This meeting sucked. The organizer had lost complete control. Discussions went from factual to emotional. Three conversations were happening at once. And then, a crier.
I knew the crier well. She was on my team and I had worked with her over a year. She was solid; able to take on any issue quickly and get it resolved. She could talk to anyone about any topic. She was a rock star on the project and very valuable to her team in operations. But something this day made her crack. I never saw it coming.
Noticing the uncomfortable silence in the room, we quickly ended the meeting. I asked her to stay behind as did one of our executives. She said after working 60 hours a week on the project as well as her “day job,” she was fried. She tried to stay positive at work but her family was paying the price when she came home grumpy. We all knew she was the “go-to” person and the more she talked, I began to appreciate the stress she was under.
To the exec’s credit, he took over. “I know you’ve been working a lot with no break for a few months. I also know you’ve been filling in for others who are back from vacation. Now, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burned out. I want you to document the status of your projects and daily work, and delegate tasks to others. I need you to detach, get some perspective for a few days and come back more refreshed.”
We all get stressed. Some of us can handle it better than others. But eventually, we all hit a limit. When that happens, you need to find a way to detach and gain perspective. Some people take a “mental health” day, others need a vacation, and others work themselves into being sick and stay in bed a couple days. Any way you look at it, sometimes you have to take a step back, review your priorities, refocus on what’s important, and take time for yourself and those you love.
As for the employee, she was able to spend a few days with her family. Because of work, we found out she had missed some kids events and was feeling like a failure as a mom. But after a few quality days, she had a renewed energy and was back to her superstar status!