Working Lady Mindset

October 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

I am a 9-to-5 worker bee, chugging away in a corporate job. You know this from my Working Lady Style posts. My reality is working 40-50 hours a week, coming home, trying to find time to work out, cooking dinner, eating with my husband, and then having about an hour, maybe two, for free time in the evening. So while I only spend a little over a fourth of my week working, it ends up feeling more like three fourths once you add in sleeping, eating, working out and thinking about work.

But as I read more and more blogs, I’m starting to realize that many bloggers out there are creative professionals, typically working freelance jobs or owning small businesses. Or sometimes blogs are written by full time workers, but they don’t talk about their work life a lot, mainly because it is an escape from work for them.

While I completely understand that and often feel the exact same way, I still find myself yearning to read something that I can relate to. Something that acknowledges the joys and challenges of working in a corporate setting. Resources that could help with finding joy in work, maintaining work-life balance, or even just where to find some amazing black pumps.

So instead of twiddling my thumbs, praying for that blog to drop into my lap, I’m going to start dedicating some of my time on here to the working lady life. I’ll continue with Working Lady Style posts, but will probably add in some posts in the realms of Working Lady Mindset, Working Lady Resources, Working Lady Reads… things like that.

If you are one of those lucky few working in the creative realm for yourself, then my hope is you can still pull some nuggets of fun/truth/wisdom from these for your own working life, too.

If this is a horrible idea and you hate it and it’s boring, please someone let me know! I need more truth-tellers in my life, people!

To kick things off with a bang, let’s talk about the Working Lady Mindset. I don’t know about you, but this is a typical day’s progression for me:

  • 8:45-9:00: Show up to work, grab some coffee/tea, open email
  • 9:00-10:00: Calmly sift through all the emails from the night before and the morning, respond to any emergencies, start focusing on the big “to-dos” for the day
  • 10:00-11:30: Attend the meeting that was supposed to be an hour, but went over by thirty minutes, start mini-freaking out over the new to-dos collected during the meeting
  • 11:30-12:00: Head back to desk, trying not to make eye contact with anyone because there’s no time to chat, there’s stuff to do! Work on to-dos from last meeting, already forgetting the ones from the morning
  • 12:00-1:00: Either lunch meeting or grab quick lunch and eat and work at desk
  • 1:00-1:30: Prepare for next meetings
  • 1:30-3:30: Attend two meetings, start super-freaking out over the new to-dos collected during those meetings
  • 3:30-5:45: Again, try to keep  head down so no one talks to you while you try to get all the urgent to-dos done, get through about five of the fifteen big ones
  • 5:45-5:50: Really think through if you can leave or not, decide you should. Pack all the relevant print-outs/notebooks into work bag, thinking working at home is going to happen, has to happen tonight
  • 5:50-6:20: Get home, put work bag down, never touch work. Too tired

Overwhelmed*source*

Not sure about you, but that seems a little out of control. Do I think everyone works like that? No. I’m a rare breed of crazy. But I do think the busyness resulting from the digital age is a reality for anyone working in corporate [slash life!], and whether you’re good at taking things step-by-step or not, most still would admit to a decent amount of stress and pressure when working.

This doesn’t seem super healthy. I get home feeling like the world is totally out of control [which it is – how have I not figured out that is just a result of the fall?] and uber stressed heading into time with my husband. And to be super transparent, my stress level has gotten to a point lately where I am not a fun person to hang out with in the evening. I’m either zoned out/shut down/vegging out, or worse, crying.

Not all of the things that are contributing to this are in my control, but some of them are. And that’s what I want to talk about here. [Longest intro to a blog post ev-ver?]

Today's To Do List*source*

What do I have control over in my corporate world? I have control over my attitude towards others and myself, my belief about others and about myself, and my beliefs about what God has to say about my work.

First of all, this has not been an easy journey for me, and I would say I’m literally on the first leg of it. But glimpses of truth are starting to peak through the clouds of unfocused lies, and I know this is right.

