Photo: Stephan Geyer
Secret diary of a board babe: After six months of working flat out without a break, our woman at the top reveals the more ugly side of business by saying she has lost her drive and patience – and is now suffering from burnout.I’ve learned a hard and valuable lesson over the last two months. After six full months working without a break, I have well and truly burned out. My energy has waned, my resilience is greatly reduced and my tolerance and patience are wiped.
I am not the positive and optimistic woman that I normally am.
The rest of my colleagues take a holiday every three months or so religiously. I used to think this was somewhat obsessive, but now I understand how they have got this right. Whilst I imagine myself lying on the beach in the Bahamas (I am very lucky to be flying there soon) and long for the ability to switch off, I am self-reflecting to ensure this burnout doesn’t ever happen again.
My friends often comment that I run like a Duracell battery every day; from meeting to meeting, gym to social event, networking evenings to dinners to shopping to flying across Europe for work – and that’s before any downtime.
I used to take their comments in my stride. I actually felt somewhat invincible; proud to be a young, single but successful career woman. I believe I take care of myself in terms of diet and exercise. Where I have missed out, is taking genuine ‘me’ time to truly recuperate from a busy lifestyle.
I do love my job; the responsibility, the challenge and the daily fluctuation in decisions required to be made and debated ad I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
I face challenges on the board in terms of my age, and other domineering characters on the board, particularly when there are difficult discussions to be had. I however, realise that over the last few weeks, I haven’t been giving what I normally can do.
My team have even identified my waning energy levels, and my reduced patience which is not a good place to be. I can take a lot in terms of workload when I’m in good mental shape, but recently I feel my productivity waiver.
So I’ve learned a valuable lesson and that is to make sure I don’t let my batteries die out before recharging. That way I am able to give everything I have to the rest of my team, my board colleagues, the business and people across the entire organisation. My productivity will be maximised and I am generally a much better asset to have around.
I’m sure I’m not the only single woman to experience this, but I bring this up because sometimes I know we can put work pressures first before life. I am of the belief that it is overworked, overwhelmed and under-pressure women who give themselves the hardest time – I know I’m guilty of that.
What I don’t want to see happen, is to completely burn out and become ineffective to the point, I’m not successful anymore.
So, now I’m off to that beach in the Bahamas, bikinis in tow. There I will rest, recharge and plan my next holiday within a far more reasonable time.
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