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Help! My Job is Ruining Our Relationship!

Help! My Job is Ruining Our Relationship!

Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT is a Denver marriage counselor, career coach, and executive coach at Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in emotional intelligence coaching, and is skilled and experienced in working with individuals and couples dealing with the challenges of managing work and family life.  She sees clients in our Denver and Broomfield Colorado office locations, as well as online.

 

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Don’t Let Job Stress Ruin Your Relationship

“My Husband’s Job is Ruining Our Relationship!”

Having a tyrant for a boss is a nightmare for anyone and bad news for a spouse as well.  Every night when my career coaching client “Matthew” came home from work his wife “Jennie” dreaded their exchanges.  What used to be a fun and light-hearted time became non-stop complaints, threats of quitting the job or worse yet, an excuse to drink as a way of coping with the stress.

For months Jennie listened. Then she began to offer advice including, “Why don’t you just quit if you’re so miserable?” Or, “You should schedule a meeting with your boss and tell him what you think.”  This advice wasn’t helpful, and often Matthew became annoyed or defensive in response. They started fighting about it. Both Jennie and Matthew started to believe that Matthew’s job was ruining their relationship, but they didn’t know how to stop his job stress from negatively impacting their life.

Over time more arguments happened, Matthew’s drinking increased and the mood at home shifted from being negative and irritable for Matthew to negative and irritable for Jennie and the entire family.  This is called emotional contagion and it sneaks up on you.

Job Stress = Emotional Contagion

Did you know that emotions are contagious? Yes, both good emotions and not such good ones affect those around you. So when your spouse comes home every night with a load of complaints and negativity, this will affect you along with everyone else in the household. If you’re looking for one culprit to keep a job from ruining your relationship, this is the one to focus on.

5 Tips to Keep Your Job From Ruining Your Relationship

  • Be aware of emotional contagion and make it a priority to shift your mood when you’re off duty
  • Consider ways to create more effective boundaries around work and personal life.  
  • Take time to decompress from work–changing from work issues to home is often a deliberate process.
  • If your partner frequently brings home work frustrations and stress, try detaching your emotions from your partners.  This doesn’t mean you don’t care about your partner’s challenges but instead are keeping the emotional contagion out of your relationship.  
  • Suggest putting time limits on “work” talk at home.

 

The good news:  Positive emotions are contagious as well!  Think back on the feelings that you may have shared at the end of a run or walk you’ve done for charity or a football game where you’ve been on your feet with hundreds of other fans cheering that winning touchdown. The positive shared experience is truly contagious. Your brain would like more of this, thank you.

Thankfully, things turned around for Matthew and Jennie. Matthew and I engaged in career coaching as he seriously considered his career options, and whether he should quit his job. He decided not to. Instead, our work shifted to executive coaching (particularly around emotional intelligence coaching) and Matthew learned how to manage his mood. He made some important changes to his job, specifically around setting boundaries, learning how to delegate, incorporating some new personal productivity strategies, and learning how to say no.

Furthermore, he began deliberately focusing on how to be a more positive partner for his wife. Relationships that feel good, are a place for fun, adventure, support and trust are more likely to stay strong during times of stress and tough challenges. He learned that by intentionally boosting the positive interactions you have between you and your partner, you can protect your relationship from the times you’re feeling off. So even though not every day was perfect, Jennie was much more patient and compassionate with Matthew during his stressful times.

I hope that my sharing this story helps you incorporate some positive changes to your work / life balance as well. If negative moods follow you home from work and you would like help sorting out a better approach before they become harmful to your relationship or family, it may be helpful to talk with an experienced career coach / life coach or therapist — particularly one who is well versed in emotional intelligence coaching. You can learn how to make positive changes at your job, manage stress more effectively, and even set some boundaries around your time and mental energy.

 

 

Designing Your Life: How to Create The Life You Want

Designing Your Life: How to Create The Life You Want

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC is a life coach and career coach with Growing Self. She is one of 45 international coaches certified in the Designing Your Life curriculum that is based on the New York Times #1 bestselling book. She specializes in helping people create their ideal careers, and attain their personal and professional goals.

It’s Time to Grow…

The fall season is nearly upon us, and with it comes fresh, transformational energy. If you’re like many people showing up at Growing Self for life coaching, career coaching or therapy right now, it’s because this is the time of year to let go of the old, get re-aquainted with yourself, and design new goals for the next chapter of your life.

To support you in your quest for personal evolution, life coach and career coach Maggie Graham will be sharing her advice for how to move forward fearlessly in your career, your life and your relationships.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast Maggie is talking about:

  • How to organize your life around what brings you the most energy and fulfillment
  • Identifying the self limiting beliefs that may be holding you back
  • Avoiding the common, self-sabotaging traps of perfectionism and negative self-talk
  • Resources to help you to get clear about your values and your goals
  • Key skills to making good decisions about where to go next with your life
  • How to transform your personal and professional relationships

Here are the links to the life coaching and career coaching resources we discussed in this podcast:

All the best,

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC and Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Designing Your Life: How to Create the Life and Career You Want

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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5 Ways to Test Drive a New Career

5 Ways to Test Drive a New Career

Reduce The Risk of Changing Careers

Do you hate your job? Have you already determined that you’re ready to move in a different career direction? Maybe you’ve even identified one or even several possible new career options. It warrants mentioning that there is no one perfect career out there for you, but you will find that several career paths best suit your individual skills and desires.

