We’ve entered a transitional period. August’s slow, laid-back pace is now a thing of the past, and it is now time for the traditional fall catch-up. For many workers, there will be some significant changes.
Major corporations, such as Amazon, Meta and Goldman Sachs, are pushing people to return to the office with not-so-thinly veiled threats if they don’t comply. Workers must make serious decisions about whether they’ll abide by the new mandates.
As a result of the pandemic, corporate leaders promised their workers that they could work remotely from wherever they do their best work. Employees took them up on their offers, sold their homes or moved out of their expensive apartments in high-cost locations, such as New York and San Francisco, and relocated not within commuting distance of their headquarters. Now, they’ll have to choose between moving again, upending the lives of their children and partners, or losing their jobs.
The Change In Mindset
It’s an open secret that we tend to coast during the summertime, whether you’re remote, hybrid or in-office. One of the perks at companies is that bosses look the other way when we’re taking full advantage of the firm’s paid time off policies and summer Fridays.
Now, it’s time for you to get back to reality. It will be three more months until you hit the holiday season and another workplace lull takes hold. Instead of being sad and annoyed to return to business as usual, try reframing your situation more positively. View the post-summer phase as a new beginning and a chance to reinvent yourself.
September is similar to January, as it’s a time in which people become introspective and take stock of their jobs and work lives. Post-pandemic, many workers reevaluated what they truly wanted out of their careers, resulting in the emergence of the Great Resignation.
Recognizing firsthand how fragile and fleeting life is, people decided to make big changes, realizing that you only have one life to live, and you want to ensure that you are pursuing what you truly desire and discard jobs that are no longer interesting or serving you.
How To Start Right
Create an action plan based on your goals and objectives. Most people will sleepwalk through the first few weeks of September, not wanting to accept the transition from the laconic days of late August to the back-to-office work grind.
If you realize that you can’t stand your manager and feel disengaged with work after a week or so, you don’t have to put up with it. Although the white-collar job market is somewhat soft recently, with fewer jobs posted online and a glaring decline in remote opportunities, start putting out feelers for a new opportunity. Finding a new job may take a hot minute after the most recent jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed only 187,000 jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in August.
Stealthily contact headhunters and ask trusted colleagues, friends and others within your network if they know of any positions that would be a good fit for you. When you ask, provide specific details, color and context of your current responsibilities and the type of opportunity you seek next.
Before you reach out to people requesting their help, approach the person with something of value. If you do something nice for them, they will be more inclined to assist you. Good manners go a long way.
You owe it to yourself to speak with your supervisor before making any sudden moves. Engaging in a frank conversation is worthwhile to find out what your boss has in mind for you. Ask about the potential for career growth and increased responsibilities and compensation. Inquire into the organization’s financial strength and whether the company plans to enact layoffs or any other changes that could negatively impact your role if you remain with the company. If you walk away from the meeting feeling that there isn’t much of a future at the firm, you may want to start searching for a new opportunity.
Getting Back Into Work Mode
Look at September as the start of a marathon race. Pace yourself for the long run. It’s jarring to jump back into full action. You can start slowly, easing into your workload to avoid burning out.
Prioritize your mental, emotional and physical health. Ensure you get sufficient sleep, eat healthily, exercise regularly and avoid overindulging in substances that may deleteriously affect your mind and body. A corporate professional is similar to an athlete, in that you need to take good care of yourself to compete and excel at what you do.
When dreading a specific task—which will be most things upon your return to the grind—eat the frog first. This adage refers to committing to your most soul-sucking and least pleasurable responsibilities at the beginning of the day, so that you can immediately cross them off your to-do list.
Ensure you are cognizant of what’s required, such as your work assignments, deadlines and priorities. Seek out short-term objectives that you know you can accomplish to get a few wins under your belt and get on the good side of your supervisors.
Back To An Office Environment
If you are told to return to the office, try to make the best of it. Look on the bright side by getting reacquainted with co-workers you haven’t seen in person for several years. Interact and socialize with people in different divisions to cultivate and grow your network, which will help you throughout your career.
Instead of being “that person” in the office who constantly complains and grumbles about everything, demonstrate a positive, motivated and enthusiastic attitude. You’ll stand out as people tend to gravitate toward a person who is happy and open to collaborating with others. As workers start trickling back into the office, it will be a great time to capitalize on expanding your network of like-minded people who want to grow and succeed in their careers.
If you are commuting into the office, it’s a significant change, especially after not doing it for a few years. You may now be forced to endure a three-hour round trip to and from work. This will drastically impact your work-life balance.
You will need to make new arrangements, ranging from finding reasonably priced child care to finding the money to afford a new car or monthly bus or train passes. When losing about 15 hours a week to your commute, it’s essential to establish a disciplined routine, including waking up earlier than you’ve been doing and meticulously planning out ways to be highly focused on getting your work done, while also maintaining a personal life.
To ensure that you prioritize self-care for yourself and your family, establish clear boundaries between your work and home life. Disconnecting from work is mission-critical to your mental health and emotional well-being. Throughout the work day, take microbreaks to avoid exhaustion and burnout.