New Year, New Work Identity

Posted on January 17, 2017 by Melva L. Jones, Director
Melva L. Jones, Director

New Year, New Work Identity data-lightbox='featured'

For many, the New Year is a time to reboot, rejuvenate, and reset from all of those delicious high calorie holiday indulgences. Bread pudding anyone? Or my personal favorite, homemade macaroni and cheese. But I digress...

Personally, I like to approach the New Year with a sense of gratitude, intention, and purpose. My sense is that when we approach our work with these characteristics, as well as an optimistic attitude; it becomes easier to find joy in work, authentic relationships begin to develop, and laughter is par for the course. Below are three suggestions on how to reboot your work life this New Year.

1. Get Out of Your Own Way – While on vacation, I met with a conference planner with seven years of experience. She shared with me that she felt in a rut because her event was no longer innovative. As I listened to her, I came to the realization that she had a mental block against her own capabilities despite her years of experience. She did a tremendous job of convincing herself that she was unable to make changes due to her leadership team, funding, and the organization's desire 'to do things the way they have always been done' (basically, insert any excuse here and this could be you or someone you know.). What should have been a 30 minute discussion ended up being a productive three hour brainstorming session about how to guide her colleagues through a conversation about changing their conference.

My point is that sometimes despite all of the other changes we may make in our lives in the spirit of the   'new year,' we fall into the trap that the 'old way' is the same as the new way and wonder why we are       tired, bored, or disinterested in our work. We begin to get burnt out and guess what? Your colleagues       notice this disposition. Get out of your head and do something different, which may mean stepping out     of your comfort zone. The stretch is restorative and feels amazing.

As for the conference planner I mentioned above, she recently sent me an email indicating she has a         meeting next week with her leadership team to share her ideas. I know she is headed in the right             direction, but if nothing else, she feels rejuvenated about her work and has a renewed confidence in her   capabilities.

2. Self-Care – Last year, another survey came out that event planners rank in the top five most stressful careers. It is not surprising to know that many planners struggle with burnout, obesity, depression, and anxiety.  (For those of you considering event planning, I promise it doesn't have to be this way and there are many great and energizing things about the work.) Many event planners give everything to their work and at the end of the day/event are left drained and craving something sweet, salty, and unhealthy to eat. I know that professional fatigue is not unique to event planning.

As you approach 2017, decide that you - yes 'you' matter more than anything else and actively incorporate self-care into your workday. This could look like bringing lunch in, taking a lunch break away from your desk, taking an afternoon stroll, meditating for 10-20 minutes, committing to a workout routine, listening to a podcast while sifting through receipts, launching a health related challenge to your colleagues or not taking work home every night. When you practice self-care as a core piece of how you work, your work product is always better.

3. Get a Village -  Last year, I had a conversation with someone who left USA for another professional opportunity.  Immediately after starting this new job, they were unhappy because in her words, 'everyone just did the work and there was no sense of community and support.'

While I believe that it is important to stay focused at work, having a 'work village' makes the stress of work become more manageable. I encourage everyone to find a person they can talk with or to become someone that people want to talk with. Your village shows up with encouraging messages, events, birthdays, or in my case when you are not feeling your best (shout out to my dynamic team. I adore the OSE ladies.) If someone ever asks you the question: "Does someone at work care about you as a person?" - you can emphatically answer, "yes!" (and ensure others around you can too.)

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