Tag: happiness

#31 “My Employer is Taking Advantage of Me”

September 25th, 2020 by

It was bad enough you felt connected to your job 24/7 prior to COVID-19, thanks to work cell phones. You could not have imagined how much worse the lines would blur. With most professionals working from home, work-life boundaries are muddled as you bitterly realize, “My employer is taking advantage of me.”

It’s Just the Way Things Are

Post #29 summarized an eye-opening interview I recorded with Stephanie Slocum, Career Coach at Engineers Rising. She asked riveting questions about employment and layoffs that people like you want to know the answers to. I offered my insights about job security, worthiness, people-pleasing, work identity vs self-identity, and other impactful topics.

The most common topic people ask me about since the interview is, “My employer is taking advantage of me. It’s just the way things are. How do I say no?”

Some of you are working 12+ hours/day while struggling to complete assigned tasks and take care of a household. You may receive emails throughout the evening with an unreasonable expectation to complete requests by the morning. The examples are numerous, but many people believe this is the way things are. When the employer says jump, your brain is programmed to ask how high.

When you have bought into the mentality that this is the way things are, it is highly likely you will not question the system. It is highly likely you will not push back, and you begrudgingly continue to burn out.

Saying No

You may not realize that setting work boundaries and diplomatically pushing back is an option. It may sound too foreign a concept, especially if you tell yourself you cannot afford to be unemployed.

The reasons to avoid saying no or pushing back include, “My reputation might be damaged; I don’t have a choice; my next raise will be poor; I may be the next to get laid off, etc.”

The option to say no to unreasonable work demands is available to you – it is possible despite the doubts that come up. True, others may snicker or point a finger, and the boss may criticize. But, which is the higher price to pay: the risk of job loss with a disrespectful employer who doesn’t recognize your needs and pushes you over the limit, OR an over demanding life of work that is dedicated to appeasing others’ unrelenting, infinite demands?

Employment is a partnership, not a dependency. Do yourself a healthy, long-term favor by learning the art of saying no.

If you’re a disgruntled, hard-working employee who believes “my employer is taking advantage of me,” I invite you to watch my insightful interview on Youtube. It could be the start of a much-needed, restorative relationship you create with yourself.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#29 Is Happiness the Purpose of Your Job?

August 28th, 2020 by

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stephanie Slocum, Founder of Engineers Rising. Stephanie is an engineer-turned career coach, similar to my path of engineer-turned life coach. We chatted about some of the most pressing issues young engineers face in their careers. I am going to summarize some of the germane points here because so many of you will benefit from this knowledge.

When Management Expects too Much

Many of us believe in the concept of job security and career fulfillment. It’s not our fault; this is the way society grooms us. The first problem with this belief is that there is no such thing as job security. The second problem is that careers don’t fulfill people. Fulfillment comes from within.

The ideas of job security and career fulfillment can be negative motivators. You may feel obligated to work overtime all too often. Or, you may feel the necessity to check your email during evening hours instead of spending time on you. These are the kinds of activities that lead to burnout.

If management knows you are a people-pleaser, you allow them free will to overwork you. If you are afraid to set boundaries or to say no, you might suffer from people-pleasing. The reason you are eager to please is due to insecurities within yourself. I promise, if you can clean up your insecurities, you can confidently learn how to say “No.”

Hard Work Equals Higher Worth

It is no doubt engineers and many technical professionals are very proud. And this is fine, there is nothing wrong with being proud of your occupation. What gets people into trouble, however, is when they cannot separate self-identity from job identity.

Too many professionals equate hard work with worthiness. “If I work harder, I’ll be more worthy” is a common belief. The problem with this belief is that people apply it in an attempt to control the future. If only you work harder, you’ll have a better reputation, make more money and hopefully never fall victim to a RIF.

Hard work does not make you or anyone more worthy (see Post #09). As humans, we are all 100% worthy no matter what. Employment is simply a temporary part of your human experience; it does not define your being as a person.

Job Description does not equal self-description!

The Purpose of Your Job

Your job’s job is not to make you happy. It is not to fulfill your needs. This is a foreign idea to many of you as we have been brought up in a society that teaches us otherwise. Happiness and fulfillment come from within, and it is your own responsibility to create those outcomes for yourself.

If this is so, what is the purpose of your job? The purpose is for you to show up daily, do the best work you can with the knowledge you have, fail along the way, learn from mistakes, and grow yourself. The purpose of your job is to amaze yourself with extraordinary accomplishments. Just as importantly, the purpose of your job is to present challenges and obstacles that evolve you into a higher version as you conquer them one by one.

Did you perform your best today, on your own behalf, given all circumstances? Will you lay your head down tonight knowing you gave it your all? If so, then congratulations, you have realized the purpose of your job.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#23 Life Coaching Misconceptions

June 5th, 2020 by

I do not tell people what to do, I don’t offer advice and I’m not a therapist. Rather, I guide people down the path to discover answers for themselves. Life coaching misconceptions can deter you from this life-changing process; I will discuss two false beliefs.

