02 Mar You’re Pooping on Your Own Party
You’ve probably heard the phrase “thoughts become things” before. You may have dismissed it as New Age woo-woo, but there’s a good point to be made. Your mindset is extremely important. Have you ever had a colleague who was burned out and pissed off? Aside from being unpleasant to be around, I doubt they were highly effective and engaged in the job. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but if most of your days feel awful, it’s a sign of trouble.
A few weeks ago, I started coaching a Staffing Manager with burnout. One huge issue is that he was not cultivating genuine cooperation from his clients and candidates. It was like a free-for-all; everyone was doing their own thing. Candidates and clients were cutting him out of his own deals. He even had a contractor who started work behind his back and when he confronted the hiring manager about it, the manager said, “I don’t even remember you. Can you refresh my memory on when exactly we met?” (!!!!!) When I heard that, my jaw dropped. In talking with him about that situation and other similar issues he’d had, I heard:
- “Well, I mean, some clients are just gonna be jerks, I guess. I’d assume it’s like a 50/50 split between people who are good to deal with and follow the rules versus jerks who are gonna be a total problem.”
- “Once upon a time, this was my dream job. Now it’s more like my personal hell.”
- “I really don’t like dealing with uncooperative people but, like, I can’t see any other way. If I didn’t deal with the jerks, I’d hardly have any business anymore.”
- “I’m starting to feel like I’m cursed. I’ve had so many weird or difficult deals that I wonder if someone has a voodoo doll of me.”
You might be reading that nodding your head because you feel the same way. Or you might be thinking, “Yuck. I feel sorry for that guy. What he’s saying isn’t even true.” (OK, perhaps someone did have a voodoo doll of him, but we’ll assume that’s probably not accurate!)
Your thoughts become things.
This Staffing Manager expected to have a 50/50 ratio of people who follow the rules of engagement versus uncooperative jerks. And that’s what he had. He couldn’t see any way to run his desk with ONLY cooperative, committed clients and forthright candidates. As his burnout increased, the ratio was actually getting worse. He had turned on his LinkedIn “open to new opportunities” button and he was haunting Indeed every day. So I asked him, “If you leave your current company and go somewhere else, what do you think will be different?” He paused for a moment and replied, “Maybe they will already have a database of existing clients that will be easier to work with and I can plug in at a place where things are better.” I asked, “Have you done this before? Could this be a pattern?” Sheepishly, he admitted that he came to his current company after experiencing the same thing at another firm. The common denominator in all of that was him.
Wherever you go, there you are.
Job hopping and hoping for a miracle is probably not the best solution. More than likely, you will end up creating the same issues at the new company that you sought to escape at the old one. If you believe that the only way to operate a business or a desk is to spend your day at the mercy of other people, that belief will follow you wherever you go. Speaking of which, it is vital to know that you can create exactly the kind of business or desk that you want. Hunting for some agency that has magical leads and a Paradise-on-Earth business culture sounds like a fool’s errand to me. Some firms will hand you a couple of warm introductions to help you get started and after that, you’re on your own. You have to know that ideal prospects who genuinely want to interact with you are out there– and not secretly tucked away in whatever agency responded to the resume you posted on Indeed out of frustration.
Are you suffering from burnout? Are you limited by beliefs that you must work with jerks in order to make any money at all? Let’s talk about it.