Where We Are Now With Work

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There is nothing so stable as change. – Bob Dylan

I’ve not felt like writing in weeks. I have 45 open drafts. That’s a record (even for me).

There is a malaise that meets me at my desk on many mornings. I would characterize this as a lack of energy. A bit of resistance to do the work I normally love.  (Indeed, I am grateful to still have a role to occupy my mind.) I will hypothesize that the pace of both challenge and change in our world, has finally caught up with me.

Of course, none of us has all of the answers. We can only bring our collected knowledge and best intentions to forge ahead.

As I usually do, I’ve talked to others about their work as well — how it has changed (for better and worse), how it will remain so for some time, how we must adapt. What I’ve learned, is that we are entering a new phase of work life, “post” the arrival of Covid. The changes we are going through come with an element of loss and we should open to speak about all of it.

We are each affected differently, that goes without saying. But, as aptly expressed in this HBR article: “If we can name it, we can manage it.” I’ll start. You can join in the comments section if you wish.

I am quickly realizing that this crisis isn’t a sprint. It is a marathon. We are in this for the long-haul. Some of the elements of work life that once were — may never return. Some of the changes will be useful. Other changes will likely make us feel oddly out of sync. (We seem to be moving through a crash course in “digital transformation,” in real-time.)

I also know that we should draw from our foundation, our built work life core — to help us along. We must acknowledge what we can bring with us on this journey. More specifically — that we can bring along the good, as well as the challenging. (A strong nod to positive psychology here.) Bolstering our resolve with the positive, is vital. This may be a useful strategy in our arsenal to combat all of the work life twists and turns, yet to come.

What we’ve built.

We bring along the elements of our work lives that we have nurtured. The strong teams. The great colleagues. The challenge of the work. The healthy cultural landscapes.

These elements will help us adapt, help us face the changes with resilience.

Of course, when the dust settles we’ll have decide if we still fit — and at least assess where we find ourselves within our current organization. The outcomes of which will not be easy to predict. It is hard to know what choices (good or bad) an organization will make. What choices you must make. Yet, I do know that you should pause to re-evaluate constructs such as the psychological contract. Discuss it openly. Declare what you need to stay engaged and healthy. Managers should have an open and honest conversation with each one of their employees to take stock.

Ultimately, our world of work is now characterized by change.

To keep pace — look to your core.

Lean in to the great things you have built.

Please Note: The articles on this site are the intellectual property of the author — and cannot be used commercially without expressed written consent.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist & speaker, who explores the value of core stability to empower work & career. Her course, The Core Masterclass teach managers how to build core stability for themselves and their team.

5 thoughts on “Where We Are Now With Work

  1. Thanks for your response, Marla,
    I have felt the loss from disconnection that creates uncomfortable fear or isolation during the pandemic. If these were unexperienced reactions, then I can see the benefit of discovering purpose. For me, these are self-sabotage gremlins that have been with me in different forms throughout my life, not from choice but more from reflex, peering negatively into the unknown.
    I acknowledge them, thank them for showing up, but choose not to allow them to lead and hesitate my actions to reach my goals. In doing this they show up less frequently as I change my perspective to more authentically supportive thoughts. I strengthen my Emotional Intelligence when I choose who I want to be no matter what the circumstances.
    Buddha said, “We are what we think, all that we are arises from our thoughts, and with our thoughts, we make the world.”

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. I know many others who feel the same loss, as face to face interactions are so vital to all us. Last week, I got on a call only to realize I was the only one with their camera on. I was crushed and expressed my disappointment ( Happily 2 of 3 cameras popped on.)

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  3. I deeply feel the emotion this article conveys. After accepting the changes in my industry, I definitely felt loss. I miss real, spontaneous human interaction very much. But on the upside I have seen that sometimes I was striving too much for that and it was not an efficient use of my time (excessive networking events). In the past few months I have embraced having a higher level of daily chaos (working from home with 4 kids) and spent time working on internal skill sets like mindfulness and meditation. I love your point about going back to what you’ve built. When I am in the weeds with work I often remind myself to go back to the basics and generally that gets me back on track. That has definitely applied during this time, I just wish there was a way for those “basics” to feel a little less lonely for so many of us.

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  4. Hi Marla,
    Good food for thought article, 45 drafts is impressive, :-)!

    In times of uncertainty, I find looking to the future or past can take away from who I am now. For me, empowering who I want to be now in the journey makes my path for change much easier to reach.

    I am mindful of the warning bells that disconnect me from who I want to be, such as frustration, upset, anger, boredom, or confusion. A “now mentality” comes from my choice to empower my values authentically.

    Confidence, happiness, sense of humor, discovery, curiosity, are a few of the values I choose to connect to. I use peak moments in my life that, with practice, quickly transform my mental and physical disposition. An empowered value clarifies my voice, focuses my mind, and aligns my visions in the moment, inspiring my actions.

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