My purpose as a life coach is to introduce people to themselves. You believe certain things about the world around you; you believe certain things about yourself. I hold up a mirror, ask you to reflect and I take your brain to places it has not been. The purpose of getting coached is that you get out of your own head, expand your myriad opportunities and become grounded so as to think in useful terms (see Post #18). This process transforms you into an emotionally mature, self-confident thinker who makes purposeful decisions. I’d like to clear up two common life coaching misconceptions in an attempt to be transparent with my coaching style. Note, I cannot speak for other life coaches; I speak for my own practice.

Myth 1: “We should be happy all the time.”
Accuracy: There is no good without the bad.

One hundred percent happiness is not an idea that I teach to my clients, nor do I believe it to be true. This is a typical life coaching misconception. In fact, my stance is that there is no good without the bad, there is no great without awful, and there is no happy without the sad. Part of our human experience includes contrast. It is a given that we are going to experience the full spectrum of emotional contrasts during our lives.

What my life coaching offers you is the ability to handle the awful parts of life and enjoy the positives. It teaches you how to think in a self-serving way despite your negative circumstances. You learn how to process emotions. When you understand where your emotions come from, you can use them to your advantage. Emotions are the fuel for our lives. Everything you do and say stems from the emotions stirring up inside you.

Myth 2: “We should set goals and achieve them so we can be happy.” Accuracy: Reward is found in the journey, not the destination.

This life coaching misconception may leave you curious. Our typical society leads most of us to believe achievement is essential to our wellbeing. For example, it’s good to achieve a stellar grade point average, a high salary, a stable job, or a large house because that is what success ‘looks like’. We are fed messages throughout our lives that the achievement of tangibles or intangibles equates to happiness.

I teach my clients that while achievement can be a great thing, it is not the end all be all. This is true because after having achieved that wonderful goal or item, you think about the next one and you are left wanting more. When you derive fulfillment purely from the end achievement, you will never gain long-term satisfaction. Rather, you will be left with another empty void to fill.

The purpose of goals, my friends, is not to achieve happiness. Whether you achieve the goal itself is irrelevant! The purpose is to take yourself on an uncomfortable, demanding, self-discovery with bumps and traps along with way. Strategizing a way through obstacles is what forces you to grow and evolve. The harder the journey, the higher the reward. Achievement of a goal is simply a fun byproduct; the true reward comes from conquering your grueling obstacles.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#12 Fulfilling your WHY

January 3rd, 2020 by

Why do you do what you do, i.e., are you fulfilling your why? I dare you to write down your answers. Do your answers feel good? Perhaps they bring about genuine sadness … or a sense of longing for something more. Maybe your answers are superficial enough that you don’t recognize the person who wrote them.

The Negative Build Up

If fulfilling your why is compatible to, “This is my passion … it is fulfilling … there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing…”, congratulations, you’ve made it! 

However, if your answers are less than thrilling or flat-out depressing, then let’s take action (see Post # 05). Because if you don’t process the negative emotions of feeling stuck, bitter, confused, etc., then you may continue to ignore. When you continue to ignore, the negativity builds and eventually combusts in one form or another.

Reclaim your WHY

Perhaps you can acknowledge you are suppressing your feelings and sweeping them under the rug. Now what? I will offer that you don’t have to change your job (or your circumstances) in order to be happy. This may be a new concept to you. But the source of your unhappiness or negative feelings is not due to your job, your boss or any external entity.

Rather, your ways of thinking, i.e. your beliefs, are causing you to feel negative emotions. It’s tempting to blame your career or an external entity, but the root cause of most problems derives from your belief systems. Blaming external causes for your feelings depletes your wellbeing because it makes you feel powerless.

A significant life coaching lesson to my clients is that the sources of our pain are not other people, our jobs or external circumstances. The source of our emotional pain is due to the way we choose to label the world around us. How do you choose labels, and how do those labels influence your why?

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!

#8 “Where is my Dream Job?”

November 29th, 2019 by

Maybe you’re contently performing your very first professional job. Perhaps you’ve been around the block having worked for many employers under many job titles. Or, you’re somewhere in between. But there’s one thing you’re sure of: someday you will land your dream job.

Fluffy Messaging

Boundless marketing messages feed into the idea that your dream job is awaiting your much anticipated arrival. Colleges love to brag about high job placements for their graduates into happily-ever-after occupations. Social media bombards with promises to help you find your dream job. Recruiters, career coaches and career strategists like to boast about placing people into their dream jobs.

If you noticed, I am referring to your dream job as an ‘idea’ (see Post #17). As mentioned above, this idea is rampant in our society, as if your dream job truly exists (you just have to find it). After all, it sounds completely reasonable, and even expected, that many working professionals feel entitled to that one dream job.

The Reality

What’s the problem with all this fluffy messaging? The problem is that maybe there is no dream job out there. In fact, I would state most professionals I’ve encountered have never found their dream jobs. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some people who do. I’m afraid they are few and far between.

So, if you are on the hunt, if your mission is to find that dream job, you may be searching for a while. The ideal job may not be out there. I’m not wanting to crush your soul or make you feel regret, despite my sounding like a pessimist. Rather, I’m offering a valuable truth that I wish someone would have shared with me. It is a legitimate possibility you’re looking for something that does not exist. 

Which naturally leads you to the next question: “Now what?” You suspect the next best thing may be to find a job that’s close enough to perfect. It is a reasonable and logical guess, but it is not the best long-term solution.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!