When I am letting stress control my life, I end up treating others and myself poorly. My attitude towards people, when I’m in this state, is that they are a nuisance and a distraction. I have things to get done, and interacting with a human seems like the biggest waste of time because those are precious minutes I could have had to knock out a few to-dos. My attitude towards myself is also one of constant frustration. Why can’t I get everything done? Everyone around me is keeping their stuff together? Why is it so hard for me? Just get it together. This attitude is damaging. It belittles relationship and community, and it creates unfair expectations about myself that can cause me to believe long-lasting lies.

These lies I start believing are so terrible. I believe that the opinions of others matter most, that their opinions of me are that I am not a hard worker, that I am selfish, that I am childish, and that they really just want me to be perfect all the time. About myself, I believe all the things I think others believe about me: that I don’t work fast enough, that I don’t think strategically enough, that I am a waste of a full-time position at a company that is very difficult to get on board with. And this just spirals me into this black hole of negativity and fear.

And finally, this makes me believe that God thinks these things about me too. While I would tell anyone to their face that I believe God loves us unconditionally, deep down I must think that I must perform to be a “good” Christian. And while I know I don’t have to work in ministry to be serving God, I think I have warped this belief that working with excellence serves God, so therefore, I must work perfectly and better and better and better, to show that I am serving God wholeheartedly. Well that’s just crap, right? I mean you write it down, and you realize the lunacy. But somehow I have let myself live there, in this crappy lie.

So that’s a LOT of talking I’m doing. But what does it boil down to? I have a renewed commitment to believe the truth about what God thinks about me, to believe the truth about myself and others, and to then have a good attitude towards myself and others.

Coffee and Jesus*source*

I will believe that God’s love for me is not based on how hard I work. It’s based on his Son’s righteousness that he purchased for me that I have no way of ever earning. It is done and finished. And therefore, I have the freedom to do my best, without being unhealthy. God has given me the manna I need each day to get done what I can that day. And he created me. He knows my limits. He created them. So this outworking and outserving myself is not something he asked of me.

I will believe that others believe the best about me. I know not everyone has the privilege to work at a company filled with as stellar people as I do, and therefore this may not be a realistic belief for everyone. But I am truly surrounded by phenomenal people. Sure, we make mistakes sometimes and get frustrated with each other sometimes. But for the most part, we know we work with the hardest workers in the world and with people with intense integrity. We are also a very loving and forgiving bunch. So why should I believe that they are constantly judging my work, when I don’t have that thought about anyone else in the business? And as for myself… I am a hard worker. I can be selfish, but as a whole, I really like working hard to serve others. And I am not a child (most of the time). I choose to believe that I do good work, and that where I fail, the Lord can more than make up for it and help me to grow in those areas. {You have no idea how big of a statement all of that is for me!}

Finally, I will then let those beliefs funnel into a positive attitude towards the people around me. I won’t look at a conversation with a person as a distraction. I will look at that as a huge blessing, that I get to work with people I think are the bomb dot com, and that I should soak up as much time with them as I can. And who knows how we can save each other time down the road by sharing what we’re working on. And community helps us to see that everything’s not such a big deal. We’re not saving lives here or anything. And I will have a positive attitude towards myself. I will give myself some grace and realize that finishing a to-do list doesn’t define me or make me a bad worker. Having my stuff together just means working as hard as I can in the 40 hours I’ve been paid and then living a balanced life at home too. Not being a walking robot that can only talk/think/breathe work all the time.

Relax*source*

That was quite the novel, so bravo if you made it all the way down here! But the majority of my readers work with me anyway, so I figure they might need to hear these truths too. If not, then it was just good for me to have some accountability to start focusing on the truth.

The next few posts shouldn’t be this long. I’m hoping to share some really encouraging resources that people have shown me lately. I’m a development junkie, so I hope that you will love them as much as I do!

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