel Cohen is a licensed New York social worker, freelance writer, and Fordham grad. She currently works at the Association of Community Employment (ACE), assisting the homeless population in finding full-time jobs. She loves writing about social work, self-care, mental health, and vocational development.

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For the last three years that I worked as a digital editorial director, I loathed not only my job, but also my career. “Loathed” is a pretty strong word, but it’s accurate. I felt dread at the first hint of my alarm clock every day. What’s worse, I felt despair every night, thinking that I was powerless and that this feeling would never end.

Depressed, I tried to eat away my problems — my typical solution — which led to major weight gain. I was sick and lethargic, often from the stress.

I didn’t have the nerve to quit, and instead I fantasized about getting
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Job search: Get the confidence you need right now


Job search

It’s time for a new job. About that you’re certain.

What’s less certain is that you’ll land a good one, especially with all the what-ifs swirling in your head.

What if I’m going in the wrong direction? What if I can’t find the same salary level? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if the new job is worse than my old one? What if they make me take a test? What if? What if? What if?

Stop.

Ask yourself a new question: What can I do right now?

Looking for a new job dredges up a lot of pesky (and persistent) feelings of insecurity. We spend time imagining the worst instead of preparing for the best. To regain your confidence and hang onto it, you need to put aside distracting uncertainties (which, by the way, don’t help get anything done) by focusing on the actions you can take.

Start by tackling these three
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What goes wrong when you’re always right


What goes wrong when you're always right

Stuck Moment: His strategy is wrong, I just know it. But when I explain it to him, he doesn’t seem to want to hear it  — no matter how much I insist. I don’t understand why people won’t listen for their own good. It’s not my fault if I’m right.

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Seeing things that others don’t can put us in an awkward place. We want — or need — to prove our point, and yet somehow this makes us the bad guy. And that just doesn’t compute: Being right = good, not bad, right?

Not always.

Yes, contribute to the conversation, but be mindful of how. We humans, after all, can be a prickly lot. And one red-hot button is when someone regularly tells us we’re wrong. We start to feel devalued. Perhaps unworthy. Definitely annoyed.

The consequence of being that righty-pants, no matter how good your intention, is that
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