The story goes that if a frog is thrown into a pot of boiling water he will have the good sense to jump out. On the other hand, if you put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, he will boil to death. (Please don’t try this at home. I like frogs. I am sure you can verify the veracity of this proposition on the Internet somewhere.)
There are similar effects in the world for things like allergies. You can tolerate many things to which you are theoretically allergic, however, once you hit some predetermined level, you begin sneezing and your tolerance for whatever you are allergic to is temporarily greatly lowered and you will begin sneezing almost immediately when it is introduced. (This is known as your hay fever season.)
The effect I would like to discuss tonight is stress in the work place because it has a lot of elements in common with the above two effects.
When you start a new job, or when you are in a job that is “winding down” or somehow reaching its logical conclusion, your stress level can kind of sneak up on you.
Most of our members tend to move from large companies to smaller ones. The reason is that it is hard to “parachute” in at the top of a larger company because that closes off career tracks. Large companies pride themselves on growing their own.
In the move to a smaller firm several things happen. First, there generally is no senior level staff. You are it. Secondly, the reason a seasoned professional, like a member of The FENG gets hired at a smaller firm is that they have decided to grow up. This means that you have to be available for partnering. They hired you not only to clean up whatever hellacious mess exists, but also because they want to talk to you.
This means in turn that you are often hard pressed to “get anything done” with all the constant interruptions. If you are constantly nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, you aren’t really available for partnering. So, you try to work long hours, just like you used to be able to.
Well friends, none of us are as young as we used to be. And, the long hours can take their toll and increase your stress level. You feel like you are falling farther and farther behind. At some point your fatigue and can make you a little grumpier. Not a good thing to happen when you are supposed to be partnering.
The solution to maintaining your stress level at some tolerable level is to ask for help. During the “honeymoon” period of your new employment, or if you are in a job that is winding down, asking for help will seldom bring you anything but the assistance you require.
Yes, I know it isn’t macho, but it is smart.
Help is actually everywhere. If you need senior level assistance, i.e. projects completed that are on your personal “to do” list, I hope you will call on me and The FECG. (As always, operators are standing by to take your call.)
If it involves less senior level projects, firms such as Robert Half provide quality help to “get the job done.”
And that really is the secret in this world. Typically the boss expects you to get the work done in your areas of responsibility. He probably never said you had to do it all yourself. If you can remove some of the projects from your to do list, it can go a long way to reliving some of the stress you are feeling. You will now be someone with whom everyone wants to partner, and that is more likely to be why you were hired.
The detailed projects in which you have somehow gotten yourself involved certainly have to get done. It is just that you don’t have to do them personally.
Stress can take its toll.
And, of course, we want you to be in a good mood and have the time to network with your fellow FENG’ers who are “in the hunt.”