Jane was 40 years old and very unhappy in her job. She was working much longer hours that she would have liked and seemed never to get away from work. On weekends and holidays, she felt that there was pressure on her to answer emails and sometimes even to sign off on reports. While she acted as if she had lots of energy, she felt that it was just that - an act. The reality was that she was exhausted. She wasn’t sleeping well and was cranky with her husband and children, whom she didn’t see very much of. 

Through my work with Jane, we identified that there was a gap between her values and that of the company. She described the culture as ‘cut-throat’. Jane was conflicted between wanting to be courageous and fight for the values she believed in on one hand and persisting in trying to just fit in on the other hand. The reality was that she was too tired to do either and she often felt ill about going to work.

 

Further exploration made Jane realise that what she saw as ‘financial security’ was more like a straight-jacket, paralysing her into inactivity. Her goal changed to having a career that was personally satisfying and enabling her to maintain a work/life balance that worked for her. She decided that she would keep on open mind about moving jobs as she reasoned that she didn’t want to move only to find herself in a similar situation.

In the interim Jane reorganised how she managed her work so that she felt comfortable about leaving work at 5.30 most days, allowing time for family and friends. She also started to get much needed sleep.

Shortly afterwards, Jane was successful in her application for a new role in a different department. She discovered that the negative ‘institutional culture’ she experienced was in fact just bad management practices within her old department. This new department operated very differently and was much more aligned with her personal values. Not surprisingly, Jane is back on track. She loves her job and is enjoying family life.

JANE's Story

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Anne Mangan

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