Five Realizations to Reduce Career Stress

Maybe I’m wrong, but I firmly believe that the increase in stress levels in today’s worker is in direct correlation with why cancer cases have skyrocketed. And while I understand this truth, I have yet to completely figure out how to reduce work life stress in my own life.

Expectations are high. Everyone I know in a professional work setting is feeling the pressure to beat last year’s numbers, outperform their competition and to make all of it look effortless.

I’ve spent the first couple months of 2018 trying to figure out the balance for my company. I can assure you one thing…it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We’re doing well on Employee Engagement, injecting fun and care into our workplace. I looked at that piece as Step One. Similar to the theory, “happy wife, happy life”, I am convinced if our team is happy, they will take better care of our customers. I’m hopeful my bet is a correct one.

Step two, I anticipate, will be harder. It’s the balance of setting expectations between the team and the client on performance. In my world, that means understanding the urgency around our client’s need to get a position filled and my team’s challenge with finding just that right person in a timely manner. We know talent is tight right now and it takes twice as many calls to find the same number of finalists as it did just three years ago. This task can be exhausting, even for the best of recruiters. But, no excuses..this is what we do.

As stated above, being able to perform effectively and with less stress involves setting expectations early on both sides of the equation. While I know most perfect candidates have a very “God-like” profile, being real about what is available and what isn’t will be key. Also setting deliverable expectations for the team and TRACKING the results weekly will serve to assist in being proactive, not reactive, as it relates to getting any assignment done.

Step three Involves utilizing the right technology tools and/or automation. I first have a confession, this is not anywhere near my core competency. But the one point I will share is I understand and value the differentiation technology plays in the success of an organization. I have learned that delegating this to tomorrow’s leaders, our Millennials, will bring innovations way beyond anything I could or desire to come up with. I’ll stick to my strengths (understanding the talent that can successfully integrate into our client companies) and let the young members of my team help make the decisions around technology (after setting the expectations around budget).

Step four is to execute. We need to not only consistently plan, but to work the plan consistently. Everyone in sales knows it’s a numbers game. If we need to talk to twice as many people, we need to plan our pipeline accordingly. We also need to share the candid feedback we are hearing in the marketplace with our clients. There is no such thing as a perfect company, so understanding how we overcome their challenges in the marketplace will help us to be successful and we can also serve as a great PR resource.

Step five is being calm around the fact that, in the end, it always gets done. We need to enjoy the journey and learn to “lean in” to whatever the events are of the day. We’ve start twice weekly yoga in house to promote wellness, physical fitness and overall relaxation after what is probably another stressful day. Hopefully the family at home is noticing a difference…I know for me it has been great!

My final parting advice. Do SOMETHING. I know I ignored this for years and as I move into my fifties I am no longer willing to have my grave epitaph say, “she worked really hard”. I always will, but I am going to enjoy the ride along the way. I owe it to those around me and to myself.

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