This Isn’t Working! Book

I signed a book deal with Indigo River Publishing!

We are targeting a fall 2022 release.

I couldn’t be more excited about it.

In fact, I had to design a cover so I could imagine the book. (The final cover will be designed by the publisher.)

Scroll down for your sneak preview!

Preface

What if you could hit a pause button, pull up, and take an objective look at your life? That’s what many of us did in 2020 – whether we wanted to or not.

If you weren’t a healthcare worker or on the front lines in some way, you were essentially sent to your room with stay-at-home guidelines to think about what you’d done.

Many people realized what they were doing wasn’t working for them.

The pandemic put a spotlight on busyness, overworking, overconsumption, avoidance, and numbing.

From a place of stillness, and maybe even peace, the way we were working was exposed for what it was: batshit crazy.

It would take a long time to list all the famous people I’ve heard say they will not be recreating their insane travel and speaking schedules going forward.

Connection to self, family, community, hobbies – all of these became increasingly important as ways to stay sane during the insanity of 2020 and 2021. This is good news.

The not-so-good news is people are really struggling now with mental and physical health issues and working, and I know that if we don’t confront this, and the trauma we’ve all experienced, we will have BIG problems.

Which is why I am writing this book.

We shouldn’t be striving to go back to “normal” because if we’re honest, it wasn’t that great, and it wasn’t working for many of us.

We need to EVOLVE.

Are you ready to join the evolution?

Our current situation

Rates of anxiety and depression were skyrocketing pre-pandemic. There where dizzying spikes in rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and addiction during the pandemic. The lingering effects and the trauma as we move through and beyond will take years (maybe decades) to work through. We will need to be very gentle with ourselves and others.

The Great Resignation that began in the summer of 2021 is a major factor in 2022, as previously unknown numbers of workers continue to quit their jobs. In August 2021, 2.9 percent of the U.S. workforce gave notice, and in September 2021, 3 percent resigned.[1] “Last year, an average of more than 3.95 million workers quit their jobs each month, meaning 2021 holds the highest average on record, topping the 2019 average of 3.5 million.”[2] Employers are reeling, rethinking retention strategies, and increasing hourly rates and compensation packages, which is long overdue.

Nearly 50 million Americans quit or changed jobs in 2021. The top reasons for quitting included low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center[3].

I am feeling a bit smug, to be honest, because I have been on my soapbox saying we have agency and when we stop accepting unacceptable work situations, they will have to change. It’s too soon to see if these changes are for now or forever, but I am hopeful we are making some solid strides toward corporate cultures that are more supportive of employees.

That said, rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are catastrophic. I would need another whole book to explore why, but at a high level, I believe major contributors include identifying with the “hustle culture” of self-worth and value being measured by busyness, undervaluing rest and sleep, comparing your real life to someone’s filtered life on social media, overindulging in immediate-gratification activities, being tied to your smartphone 24/7, and undervaluing the importance of personal mental and physical health.

That trite “put your own oxygen mask on first” concept remains one of the best strategies for success. You will not have access to creative thinking, productivity, or possibility if you are a shattered shell of a person. I have so many heartbreaking stories of professionals overworking themselves to serious mental health issues and physical health diagnoses.

A recent prospect in our career strategy session began our conversation informing me she’s working with a leading anxiety specialist and listing all the anti-anxiety meds she’s currently taking. She started to tear up saying she missed her son, although she was in the same house with him at that moment. Years of overworking and an executive who consistently demeaned her had completely gutted her health to the point of regular panic attacks, stroke-risk blood pressure levels, and almost constant migraines. She couldn’t drive anymore and could barely function.

I’d love to say this was the first time I had heard this story, but sadly, it’s pretty common. People don’t call me professionally when things are going well. Instead, they call me when their situation has become unsustainable.

From my perspective, COVID-19 dogpiled on top what was already unsustainable for many professionals, which metaphorically broke the camel’s back.

Working shouldn’t be making us sick

I have lost count of how many clients have called me after leaving the ER. They went because they thought they were having a heart attack.

My dear friend had a stroke from work-related stress – at 34.

Someone else who I have known for 20 years was overworking for more than one year without a real break. They were clearly going to have a heart attack, breakdown, or cancer diagnosis. It ended up being the last one.

It was SO CLEAR to me this was inevitable that I did a TEDx talk titled Sustaining Personal Energy to Fuel Professional Success in 2015. I’m not sure they ever watched it.

*sigh*

In my TEDx talk, I shared my moment of almost stroking out in my boss’s doorway on Christmas Eve from the stress of a tight deadline combined with technology failure.

What I didn’t include was the fact that three different doctors had told me I needed to quit that job as soon as possible or I might die. My blood pressure was consistently spiking to dangerous levels, and I generally have low blood pressure.

In fact, at a recent doctor’s visit, the nurse commented on my great blood pressure reading. I said it’s been fine since I quit my job.

Together, we can evolve the way we work so that it works for everyone.


[1] Eli Rosenberg, “A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September as labor market tumult continued,” The Washington Post, November 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/11/12/job-quit-september-openings/

[2] “Interactive Chart: How Historic Has the Great Resignation Been?” SHRM, February 1, 2022, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/interactive-quits-level-by-year.aspx

[3] Kim Parker AND Juliana Menasce Horowitz,“Majority of workers who quit a job in 2021 cite low pay, no opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected,” Pew Research Center, March 9, 2022, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/03/09/majority-of-workers-who-quit-a-job-in-2021-cite-low-pay-no-opportunities-for-advancement-feeling-disrespected/