Working in the communications industry can be stressful. You might not spot it at the time but it can creep up and bite any of us if we’re not careful. How we manage this, and what we plan with our future careers, is going to be tackled in a series of posts by a new Panel Writer for comms2point0. Here’s the first post…
by Panel Writer Marcus Grodentz
So it was about three in the afternoon on a Tuesday and I was sitting in the spa pool at the gym.
In the past this was about the time when stress levels would start to rise. In my local government days Tuesday was staff briefing day.
The senior management team had met in the morning and I had to get an ‘all staff’ briefing note out by the end of the day.
The problem was that I often needed colleagues in other departments to provide me with information.
As all comms people will know that is easier said than done. I was convinced that many worked in an alternate reality where even using the name and rank of the Chief Executive provoked a mere raise of an eyebrow and an indifferent response.
I had the added pressure of a line manager who would use the flimsiest of excuses to berate me and the rest of the comms team.
This ranged from a ‘typo’, to the failure to get out the staff briefing on time regardless of the reason and everything in between.
So Tuesday afternoons were just one of the stress points in the working week of the head of comms in a city council.
Believe me there were many, many others.
So I would ‘bust a gut’ to get out the briefing note. Many staff just consigned it straight to the trash bin. Doubtless they were the ones who later complained about not being told anything.
Others would complain it was too brief. Some would complain it was too long.
One thing was for certain.
You could hardly ever please anyone – ever.
Everyone was an expert when it came to communications.
Did that trouble me?
I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be taken seriously. I wanted to be seen as the professional that I was.
Now having taken voluntary redundancy a few years back and started a new career as a Life Coach that all seems far away – and very unimportant.
The question you have to ask yourself is – who are you trying to be? And are you trying to be that person for yourself, or are you trying just to please others?
Certainly all the things that I used to think were so vitally important – seen now from a distance - are far less so.
After a 40 year career in local government I used to worry myself sick about what I would do if I had to leave my job.
My job was all consuming and ‘was all I knew.’
But the reality is that we know far more than we think. We don’t know what we know.
But I can tell you that you can be true to yourself. You don’t have to spend your life trying to please others. You are an ‘expert.’
More importantly for those facing an uncertain future – and we have all done that for a big chunk of our local government lives – there is a life outside.
So I can now plan my week around what I want to do. At the age of 65 I have started a new life and a new business.
And that means if I want to on a Tuesday afternoon I can sit in the spa pool and just chill.
pic via Flickr creative commons