I recently talked with a friend who is going through a corporate reorganization. Although he had previously enjoyed his job, Tom now had to rally his team to meet certain expectations–without the tools to do it. He knows he’s in a no-win situation.
I think about the example of putting a frog in boiling water–where it would immediately jump out. But if you put the same frog in a pot of cold water, then gradually turning up the heat–the frog cooks because it doesn’t realize what’s happening.
It reminded me of my last position in a large global corporation. I’ve always been a loyal and dedicated employee–anxious to do what I can to make any company I worked for successful. As time went on, there were more and more seemingly minor concessions I had to make.
As a manager, I had to support corporate decisions–that was part of my job. Sometimes I had the ability to customize the initiative or decision for my internal customers, but most of the time I had little opportunity to influence changes.
Like the frog who didn’t jump out, I was “cooked” gradually–until my hope for making a difference faded. I was laid off three years ago and have had time to figure out the various elements that created my depression. I can imagine the additional pressures that employees face today–in these tough economic times. Companies are struggling and many times reduce headcount while employees are expected to do more.
If this sounds like you–a first step is for you to look around you and become an observer in your life. Notice your feelings as you go about the day. Identify what brings you down and distressed as well as what brings you joy. Write them down in a notebook or journal.
Identify if there are things that you might be able to influence and change. If you meet up with difficult decisions, writing your feelings can help relieve stress. And, once you know what you enjoy, find ways to incorporate those things every week (if not daily).