Are You Feeling Isolation or Burned Out or Both at Work or with Your Business?
Tips for recharging your batteries and overcoming isolation and burnout.
Burnout is one of the biggest problems experienced by workers, but black professionals and entrepreneurs add isolation to the mix. This is especially true for senior and seasoned black professionals who can still be the first and or the only black person within their work environment.
For black professionals, burnout and isolation are some of the major causes for retiring early, making a career change, or opting out of the corporate environment. Many black professionals become disenfranchised from not reaping the rewards of their playing the game, wearing the mask, or choosing work over family.
The definition of black professional isolation includes both social and emotional isolation, marginalization, and tokenism. It comes from a lack of inclusion in communication streams, masking negative feelings, disrespectful treatment, or micro-inequities.
What is isolation? Limited social integration or psychological intimacy with people with similarities.
What is marginalization? Keeping someone in a powerless or unimportant position.
What is tokenism? A group being proportionally less represented than another group and others assuming they were unjustly positioned.
Here are some tips for recharging your batteries and overcoming isolation and burnout:
- Increase the flow of information in your direction by seeking out new duties and ways to assist others. Ask why questions to get to the meat of situations, issues, and concepts.
- Build your business acumen by getting up to speed on the trends, tools, and relevant people for your role, department, organization, and industry. Set up Google alerts. Follow industry thought leaders. Follow blogs. Listen to some relevant podcasts. Join organizations like The Bella Network.
- Connect with your coworkers and relevant people inside and outside your organization, department, or team – social coffee breaks, virtual parties, relevant LinkedIn connections, and professional organizations like The Bella Network.
- Fine-tune your relationships with a difficult boss, with past coworkers, with relevant LinkedIn connections – learn how to cope with a narcissist. It’s all about having good leadership skills like what you can learn attending sessions with The Bella Network.
- Find joy around the office or with other professionals by volunteering, mentoring, joining employee resource groups within your company, or forging bonds outside your company with other professional Black women networking groups, like The Bella Network.
- Add affirmations and pictures of yourself with other Black professional women after you clean up your office. Having that daily reminder that you aren’t alone is crucial.
- Upgrade your skills by taking an online or virtual course in areas outside of your current skill base. Join cross-industry organizations and learn how they accomplish a similar task.
- Decide to be happy at work and stop giving the power to control your happiness level to others. Stop taking things personally. It isn’t you. It is what you represent. You may not have the power and influence to change what you don’t like, but you do have the power to change your attitude. Know your purpose for going to work and building a solid professional future, and it will provide you clarity when things are difficult.
Join networks like The Bella Network!!
Yes, in some companies and industries, black professionals are a rarity. The notion of being the “first” or the “only one” in a company, or a department or a division within a company or industry, is still part of Black professionals’ contemporary condition. Promotion to the manager level or higher is automatically an isolating experience where previous networks of work associates now become subordinates. Black women still cannot count on being understood and embraced by mainstream White corporate professionals. This includes White women, as they don’t bear the double burden of racism and sexism. Secondly, many White professional women don’t bear the same family burden as Black women professionals.
Only when we have a better understanding of the workplace and how to overcome its challenges and position ourselves for opportunities will the environment become more inviting and welcoming to Black women’s myriad of talents and skills. Yet, Black women don’t have to leave this up to White Corporate America to figure out. Black women can make a difference for each other. Black women who participate in organizations like The Bella Network know how cathartic it feels when they can talk openly and candidly about the truth of their professional lives and discuss best practices. Learn more about The Bella Network and how to become a member.