Are sales easy or difficult to work with

What to do if the job simply can't be done?

The product manager at a television station was genuinely desperate, ashamed of his supposed incompetence, and at the end of his life. There were more than 1,000 unprocessed emails in his Outlook mailbox. He feared the "status meetings" with his boss, where one unfinished project after another was discussed. He felt dead tired all the time, even after his vacation, and that when he was in his mid-thirties. He was by no means lazy, but the work just couldn't be done: Nothing done, and yet more and more.

In fact, this situation is not that rare. In the 1990s, people would have been advised to set priorities and divide their time better (typical book tip: "More time for the essentials"). In the 2000s one would have thought that simplification would result in moments of happiness ("Simplify your life"). In the 2010s meditation and mindfulness were added ("Search inside yourself"). The problem: Today everyone is "optimized". The calendars condensed, the bus or train journey to work already filled with e-mails and Excel tables on the laptop, the cell phone full of productivity apps. So what to do

In my opinion, this phenomenon is a result of the "goal-oriented" leadership that came into fashion a few years ago: The employee is given a goal and the freedom to achieve it in his own way - but also, more or less binding, the obligation to do so . This can work well if someone is able to organize himself well and the workload and resources roughly match. The employee must also be able to realistically assess what he can achieve himself and under the given circumstances. Above all, however, he must be able to say "no" and be able to live with the fact that he then has an angry or disappointed boss, angry or stressed colleague in front of him.

In some companies, this management style has developed rather unplanned from the fact that over the years more and more work has been distributed among fewer and fewer colleagues. "That will be possible," said the manager, "it used to be possible too." It is not uncommon for there to be no malevolence behind it. B. Lack of knowledge in detail and also overestimation of how much technical solutions ("But you now have the new system!") And external resources ("Then call our service center in Warsaw") help. Other companies have deliberately set up a complex system of annual, quarterly and monthly targets, not infrequently supposedly "voluntarily", but still compulsory and linked to a flexible salary.

Who can handle such a thing well? Someone who would also find something elsewhere and approach the overload with athletic ambition, but at the same time with a certain distance. When something doesn't work, it's annoying, but not the end of the world. Who even breaks sometimes? Someone whose workload and resources do not go together at all, who perhaps rightly fears that they will not find another job anywhere else so quickly, feels bound by debts and children and finds it difficult to reject claims and leave their counterpart to his annoyance instead of feeling responsible and guilty for it. In these cases, some recommendations to escape the overload again.

Find the right exposure for yourself

In every department, no matter how "efficient" it appears, there are employees with the most varied of work ethics and views of how much they want to do themselves. Some people stand at the door every day, exactly to the minute when the official end of work, with their jackets at the door and say goodbye. Others are still at the computer at 11 p.m. and prepare for the new work week on Sundays. Between these extremes, find the strain that's right for you - allow yourself to be your own benchmark. If you are not feeling well, or even really bad, you should start doing something right now.

Find relaxation wherever you can

Those who are terribly exhausted do not make good decisions and in the medium term work under their own capabilities. So in any case, make sure to recover as best you can. Go to bed early and don't be the first to get to the office. Do moderate exercise, go for a walk or go to the sauna - whatever is good for you. You are unlikely to be able to get yourself out of the mountain of work through a special short-term effort. So strengthen yourself - physically and mentally. The latter also includes time together with your partner, with children, friends and even animals.

Don't let yourself be put under too much pressure

Even if most companies emphasize that such goals were agreed voluntarily and discussed together in advance - of course this is not entirely true. They are almost always part of projects that other colleagues build on, and their achievement is rewarded with a bonus, but also praise and criticism and a failure is punished. Nevertheless, do not allow yourself to be put under too much pressure, for example by overzealous bosses who are ruining their own health. Goals are constantly being missed, even by the CEO. Of course, it's good to be ambitious and want to achieve something. But it will go on in other ways too.

Avoid rash escapes

A tempting and later often regretted way out is to take permanent sick leave or to quit without thinking about anything new. Sometimes this is actually the only way out and, of course, correct in the case of a real illness. It is less favorable to take sick leave or to become unemployed for fear of the boss or because of the flood of unfinished business. You are only temporarily avoiding a problem that you are better off actively solving yourself - often even with in-house support (e.g. HR department, works council, psychologist). So go to work, but with the determination to make your life easier.

Start thinking of alternatives

It may be inconceivable at this moment, but: There is a life outside of your current situation and even company, and it doesn't have to be worse. Of course, after a few years you are used to your current job and many practical concerns are quite normal: Who pays the home loan if the job was gone or if you would earn less elsewhere? Can you risk risks like a probationary period of a new job when you have a family? The way out: think about alternatives - internally (e.g. changing to a less stressful department, part-time) or externally (e.g. changing industry). You can also reduce your personal risks (e.g. cancel a vacation and compensate for overdraft facilities).

Seek professional help if necessary

One of the most important steps is to recognize your own limits. If you notice that you are noticeably getting worse and you are unable to take any action, you should seek professional support without hesitation. This is especially true if you experience addictive behavior (e.g. alcohol against stress, drugs) or struggle with destructive thoughts (e.g. suicidal fantasies). It is not a shame to seek help, but an extremely wise decision.

If you have been at the end of your tether for a few months or even years, it is often time to put an end to a life lie: That it is a little difficult "at the moment", but that the conclusion of this project and the re-filling of those vacancies in the team are all again would do better. Permanent overload, deliberately or unconsciously caused by the company, makes you sick and reduces your quality of life. Show respect for your own needs and make sure that you leave the house with joy in the morning and look back on the day in the evening.

To the author: Attila Albert (46) and his company Media Dynamics have been accompanying media professionals in their professional and personal reorientation for several years. Albert started working as a journalist himself at the age of 17. Initially with the "Freie Presse" in Chemnitz, one of the largest German regional newspapers, later a total of 23 years with Axel Springer, including as head of text and special tasks at the "Bild" federal edition, then as an author at Ringier AG in Zurich. While working, he trained as a coach in the USA and previously completed a three-year web developer degree.

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