5 Ways to Make Work Feel Less Like Work
Nurture your obvious and unobvious support systems and you will be more buoyant at work
When was the last time you thought about how you want to live your career—and not just your life? How you actually want to arrange your free time and services that will help you enjoy your career on a daily basis? The way we feel at the end of each work day—and the way we look forward to the next—has a lot to do with the structures and people we consciously put in place to lean on and lift us up. Here are five quick ways to nurture your professional self and add joy to the hard work you put into the work you do.
1. Schedule Meetings with Yourself
According to Harvard Business School, women typically leave the workforce when they find their career path obstructed and are no longer excited about their work. Start scheduling quarterly check-ins with yourself to make sure that what you are working on challenges you in fulfilling ways. List the five things about your job that you love, and why. If you can’t think of five, look around. Is there another role you could explore and grow with where you are? Or is there another company that piques your interest?
As women and mothers, we always try to be prepared for anything that could happen in our family lives. Unfortunately, we aren’t prepared for “anything” with our careers. A cobweb-covered resume can signal personal complacency and a willingness to let the professional world happen to you, versus you going out and making it happen for yourself. Keep your confidence stoked, your resume ready, and your initiative strong.
2. Find a Network
If you don’t already have a professional network in place, tap into women you know from an alumni group or your community and arrange a monthly lunch or breakfast. Creating a base of professional women in a similar life situation as your own is a fulfilling and effective way to share perspectives, challenges, and joys. Remember that this isn’t a business development networking group – you aren’t trying to drum up new business from one another (though maybe you will). This is simply a group of women coming together to listen and support one another’s professional success and journeys.
3. Become a Sponsor
If you aren’t currently sponsoring a woman at your office, start. The rewards are huge for you and for her. Sponsors are active advocates for a woman’s advancement to the next level and onto bigger assignments.
. Fifty-one percent of middle managers and managers say they don’t know what to do to improve gender diversity in their company.For gender diversity to succeed, it needs input and diligence from everyone—especially women. Find out what initiatives are underway at your company and get involved. If you find nothing, it’s your chance to start something.
4.Create Face Time with People in Power
Less access means less chance for growth, professional development and promotion. Find ways to get face time, either individually or with a group. Be bold and creative. Women make things happen all of the time on the home front. Use that same passion and initiative to leverage your brand and build your professional career. Instead of “desktop dining” every lunch, consider inviting diverse groups of decision makers out to a meal or for a power walk to discuss a current business challenge. Initiative in motion stays in motion.
5. Lighten the (Laundry) Load at Home
This one may seem silly but it’s far from funny. Women in senior management are seven times more likely than men at the same level to say they do more than half of the housework. More than half! Burning the candle at both ends leaves little time for recharging your professional batteries and finding the energy to even think about taking on more responsibilities. Talk to you partner and family members about making chores more equitable at home and your professional self will rejoice.
Addie Swartz is the founder and CEO of reacHIRE, a company working to change the trajectory for women in the workplace.