May is upon us, the month of many bank holidays! Let’s hope we are rewarded with great weather!In theory extra days off are good, time to relax and recharge, but is it really the case?
This month: Do you find yourself working excessively?
Do you find yourself working excessively in the run up to any time away to ensure that everything is done – i.e. that the work you would do on that day is squeezed into the shorter week? Does that in fact create stress, casting a shadow over your time away from work? Perhaps on your return when the backlog is released like a flood gate into your inbox it doesn’t feel like much of a break at all?
With a report stating that Solicitors are twice as likely to work on their days off and a third of legal professionals saying they have experienced increased anxiety over the past 12 months, it does make for sorry reading as to the state of the profession.
Anecdotally I have spoken to people who have fallen asleep at the wheel due to excessive hours, noticed themselves drinking more and of course looking to change jobs to find the right balance. We work closely with a number of coaches and wellbeing experts, and we are always happy to introduce them where we feel they can help. As Vikki Pratley of Skylark says:
“When I was a practicing employment lawyer, the thought of paying for any training myself… in fact for ANYTHING myself was a foreign consideration. Courses, lunches, petrol, networking etc was all paid for by my firm. But we need to invest in ourselves, until then we are dependent and controllable by our employer.
For me, not investing in myself away from the workplace left me vulnerable to burnout, which cost me three months absence from work, a gruelling three months staggered return to the workplace, the loss of confidence and a lot of damage to my self-esteem – none of which I identified with before I burned out.”
Yes, employers need to get on board, they need to have initiatives to help with wellbeing, they need to be recognising when people are working too hard and have systems in place to refer them to support. However, Vikki often explores the ‘responsible initiative’ mindset; the idea that no one in the world cares about our career, our wellbeing or our lives as much as we do.
We can help ourselves move away from impostor syndrome and minimise risk of burnout if we take control of our destiny.
Perhaps May is the month to take that initiative and invest in your own wellbeing and mindset in just the same way as you would invest in your health through a gym or exercise class?
If you’d like an introduction to Vikki, or any of our other coach connections just get in touch. We know lots of ex-lawyers who know the stresses and strains and can help you to help yourself through your legal career.