Have you been binging Christmas movies yet this year? Is the common theme that someone is running from their demanding corporate job resonating differently this year?
In the one I just watched, a demanding boss asked a young, handsome man to turn in a project on Christmas Day. And on that Christmas Day, the handsome young man’s dad had a heart attack. Thankfully, his son saved him with CPR.
When the demanding boss called his cell phone while standing in the hospital parking lot, he firmly announced, “I quit.”
As an executive coach immersed in my client's stories, this isn’t too far from non-fiction.
I have real stories of heart attacks from stress; many asked to work unrealistic hours to complete projects without enough staff.
I’ve helped clients study their scenario and build viable recommendations only to take them to their executive to hear they can’t make the necessary changes to push back expectations or timelines to prevent them and their team from burning out. In most situations, unrealistic expectations come from executives who are too far removed from the work and unwilling to listen to concerns. Statements like, we’ll have to ‘figure it out.” leave people feeling hopeless and bitter, not the emotion necessary for innovation and creative thinking.
One client in a new role finds herself with back-to-back meetings stacked on the calendar each day and more meetings about additional urgent projects being double booked by demanding leaders, leaving them to choose between the work they had planned or the next crisis timeline.
Some companies no longer honor a lunch hour. We have a client’s termination celebratory champagne party next week. Because being released from a toxic work environment with severance feels like a Christmas miracle. These are smart, talented leaders respected by their teams who sincerely desire to impact the business positively but simply are playing a game they can’t win. I’m happy to report this client already has another job from someone who knows their value.
The future of work won’t be a refresh of old patterns and problems. Our global society has spent their post-2020 years recovering from trauma and reflecting on what matters most.
The prove yourself and work harder moniker of success has expired. We’ll spend a few more years in the turmoil of the change while competing priorities of life and work remain in a battle.
Please spend this holiday season thinking about who you are and the value you provide and building your conviction to stand up for what you deserve in life. The future of work will be designed by your demands and expectations for yourself. Well-being isn’t a Christmas miracle; it’s a human right. Change the work, change the world, making money ought to feel better.