So now what? Sure, you could simply chuck your current job and blindly go out there to pursue your dream. [Check out: The Top Five Best Reasons For Leaving Your Job] This can work for some people, and the personality and career assessments I give to my career coaching clients helps to identify who those risk-takers are, but for most people, this would cause excessive anxiety and uncertainty. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Here are five ways that you can ease into a new career before jumping ship:

Strategy 1: Six degrees of separation – Okay, so maybe you don’t know someone who knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon…but there is something to this theory. You probably do know someone or someone who knows someone who is doing your dream job or has knowledge about it. Offer to take them to coffee or lunch. Ask them questions. Your best bet for gaining crucial knowledge of a career is to talk to someone who is already doing it, and doing it well. What do they love about their job? What don’t they love? They will be a wealth of information, and finding out important information ahead of time can save you time and energy in reaching your goal.

The power of networking is especially huge if you are changing fields entirely. You have a better chance of finding an “in” to a different field if someone knows you and can vouch for you. You need to get your foot in the door before you can convince someone how your skills translate to that area.

Strategy 2: Research – If you’re reading this article then you have an understanding of how to use the internet to find information…and you know that Googling is a verb. 😉 There is so much available online – just use a search engine to explore a specific career field and you can find things from salary information to success stories of people in that field.

Strategy 3: Volunteer or Intern – Many times, you can gain enormous insight into a possible career by volunteering a few hours a week. Non-profit organizations, hospitals, and shelters are just a few examples of places that use volunteers. Many other businesses offer internships (some unpaid, some paid) to those who want to break into a field. If a place doesn’t offer either of these, you can always offer yourself as an unpaid intern or volunteer– the worst they can say is no.  

Strategy 4: Take classes – Your new career field might require additional learning or certification. Some of these courses might be online which makes it easier for those working a full-time job. I’ve had career coaching clients do everything online from learning computer coding to obtaining their real estate license. Another bonus of doing this while remaining at your current job is that depending on the type of classes, some or all of the tuition may be reimbursed by your employer. You can check with your HR department ahead of time.

Strategy 5: Moonlight – Unless your current career forbids this, you can start doing your new career on the side to see how you like it. Especially if your new venture involves self-employment, starting it out on the side allows you to keep the financial stability of your current job while going through the growing pains of a starting a new business.  

As a career coach and executive coach, I know that changing careers always involves an element of the unknown but the rewards can be enormous. Being uncomfortable is actually a good sign, because the greatest growth in life always occurs beyond your comfort zone. Good luck and remember:

“You miss 100% of the shots not taken.” — Wayne Gretzky, hockey great.

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How Are Layoffs Like Breakups?

How Are Layoffs Like Breakups?

The Painful (and Helpful) Overlap Between a Layoff and a Breakup

I’m a career coach with a sub-specialty of helping people who are changing careers, sometimes after an unexpected job loss or layoff.  [Check out my article, “Got Laid Off? Here’s How to Deal”] When Allie Volpe, a freelance writer contacted me to ask whether I might be available as a resource for an article she was writing for The Cut called Getting Laid Off Taught Me How to Cope with Breakups, I had a mental forehead slap: Duh! Of course, there’s so much in common between these two topics – why hadn’t I written about it myself?!

I often liken a job search to dating, but now, thanks to Allie, I have another paradigm that, after she connected the dots for me, I can’t stop exploring in more detail.

Take a look at the article that Allie wrote about breakups and layoffs because it includes details about her own anguish and search for answers following her layoff and how she recognized the connection to a breakup. She seeks input from several professionals who touch on the turmoil that disruptions in habits bring, suggestions about bouncing back, mourning, and harvesting lessons.

Painful Similarities Between a Layoff and a Breakup

Both breakups and layoffs can have the same flavor, including:

  • If you don’t see it coming, both a layoff and a breakup can be like a sucker punch to the gut and make you question your worthiness.
  • After a layoff or a breakup you’ll likely experience an emotional cocktail, including grief, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, hope, and more. [Read: “Getting Over a Breakup? How to Cope With the Pain“] It can be intense and sometimes seem disproportionate to the event because it may dredge up old wounds and past losses. 
  • As with any loss, both a layoff or a breakup may lead you to experience grief bursts, which is an unexpected wave of emotion that washes over you with a strong force. An offhand comment or an article or an email rejection notice can trigger tears or anger that seems to come out of nowhere.

