After working for company X for two years, I finally got promoted to manager. Of course, I was reminded of the extensive responsibilities that management holds and acknowledged that. I went through corporate training and went through training on how to be an effective leader. I enjoyed the training and enjoyed how the directors made us, assistant managers in training fully capable of taking on this new role in our occupations.
However, I found that many things were easier said than done. I ended up not returning to my home store and being in a new environment that had different ways of store operations than what I was accustomed to working under. I felt inferior and powerless. I was supposed to be an example for the crew but I could barely keep up with how much different the store was. I felt incompetent and had never been so disheartened about a job.
On top of working 50 hours a week, I attend school full-time and am planning for post-grad. Many factors cause this level of stress and anxiety but most of it stems from my place of employment: How am I supposed to function as a leader when I can barely function myself?!
I know what you are thinking: Well, what did you expect? Why did you do this to yourself in the first place?
Simple answer: A doable income to pay for school to get even more doable income..but that's another story.
The fact of the matter is that with trying to be successful, burnout is real. When it burns, it burns deep.
There have been days to where I would have mini breakdowns on the way to work even at work, attempting to hide my emotions with an artificial corporate grin. With this being said, I began to reflect on how I surely can't be the one who feels this way. From being on the other end of the employee-manager spectrum, I can see how negative mental health impacts productivity. I reflect on my own in which I feel unable to perform to my own potential, and reflect on my crew members including one individual, who visibly showed symptoms of anxiety including having several attacks on my shift. I attempted to talk to her and effectively cooled her down while my own assistant griped about having to stay over and had little regards towards her feelings. I felt that if situations like those could be de-escalated and she would slowly bring herself back to work, at least through the shift. Others made me feel like I was a weak link for taking the time to listen to her rather than shooing her away and telling her to get over her issues.
Occupational stress can manifest itself into physical symptoms such as issues with blood-pressure and headaches. I can vouch for it being that I have seen cardiologists about my moments of shortness of breath and off rhythm beats. With a scan with a clean bill of health, I was able to contribute my symptoms to all the stress around me. I attempted to talk to people at my job about this but all they could say is shake it off and get back to work. Of course, work is never a cake walk. However, in this process of "shaking it off", time needs to be implemented.
Corporate society needs to see that its members are not robots and cannot strictly stick to expectations; human nature will not allow it. However, much like mechanical counterparts, humans need time to recharge.
Mental health recovery is important for vital functioning. When I was still a crew member, I used my days off wisely and regained mental clarity. Now that I have fewer opportunities for that, my days off consists of zero productivity and worrying about going to work the next day.
With the introduction of taking time off for mental health, I feel like both employees and managers could benefit in which employees are more productive and managers are able to operate as more effective leaders. In a perfect world, this would be a paid set of days. However, the benefit of mental clarity and freeing the mind from overload is still a bigger payoff. I feel like if the employees were taken care of, they would be more willing to take care of the company.