The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all aspects of American life, from parents and child care to leisure and job security. It has been well over a year since the first lockdowns began, but working under such unprecedented conditions can create added stress that can even become untenable as the pandemic continues.
Some long-term effects of all this stress are only starting to show now.
“Stress is something that builds up over time, and when that stress isn’t resolved, it builds up,” said Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite, registered psychologist and executive coach. “We are now seeing that people are really feeling the impact of stress over the past year.”
Here’s how it might show up in your career right now:
1. You no longer have any motivation to do your job.
When you hit a breaking point your sanity suffers, and that can translate into feeling generally overwhelmed with your job and saying to yourself, “Ugh, when is this going to be over?” Said Horsham-Brathwaite.
Therefore, feeling like you have too much to deal with during an indefinite pandemic can also lead to boredom and disengagement, she said.
This lack of motivation can lead to being easily distracted, unable to focus and feeling “checked out” in one’s job, said Yesel Yoon, a psychologist specializing in career transitions and uncertainty at work.
What could be at the origin of this disengagement? At this point in the pandemic, we may be sorely missing the gains that raises or bonuses have given us, or the much-needed breaks in the day that we have from commuting or socializing with co-workers, said. Yoon.
“We are social creatures, we are not robots. We want things to evolve and change, and we want to adapt, ”she said. “And not having that much in the workspace is what leads to this uneasiness … that feeling of ‘Oh, I’m so over it.’ ‘
2. You feel resentful when others act like business is usual.
Resentment can escalate when the reality of what you are going through is vastly different from what your bosses are saying. For many outside of the C-suite, the status quo doesn’t work. A Microsoft survey released in March found that 61% of business leaders say they are “successful” right now, while only 38% of workers without decision-making authority say the same. In fact, nearly one in five professionals in the survey said their employer didn’t care about work-life balance, and most said they were overworked.
If people are asked to do the same level of work without recognizing that it is still a stressful time, they may feel resentful, Said Horsham-Brathwaite. “What people tell me is that their employers have gone back to business as usual when it is not business as usual.”
3. You feel anxious about returning to the office.
The transition to remote work was disruptive at first, but now that employees have devised new ways of working, there may be a reluctance to return to the office, said Jessica Methot, associate professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations from Rutgers University, at HuffPost. .
More and more companies are planning to return to their offices or actively recall workers to their buildings. This may generate excitement for some, but for others it can cause a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about what the post-pandemic office will look like and whether your boss’s version of a Safe community workplace is yours.
Those who are not eager to return to the office may feel particularly suspicious when they receive notices of reopening plans and phases, Yoon said. “I really heard and felt the anxiety from other people of ‘Oh my God, what is this going to look like? How are we all going to interact? “
4. You are seriously considering changing jobs.
A majority of Americans polled by LinkedIn in March said they had put their career changes on hold, citing the need for regular pay during the pandemic and wishing to wait for a more favorable job market. For some people, it may be time for a career change, as states announce plans to reopen and vaccine availability becomes less of a problem.
Yoon noted that professionals who initially made the choice to squat in their jobs might now think, “Mr.yes, i will go back and take a look at my application and really get down to work, because clearly that is not changing and i am still unhappy, ”she said. “I think the delayed plans have come to the surface.
Although restrictions remain in place in parts of the country, many Americans are eating in restaurants and traveling again as the US economy reopens. As a result, professionals are “getting mixed messages,” Yoon said. “Things are still tough, but they also see, ‘Well the economy is moving a bit so there are actually jobs starting to open up’ … I think that has boosted hope. people.
5. You see your career in a whole different way now – especially if you have lost your job as a result of the pandemic.
The loss of a job was unfortunately a common occurrence last year. A Gallup poll conducted in the second half of 2020 found that more than a billion people around the world have lost their jobs or businesses due to COVID-19.
It can have an impact on how you see your career now in an invisible way. When you are fired or fired, you not only lose a stable source of income, but you can also lose purpose and a sense of security.
People who experience job loss may internalize a risk-averse mindset as a defense mechanism and think, “You never know what’s going to happen, so you better be happy” or “I” I’m lucky for what I get, even though I “I’m miserable,” Yoon said.
“If you leave these messages unchecked for too long, it can start to take over all the senses,” Yoon said. “You never really try to take risks, you don’t question anymore. … I can imagine [for] that cohort or generation of people that went through that, that will be a ripple effect in the future. This could potentially have an impact on how they view the change in their career. ”
Even if you haven’t experienced a job loss, you may also feel uncertain about the future. But either way, you shouldn’t let thoughts like “It’s too risky” keep you from considering the career or role you want.
Yoon suggests that if you come across this type of unfavorable risk mindset regarding your job, you should ask yourself what exactly is risky about it so that you can begin to understand what you need to do to reduce the risk. That way, fear is not the driver’s seat of your career.