Helpful Similarities Between a Layoff and a Breakup

The good news about the often-difficult experiences of either a layoff or a breakup is that we can look to each of them for wisdom and insight for healing for the other. What may seem insurmountable and spiral us into deep despair can shift. Here are some suggestions for moving through both struggles:

  • Find a Way To Process Your Emotions. It can be very helpful to get professional support or use a mechanism such as journaling to make sense of your inner experience so that your emotions don’t bleed into your interviews. One of my favorite coaching teachers told me, “Your mind is like a dangerous neighborhood. Don’t go in there alone.” The same is true of a breakup – if you can harvest the emotional dimensions of your split and process them, they’re less likely to cloud your next relationship.

 

  • Whether a Former Employer or Lover: Don’t Bash Your Ex. Anger and resentment are normal and often very reasonable responses to both a breakup and a layoff, so it’s important to attend to these emotions. A budding romantic relationship may not bear the weight of bitterness from a recent partnership. And when you’re in a job interview, it’s important that you speak professionally about your former employer. No matter how much of a mess it was at your former workplace, it’s not helpful as a selling point in marketing yourself for your next job if you detail or even hint at the problems you encountered there.

 

  • Pay Attention to Your Self-Talk. Are you blaming yourself for not seeing this coming? Don’t judge your younger self for missing cues or bypassing exit opportunities. There’s a great quote from Maya Angelou that fits here: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” If your self-talk has an unworthiness theme, that’s important to process, too. Just because something didn’t work out (even something that you invested deeply in) doesn’t mean that you won’t find fulfillment and fit in your next chapter.

You’re not alone in your worries and pain as you move through a breakup or a layoff. The universality of the fallout from them offers a small element of comfort because, as with any loss, strong emotions tend to surface – that’s a tough part of being human. If you find that you’re not able to pull yourself out of either one of them or if you’d just like some extra support, we have experts on our team who specialize in both career coaching as well as breakup recovery work. [Meet Our Team]

All the best,

Maggie Graham, M.Ed., LPC, CPCC

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Top 5 Best Reasons For Leaving Your Job

Top 5 Best Reasons For Leaving Your Job

5 Ways to Determine If It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Most people daydream about a change in jobs now and again, but here are 5 ways to determine if it might be time to take the leap.

1. Make a list of all the things you like about your job.

No matter how unhappy my career coaching clients say they are in their current job, one of the first things I have them do is list the things that they enjoy, even if it’s a very short list and they can only honestly say, “the free coffee in the break room.” If their list of things they like is solely related to having a great boss, great benefits, and/or good co-workers rather than the actual work itself, that is very telling. Loving their work but not loving the corporate mission or its leadership is also important to figure out. Make an honest list and then keep that list in mind if you decide to go job-hunting, so you can recognize the things you like.

2. How do you feel on Sundays?

If you find yourself already dreading Monday’s return-to-work on Sundays, it might be time to rethink what you are doing. One of my executive coaching clients told me he started to feel that dread on Saturdays, because he knew he only had one more day before he had to return to a job he didn’t like. The ultimate goal is to be happy about what you get to do each day, and that your weekends are a time to truly relax and renew yourself. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have some ambivalence about jumping into the work week after an amazing weekend of fun, friends and family, but that’s different than the experience of actual dread.

3. You frequently browse jobs on places like Indeed and Linked In.

I get this one a lot from career coaching clients. They aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking for but they just want to “see what else is out there.” The problem is that if you don’t first clarify what you want, you end up with the “different job; same crap” problem and you’re back to job searching soon after. If you take the time to sort out what you really desire in your next job, you will be happy you took that time in the long run.

4. You keep hoping things will get better.

Sometimes, waiting things out is the smart thing to do. For instance, if you love your job overall, aside from one or two things, such as an overwhelming project, bad boss or annoying co-worker, it makes sense to give things a chance. Projects end, co-workers move on, and bad bosses may (hopefully) get fired. The key is to figure out where that tipping point is and your overall satisfaction. Did the project that ended get replaced by something equally undesirable; are you working too many hours per week despite being told things would “slow down,” or does your bad boss seem like they are settling in for the long haul? If the “waiting it out” is to the point that you feel you’re in danger of an ulcer or drinking problem, it might be time to leave.

5. You have thought about getting a career coach.

Many of my clients say they had considered getting a career coach at some point in the past due to work dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, too often people wait until they are really miserable in the jobs, and only look for a coach when either they feel they can’t take it anymore, or their work stress is impacting the quality of their relationships with their spouse, friends, and family. Ideally, you want to have a positive work/life balance, where you have plenty of energy and attention to give to the people you care about outside of work hours.

Is it Time to Make A Positive Change?

Think about the number of hours you spend each week at your job (2,080 per year for full-time work), and how many hours that adds up to over your lifetime. Life is too short to waste on something you aren’t passionate about, so if you are unhappy in your current job, do something about it. Many people don’t need a career coach if they already know what they want to do and how to get there, but others need more guidance or desire career assessments to determine their next path. Whatever you do, decide you want to be happy doing it, and get started!

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching