Ever get that feeling of sheer panic come over you and not really understand at what point it all got so stressful?
As many of you know, last year I moved home to England after eight months in Italy, quit the family business (and my inheritance in the process) and moved to London to start work in the City, managing a small team of (now) lovely people.
So I got a job I thought I’d quite like, turning around an under performing team and making it a success. That was July.
By September, I was ready to walk out.
My managers didn’t have a clue about what I was trying to do or what our priorities were and I was working 15 hour days for no thanks and still not getting done what I needed to. I was not my happiest.
So what happened between July and September?
Slow onset panic – that’s what.
This is totally a term I just made up, but I think it fits pretty well with what happened and what I was feeling.
Things just seemed to creep up on me. One minute I was doing OK, then I suddenly realised I was trying to do way more than physically possible and couldn’t see a way out.
That’s when the tears started. Random tears, angry tears. Never in work, and never when anyone could see me, but I did feel sorry for myself when I was alone.
I became irritable, which didn’t help my trying to get my team back on track, and was less able to transmit the ‘corporate’ message – simply because I thought it was a load of cr&p.
The biggest thing that got me though was feeling alone. Despite being able to talk to friends, I didn’t really want to. They couldn’t help so why share my stress with them? However, I now realise that it was that feeling that actually got me through it and out the other side.
Want to know what happened?
I realised that I hated feeling panicked all the time. It was not fun. In fact, it sucked and was not helpful in me doing my job well.
So I quick being panicked. I quit being stressed.
I stood up for myself, and my team and made it very clear what I was trying to achieve and why, and why my way was right and management’s way was wrong.
And subjected myself to the thought that I might get fired.
I think I very nearly was. However, they saw that I was being logical and gave me a chance to do things my way. I now have the best performing team in the company (over 200 contracts with ours being the most difficult).
What you can learn from my stress:
It’s not worth it. When I decided to be straight up and tell my manager exactly what I thought, I knew it could go one of two ways. I accepted that. I accepted it because being fired was a better option than continuing in the current situation. Think about your health and peace of mind. If you’re not happy or healthy, whatever you’re doing probably isn’t worth it.
Stand up for yourself. I cannot and will not say this enough – you have to take responsibility for your own life. There is absolutely no point sitting in the same place complaining about what’s going on. You have to go out there and do something to change it or quit wasting energy moaning about it – no-one cares. I knew I had a choice, I just had to get the courage to exercise it. Maybe you have to hit rock bottom before it forces you to decide, but I hope, for your sake, you’ll decide sooner rather than later.
That might not have been the fluffy ending you were hoping for but it needed saying. I lasted all of two weeks before telling my manager what I thought. I wish I could have told her on the first day. If you’ve been feeling panicky for more than a month you really need to take action. It’s a sucky feeling and it’s not going to magically get better on it’s own. You only have one life – make sure you make the most of it!
If this rang true for you and you want some help feeling less stressed, why not sign up for my free members only section of the website where there’s a growing toolbox of practical stuff to help you through? You’ll also get weekly updates by email so you won’t miss anything!