In this post, “Bridgett” shares her story, in her own words as part of the Voices series. As a reminder, sharing with anonymity is still authentic, the act of sharing is what matters.

I am sitting on a plane, leaving vacation. My first trip to Europe in over 25+ years, frankly.

You want to talk about work stress. I almost cancelled this trip of a lifetime. Why? Oh, well see there is this massive tech event. I waited for dates. After 5ish months, no date. We booked the trip. It was for two major celebrations. And yes, you guessed it. As soon as we booked, the dates were announced.  And yes, the event lands 2 weeks post trip. I was hinted to cancel. I almost freaking did. Then I remembered. It’s just a job. A job I haven’t had a solid bonus or promo at in over 3 years. I am a number, my work ethic won’t change, my job may change, and my family / marriage has to always forever come first. 

Why do I share? Well,  because over my time in tech (it’s been a hot min) I have never felt enough. Either not technical enough, not even my college background felt enough, etc. This stress affected me daily. Every single day I walked into the office, I turned on my laptop, answered an email, ran a meeting and every meeting I attended. Then I realized I am more than enough. If we all coded, no one would buy shit. If we all were marketers nothing would be created by our technical friends. If we were all data driven, we wouldn’t have storytellers who engage an audience and captivate people to the love and human side of the tech we build (and therefore, buy).

Over my career, I have meandered my way in a number of disciplines. You name a thing, product, program, I have probably done it to some extent.

After finally landing in the role I am in now, I feel like I found where I belong. I love it here. I love what I work on, how busy I am and how far reaching our impact can go. What I find odd is taking a pay cut to do what I love because (long story) so, Diversity & Inclusion (I scratch my head, I get it but I don’t). Also, after years of being at (redacted company) I find myself checking the boxes of promotion, we all know there will always be a list to promo with all the bells and whistles of corporate America and yet it never seems to be enough. I have an extensive work background with a college degree and until recently, I have kids fresh out of college joining the ranks with a similar if not higher title.  And yet, I keep working my tail off because quite frankly, that’s my nature and my goal is a promotion. Soon. This will happen.  I believe it because I know good things will come with hard work, determination, and dedication.

So what do I do to combat my stress:

  1. Get moving. Run, walk the dog, jump on a treadmill – move
  2. Meditate. I review what I have accomplished. What positive feedback I have received and bridges I have built to foster team and community
  3. Reality check. It’s a job. Not a marriage. Not a will and trust. It will change
  4. Learnings. Every role has taught me something. Every role has helped me grow. I remember those teaching tools
  5. What do I love. Find the projects I love and have passion for, raise my hand or jump in but get engaged.
  6. Find my voice. Advocating for myself has always been hard. Like the definitive interview question that we all clam up on “So, tell me about yourself” But if stress has taught me nothing, not advocating for myself is a worse feeling that the sweaty feeling of not being loud about my accomplishments.
  7. Therapy. For years I was against this. Why on earth should I tell a stranger how screwed up my head is and my life. Well, simply put, because they will give you the tools to be stronger than you think you can be and handle stress with grace and dignity. ( and remind you that you may not be as screwed up as you think 😊)
  8. Be your own competitor.If I compare myself to others, I will always chase my tail. Keep focusing on doing better tomorrow than I did today.

Everyone has a story, this is currently mine and I hope by sharing it helps to motivate and encourage others to keep going.

In the end let’s hope we all have a happy ending. I believe we will.