Navigating Work Fatigue and Career Uncertainty During a Pandemic

Let me hit you with something obvious – It’s hard to find our calling in life and far too easy to second guess our career path once we have chosen it. Am I right? In these days of curated content, it is so easy to compare ourselves and feel like we’re doing something wrong, that we need to make an immediate change or we won’t live a fulfilled life – talk about an energy-drain. I get it… I’m a millennial. Now throw Covid-19 into that anxiety mix, how is anyone supposed to stay motivated, productive, or have any clarity in the midst of constant change and fear? It’s certainly been hard for me at times.

These days, the only thing I know to be true is that every path is hard, so there’s no benefit in comparing your troubles to their troubles. Instead, try teasing out what you value the most in your current role, or in the career paths you are evaluating and see if that justifies the inevitable hardships. Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed, discussed the idea of finding your calling, and made it seem shockingly simple. During an interview at the Beyond 2020 virtual conference, she instructed listeners to ‘find what breaks your heart, and that’s who you serve’. 

This struck a chord in me. I‘d never heard a more eloquent summary of the emotional connection to your work that is needed to persevere through the hard times. When you are working to serve a group of people or cause that breaks your heart, that makes you actually feel something, it doesn’t matter what that path throws at you, you’ll persevere. Finding the true value in the work that you do is key to accessing the grit you need to get through the long days.

No greater example of this is the millions of nurses, PSWs, dietary, custodial and management staff working in LTC throughout this pandemic.  What they have done, and continue to do for the 8th consecutive month is only possible because of the heartbreaking idea of what could happen if they didn’t. Didn’t show up, didn’t problem solve, didn’t innovate. By looking at them we see what is possible when you put your heart into your work.

So, my advice to you, dear reader, is to first and foremost, be easy on yourself. Regardless of what you are doing during this pandemic, give yourself a pat on the back. And second, if and when you find yourself feeling a little hopeless or lost in it all,  focus on who you serve, why they need you, and let yourself feel a  little bit of whatever that heartbreak is. I promise that will give you the energy for your next step. 

Power to you + stay safe,

~ Rachael Hargan, Owner/Operator, Plan A Nipissing, Simcoe, Muskoka & Grey Bruce

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