With a return to in-person work in the office, a lot of us are feeling immense anxiety. Let’s try to break down the root of where that anxiety may be coming from, to see what we can learn from it. Let’s help you uncover why you’re feeling the way you are and of course, what to do about it.
Are you dreading the commute? Are you anxious about being in the office all day?
- What it could mean: For many of us, remote work has become something we have come to love and thrive in. It is possible this new way of living is just up your alley, and that’s okay!
- What to do about it: Consider if you’d be happy doing a hybrid of in person and remote work (and what balance you’re okay with), or if you’d prefer to work fully remotely (which is okay!). Then, explore whether it is feasible to bring this up to your manager. The time is NOW to voice opinions and concerns about this to see what is feasible as things are changing. It is possible your company has already put up a new rigid policy and/or won’t budge on your preferences, in which case, you want to consider how strong this feeling and desire is for remote work, and consider finding a purely remote role.
Are you dreading seeing your colleagues? Are you dreading revisiting the company culture?
- What it could mean: The environment and culture of a team or company is an underrated element on our overall job fulfillment. Aligning with the values and personality of the company and those around you can make or break how you feel day to day.
- What to do about it: Decide if your team is the killer here, or if it is the company at large. If its just the team or manager, is there another team/manager with a better culture you would be happy joining? Unfortunately, culture is a really difficult thing to change. So if you’re not vibing or thriving in your company’s environment, it may be time to explore finding a new company and culture fit where you can be yourself.
Are you dreading the work you need to be doing? Are you feeling generally unfulfilled?
- What it could mean: Consider three separate parts to any work experience: role, industry, and environment. Ask yourself: is it the day to day responsibilities that I’m not aligned with and/or is it the company mission that doesn’t intrigue me? You want to find a role where you align with the style of the work, feel challenged, and care about the work’s impact. With the company, you want to believe in the mission, purpose, and output of what that company does, who it helps, and why. Either the role, industry, and/or environment, could be levers for you to uncover which area needs room for improvement.
- What to do about it: If you need some clarity on the best fit role or industry for you, pursue career exploration. Career exploration is a process that is distinct from and a precursor to the job search, including a series of steps of practical learning and self-reflection in order to compare, contrast, and clarify which career path you are confident in pursuing (role, industry, and environment). Then, you can determine if you can make a move internally or if you want to job search to find a new role elsewhere. Give yourself the opportunity to uncover what path is a great fit for you, and find support to ease the search. Recognize that it is feasible to find a path that aligns and challenges you. 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, so let’ s look to them to figure out how they found and pursued a path that aligned so well with them.
The important thing to realize is to always listen to yourself. If you’re having any feelings, understand where they are really coming from, how strong that feeling is, and if its having an effect on you, explore potential solutions. You deserve nothing less. Often, in careers, we brush aside our feelings or delay acting on them, only to realize weeks, months, or years later that we’re miserable. Remember that you can explore support from peers, mentors, or coaches to at least sort through how you feel and consider ideas or next steps you’d feel confident and comfortable with, before taking any action.