That holiday feeling

Today I want to talk about holidays. They’re great, aren’t they? Aren’t they? Well, they used to be.

For me, when I started work, I was actually really good about work/life separation. When I went on holiday, I went on holiday and I had great fun. Then you’d come back and you’d have that holiday feeling and that would carry you through the rest of the year, wouldn’t it? 

As I got further up in the organisation and into more senior positions, had more responsibilities, was doing more stuff and running more programs, then my relationship began to change. It got complicated. 

You see, I began to realise that if I was going to go away for two weeks, that meant I had two weeks of full on work before I went away to try and get everything lined up and everybody ready and prepared to carry on with things whilst I was away. Then when I got back, I had another week of ploughing through all the emails and finding out what hadn’t happened, making those things happen and getting everything back on track again.

That sort of took the edge off it a bit. Plus, with all the extra pressure, it wasn’t quite as relaxing any more. For a start, I’d be absolutely knackered, so I’d spend the first couple of days just sleeping and recovering. Then for most of the first week I’d still be tense and stressed and it would take time to unwind. It would be the second week before I started to really enjoy the holiday. Then a couple of days or so before we’d come back, I’d start thinking about work again and that stress and tension would start to return even before I got back. I started to wonder, what’s the point of going away at all?

I remember one occasion, I came back after two weeks, and I was running a number of projects at the time, and I found out that when I got back absolutely nothing had happened on any of them. Not a thing. I was so disappointed, I can’t tell you how disappointing that was. That holiday spirit didn’t last very long at all. 

You get into this cycle of slaving your guts out so that you can go and enjoy the holidays and then you can’t enjoy them because you’re too tired and stressed but you carry on, don’t you, because you think, “Well, what else can I do? The family enjoyed them and I get some enjoyment out of them, I suppose, and there’s no other options.”

That’s what I thought back then, but actually that’s not the case today. There’s lots of options, there’s lots of things that you can do to create a different life and a different career. It can be fun all the time not just fun for a little bit of those holidays you’ve worked so hard for.

If that’s something that you think you’d like to explore, talk about, then get in touch and we can have a chat.

Otherwise, if you are going on holiday, well try and have a good time, won’t you? I’ll see you  on the next video when you get back.

Your job may be killing you

I’ve got a really simple message for you today: your job may be killing you. 

You think I’m joking, don’t you? But I’m really not. It’s the stress that we all suffer, particularly in those toxic workplaces, that actually causes the problems. 

You see, we know that stress leads to chronic illnesses. We also know that that sort of continuous low level stress you get from bullying, constant demands, always having to be on call, that sort of stuff, always feeling on edge, that’s really bad for you as well.

It’s not just the really heavy stress, you see, but that low level stuff keeps your cortisol levels up because it’s continually triggering your fight-or-flight response. Cortisol is fine when you need to run away or fight a lion, but it’s supposed to go out of your body fairly quickly. If it’s maintained at a continual low level, then that’s going to make you really, really unwell.

You sort of know this, don’t you? Don’t you feel a bit jaded and run down and in desperate need of a holiday every now and then?

It’s not just the stress, though, is it? Because the consequences of stress are that we don’t look after ourselves properly. We don’t exercise, we don’t eat well, perhaps drink too much or do other things that really aren’t good for us. I certainly know that when I was in my corporate career, towards the end when things weren’t very great, I was not in great shape at all. That, of course, only increases the chances of ill health.

As well as not looking after yourself properly and being assailed by the direct physical effects of stress, if you’re not in a job that you find rewarding and fulfilling and that’s helping you to grow, well, your soul’s dying a little every day too, isn’t it? We’re not put on this planet just to tick over and keep going. 

So you really want to think about what’s the cost of staying in that “cushy” corporate job?

We become a bit inured to it and we get tolerant of the level of stress but it’s still having that damage upon us. A guy called Jeffrey Pfeffer has just written a book called ‘Dying For A Paycheck’ and he’s gone into this in some detail, and concluded that, yeah, jobs are killing us.

He was asked in an interview what he learnt from writing that book, and his rather worrying conclusion was, “It’s a lot worse than I thought it was.”

So I want you to ask yourself today …
You’re probably sitting there thinking, “Yeah, well, okay, stress is part of what you have to have, it’s just how it is, it’s what you get used to.”
But how bad is it really? What is the real cost that you’re paying for putting yourself in that situation every day?

Maybe it’s time to think of a way of taking yourself out of that toxic environment and doing something for yourself.

I’m not saying that’s going to be an easy path, but it’s unlikely to be the slow death that you’re finding yourself suffering from at the moment. So if that’s something you’d like to talk about, then jump on the website, get my details, and get in touch. Otherwise, I’ll see you on the next video.