The recent “all for one and all in the office” decision by Yahoo has spurred a huge debate. Having spent most of my career deep in the heart of geek-land at a few global companies, here is my take on the situation – and it probably isn’t what you’d expect. First the disclaimer – this is my opinion and mine alone so please don’t read into this anything about my current or former day jobs.
This is really quite simple. It’s about choices and the ups and downs that are life. Is Marissa Mayer’s office-only choice for Yahoo good or bad? Time will tell. I could argue both sides of her decision fairly well actually. What I find annoying is the huge backlash this has caused. A company made a decision, like companies do every day, and that’s about it. What people do as a result is purely a personal matter.
If you’re affected by the Yahoo decision or you work at any company that makes a decision that runs counter to your values or creates immense disruption in your life, then you have some choices to make.
First, you have to decide if you’re going to be a victim or if you are going to be the captain of your own future.
Have your short-term pity party; cry; scream; whatever you need to do, just get it out of your system. Then get down to work creating the life you want. You have choices whether you see them immediately or not and the most important one is deciding if you want life to happen TO you and be the victim, or if you want to be happy and be the captain of your future. You make this choice whether you consciously think about it or not.
Second, you have to decide how long you can live with the impact of the company’s decision.
Living with the consequences should have an end date for your own sanity. Ask yourself – what would need to happen for me to make this work for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a year? Depending on your seniority, it can easily take a year to find something new. Know what your drop-dead date is so you can work back from there. In the meantime, have a coping strategy to get you through.
Third you have to decide what is really important to you.
This is a personal, no-judgment list. If it is important to you to be home when your kids get off the school bus then put it on the list. If it is important for you to have a flexible environment where you have an office and work at home options – put it on the list. If the type of people you work with is important – add it to the list. If economic security is important, it goes on the list. Then add how you want to feel when you’re working – calm, centered, valued, happy, like the sun is shining every day…. all that goes on the list right up at the top. You know that saying that people will forget what you say, often forget what you’ve done, but never forget how you made them feel? Well jobs are just like that. You’ll forget what people said, you won’t remember every activity that happened, but you will always remember how you felt in a job so make sure you have a list of how you want to feel in your new job both when you’re on the job and outside of work as well.
So you have decided to be the captain of your future, you know how long you can last in your current situation, you have a coping strategy and you have your list of things important to you. Excellent!
From here, compare the list of what is important to your current situation.
Where are the gaps? What can you cut out of your current life and what needs to be added? What would closing the gaps include? What order should you tackle the gaps? What help do you need to close them? This is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll create a series of projects to work on – and make sure you break these into projects so you can celebrate accomplishing them as you go. Then get to work. Start with one project, and get moving. Call people whose help you need. Update your resume if needed. Update your social media profiles. Read, make phone calls, write emails… whatever it takes to make your project complete, make it happen.
During all this, you do need to allow yourself to recover as well.
If you don’t preserve your energy and recharge, you will end up worse than you started – exhausted, in a job you hate and with major disruption in the rest of your life – truly miserable and no one wants that.
Often during times like this, financial security is a big concern. So when you’re planning how to recharge yourself, think about the little things that can have a big impact. Take your dog for a walk every day. Go for a walk yourself every day – fresh air and a little sunshine can make a big difference. Allow yourself to read something non-project related every day. Rent all the episodes of your favorite TV show, make a huge bowl of popcorn and settle in one Saturday for a marathon of couch-potato goodness. Call your best friends each week and ask them to help you check in on your progress and also to talk about something completely unrelated to your current situation. Most importantly take care of your health – physical, mental and spiritual – because good health can so easily be taken for granted, yet so quickly lost if not attended to. Make appointments with yourself to recharge and keep them with all the determination that you would keep an important business appointment.
Personal pep talks are also critical.
You will have ups and downs in this process. But do make a practice of starting each day with a pep talk. You can do this! You can change your plans when and if needed so you are never trapped. You have people who care about you and want you to be happy. You deserve to be happy. Many people write a short pep talk or list of affirmations and read them each morning. Choose what you like here, but make sure you start each day with a little personal motivation. Keep it positive because good thoughts create good realities. Leave the negative stuff for someone else – it has no place in your future.
When you have a bad day or just feel a bit defeated, take a pause. It is ok to pause.
If you find yourself thinking “I’m never going to get out of here…” Then pause. Right then and right there, pause. See if you can identify what triggered the negative thought and how you can extract yourself from that cause in the future. And then set it right. Instead of thinking “I’m never going to get out of here…” think “Each step is a lesson and a gift. I am making progress toward my goal. I can do this. I am doing this. I am successful. domain name appraiser I am thankful for this journey.”
Make sure to celebrate the milestones as you close each gap.
Whether that means blasting your favorite song and dancing like no one is watching; eating an ice cream cone; writing “I DID IT!” in big letters on your plan and posting it on your wall…whatever it is that gets you jazzed to celebrate your momentum, do it.
You have choices.
You always have and you always will. How you make them and what you do as a result determines how happy you are overall. So if you work at Yahoo or anywhere else and the company makes a decision that disrupts your life… remember that it is short term because you can set your future and you can make it happen in spite of some silly corporate directive.