Returning to work
In a time where you could sell your house if you wanted to but not see your family in your own home, does it also feel at odds for you to be returning your children to school or even returning to work right now?
It’s a bizarre time currently and I’m wondering how lock-down has affected your views on the job that you do and also the views that you hold about your company?
In a previous life I worked for all different sizes of company and the best fits for me personally, were where I didn’t have to compromise my ethics and individual morals for the sake of the company. I raise this specifically because it sits well with what we therapists might call the organismic self. A bit of a mouthful, right? But essentially this means our true self: the one we experience inside, internally and privately. It is considered as the most authentic version of ourselves. If this matches up with what we have to/ need to put out in our world version of ourselves then fantastic! You’ll generally experience less stress, less mental health concerns and live a satisfying life because your external life lets you reflect your inward moral compass.
Say you haven’t got that going on, say for example, that your employer is renowned for taking risks, not planning ahead and compromises on health and safety and the quality of your working environment in order to save money. They have the mantra that the customer is always right, but forget that you need happy staff to serve those customers. Does this sound familiar?
Inside you may be worried about returning to work in the current climate, you many think PPE will be scarce and, in your experience, social distancing for many at work simply used to mean not turning up to the office party. Can you see here that your internal worries about your own safety are not matched by the measures you feel will be put in place by your employer, or you feel that they will be sub-standard. There’s a mismatch.
What can you do to alleviate your fears?
- Check your inbox- look for confirmation about returning to work and make a plan.
- Call your boss; find out the timeline for your return. Making assumptions without evidence can cause anxiety and fear too. Make sure you get all the information you need to make an informed decision. If not knowing or the unknown is problematic for you, then go and know! Go find out the answers rather than waiting in limbo.
- Check your employer has supplied you with a list of measures that they have enforced prior to your return. If they haven’t sent you any then chase them up.
- Weigh-up if you think they have put enough in place for you to return with some level of comfort. We can’t avoid 100% of the risk right now but make sure that you satisfied with what they have committed to provide you with.
- Have an alternative method of transport in mind if you usually use public transport.
- Consider childcare arrangements if necessary, and put these in place.
- Check-in with how you feel about returning to work- pay attention to those thoughts, feelings and emotions because they are trying to tell you something.
- If your job caused you long-term stress previously and you can recall many instances of an internal mismatch for you against external demands, then consider if you want this to be part of your career or not- does this working way of life suit you or not?
- Put YOU first, if there is an argument for you to continue to work from home for longer and you do not feel safe to return to work yet, then express this. Your safety and health are extremely important. A good employer will take on board your views and listen to them. If they do not, then consider the impact of their ignorance- again, is this job for you?
- If, overall, want to leave your job then dig out that CV and make a start on your profile statement- sell yourself in a paragraph describing all the qualities and skills that you possess.
- If moving jobs seems as scary as returning to work then draw up a list of pros and cons- visually reviewing lists can help the magnitude of problems or solutions sink in. It takes something intangible and makes the issues real. There can also be fear in this too- but if the fear of making it real, is less than the fear of returning to a job you do not like or an environment that is going to induce anxiety then it’s better to use the fear to realise, in order to harness that motivating energy to do something about it.
If all of this seems too much right now and you are struggling with clarity about your job, returning to work or the lock-down in general then I can help you work through your concerns.
You may only need one session to get your thoughts in order and implement your actions, equally, you may need more support than this too; both options are valid and both are appropriate to different kinds of clients.
You don’t have to make big decisions alone and we can find out what is best for you by working at your pace.