17 Slices
Medium 9781576755594

1. Breakdown in Professional Women—Why Now?

Caprino, Kathy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

* * *

We shall not escape our dangers
by recoiling from them
.

WINSTON CHURCHILL

“Everything I’ve worked for has just lost its importance to me. I really have no idea what to do or where to go next. I desperately want to do something different, something more meaningful to me, but I can’t figure out what that is.”

“I feel so mistreated and unappreciated at work. What I really want to do is tell them all off, but I end up coming back each day, and stuffing down my anger and resentment.”

“I can’t keep up this pace. I want some time off, and I need more flexibility and space to be with my daughter. But how can I ask for that when I’ve just been promoted?”

“I feel sick and exhausted all the time, and I just can’t beat this illness. I can barely function, at work or at home. I need a break!”

“If I really get honest with myself, I realize I’m just not performing at my peak anymore at this job. I’m not at my best anymore and it’s scary to me.”

“A friend of mine has her own small business, loves it, and makes great money without killing herself each day. I wish I could figure out how to do that, but I don’t think I have what it takes to make it on my own.”

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5. Overcoming Loss

Caprino, Kathy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We are shaped and fashioned
by what we love
.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE Grieving lost parts of yourself.

* LET GO of overidentifying with one aspect.

* SAY YES! to healing lost parts of yourself.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I am integrated and whole.”

* Natalie: I built my career to a high level, and I was in a very senior role that affected many people. In the beginning, I generally liked my work, but throughout the years I did have an inkling—a strong one—that perhaps this wasn’t the right focus or professional life for me. I’d have conversations with other people at my level about the downsides of being the “master or mistress of the universe”—of working so many hours, of not being able to see my son’s Little League games, of being handcuffed to our laptops while on vacation. We explored the notion that “there must be a better way.” But I never stopped to figure out what that could be for me. And then something happened that changed everything.

My boss was a woman my age, and she was gifted at her work. Sally inspired people, helped them be all they could be. I’d worked with her for years, and we’d forged a deep friendship. We also shared respect and appreciation for each other, which was somewhat rare among my counterparts. She had worked for the company for thirty years and was very respected as a major contributor. She was preparing for her long-awaited retirement and was excited about moving to Florida with her husband, now that their kids were grown and doing well. She’d tell me about looking forward to walking on the beach, playing tennis, and just enjoying life and relishing time with her husband. And then it happened. Three weeks before her retirement, Sally was diagnosed with lung cancer. And she was dead thirteen weeks later. Here was someone my age whom my coworkers and I had loved, revered, who’d made a huge difference in all our lives and for the company. And she was gone.

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13. Falling Together After Falling Apart

Caprino, Kathy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Everything can be taken from a man but
one thing; the last of the human freedoms—
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one’s own way
.

VIKTOR FRANKL
Man’s Search for Meaning

* STEP BACK TO EXPLORE A connection to struggle and to what no longer serves.

* LET GO of making excuses.

* SAY YES! to creating your new life as you want it.

* BREAKTHROUGH “I know what is important to me, and I honor it.”

* Theresa: Truthfully, I don’t talk much about my background and childhood because people just get overwhelmed about it, feel sorry for me, or see only the difficulties. But I really don’t view it that way. I believe that everything that’s happened to me has made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change any of it. The reality is that I was born to a mother who was imprisoned for being a con artist, and as a baby I was handed off to my mother’s sister. I suffered abuse in her home and was removed by the state. I was taken in by a series of foster homes for the next several years and was placed in my final adoptive home when I was 6. It was a small farm in Kansas, and I had a very modest upbringing. I worked all the time, and there was no TV, no playtime, no frills, nothing was wasted. Basically, if we didn’t grow it or kill it, we didn’t eat it. We were very poor, and certain days of the week we would have to go to the trash dumpster behind the grocery store to get our vegetables to eat.

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2. Recognizing When You’re in Professional Crisis

Caprino, Kathy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

* * *

You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really
stop to look fear in the face. You must do the
thing which you think you cannot do
.

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT
You Learn by Living, 1960

In my work with clients, I have been amazed at women’s depth of denial when things are bad. Women have said to me as we begin our work together that the term “crisis” doesn’t fit their experience, or they feel “uncomfortable” using the word. Then they go on to describe deep pain, fear, a sense of isolation, hopelessness, and a host of other agonizing emotions. Women might say, “I’m just going through a bad patch” or “I’m having a hard time right now,” but when they feel safe, they begin to expose the depth of their unhappiness. This acknowledgment paves the way for a probing new line of self-questioning to emerge. They begin to ask themselves, “You mean I may not have to live like this forever?” This chapter will help you determine if you are in fact experiencing a true professional crisis or simply going through “a tough time.” You’ll learn about the four levels of disempowerment women typically experience and identify which, if any, are problematic for you.

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Contents

Caprino, Kathy Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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