Asking For a Friend | Chapter 55
Advice from Babe to Babe
Buckle up, babes. This week’s advice column covers some of our worst workplace disappointments. Have a question of your own? Drop it in the form below to be featured in an upcoming chapter of Asking For a Friend!
My first question for you would be, “Did you have this conversation with your boss yet?” I’m assuming you did, but if you haven’t, this is a great opportunity to be vulnerable and direct about how this is affecting you. Bring up the confusion you’re experiencing, what information you would need to reduce your confusion, and then follow up by asking “What alternative steps can I take, if formal promotion paperwork can no longer be filed?” If you have had that conversation and everything is still feeling like you’re being treated unfairly, then reach out to HR. If you’re really in a large organization, promotion appeals are something they should know how—and have the power—to review and deal with appropriately. If they are able, ready and interested in keeping you, they will. If even one of those things is off, they won’t. Then, you’ll have your answer. But always start with an honest and vulnerable conversation at the source.
—Hillary Kirtland, Contributor
It really sucks when you’ve put in the work and don’t get rewarded for it, so I totally feel your pain. I would first suggest having a conversation with your manager about how you’re feeling and come up with a plan for revisiting the conversation in six months. By then, the company’s finances may change, and you can be prepared with examples of your work to prove you earned a promotion. If they still can’t provide a monetary promotion at that time, maybe there are other ways you can feel rewarded for your work, like extra vacation time, work flexibility or a higher title that would put you in a different income bracket for the following review period. I would also recommend being prepared well in advance of your next review so that if your manager doesn’t put in the effort, you will have your ducks in a row and can advocate for yourself with HR.
—Malisa Lieser, Contributor
I would definitely recommend having an open conversation with your boss. Even if the company's financial situation has her hands tied, you expressing a desire to improve and grow should be noted. I would also make sure you are documenting all of your contributions and successes to be used to advocate for yourself later in negotiations. Lastly, see if they would be willing to send you for some professional development. That’s always good to have under your belt and even better if it’s paid for. It will help you no matter what your next step is, and will also be a way to continue to show you’re committed to growing.
—Krystina Wales, Contributor
First of all, mad props to you for being able to pull yourself together enough—in the middle of a funk—and start chipping away at the problem. That’s amazing, and not something most people are able to do (go you!). Next, it sounds like there is some ambiguity in your goals, which is leading to deviation and disappointment in your process of finding fulfillment. I would challenge you to spend some time defining what would make you happy. The two “tanks” (just go with it) you list out in your scenario are your (1) being-an-artist-tank and (2) being-financially-stable-tank. Decide how much you need to fill each tank in order to be happy. If there are other tanks, take them into consideration too, but think long and hard —maybe even do a vision-boarding session—about:
What does the happiest version of you look like (how full is each tank)?
What makes that version of yourself different than who you are now (are the tank levels off balance)?
What underlying themes do you see (were there any connections)?
Did anything come up that surprised you or that you should consider as well (what weren’t you considering)?
Once you’ve got a clearer picture of the end goal, you can reevaluate where you are and map out how you get to that vision. Maybe it’s finding a new “day job” part-time that allows you to do your “dream job” when the work does come in. Maybe it’s finding a new job altogether that blends your “day” and “dream” jobs into one role. Maybe it’s an entirely different dream. But my advice would be to find a job that allows you the flexibility to do this kind of self-exploration or stick with the one you’ve got, until you figure out the best next step towards that happiest you.
—Hillary Kirtland, Contributor
I would start by pivoting the blame for your funk from yourself to other stressors in your life. Even the most successful, fulfilled people fall into funks. It’s more about managing what work environment and habits you thrive with. Luckily, habits are way easier to change than self-worth. Start with basics like working outside of the house, getting up at different times of the morning, taking intermittent breaks and scheduling creative meetings with peers to get your ideas and energy flowing.
—Mara Strobel-Lanka, BWH Creative Director
The fact that you were able to land a full-time gig despite feeling very low is admirable and I commend you for working through it. First, don’t be so hard on yourself — you’re trying, and that matters greatly. I was in a similar situation recently, and while I certainly don’t have all the answers (still working on it myself), I’ve realized that going back to the basics helps realign my thoughts with my goals, aspirations and values. Back to basics looks different for everyone, but for me it looked a little something like this:
Way more time outdoors, preferably spent phone-free to eliminate distractions. Not only does this foster a space where you can think clearly, but it also gives you the time to unwind, check in with yourself and be present in the moment. When we’re stressed, we overthink—a lot—and this can be so detrimental to our mental health, making it harder to bounce back. Spending more time in nature and giving yourself more time to be present allows for greater inner calm and clearer judgment, and it enables more focused responses to everyday life. Whether that’s working out outside, taking a walk, riding a bike, gardening or simply laying in the grass watching the clouds, more time outdoors can help you connect with yourself so you can get a better understanding of the direction you want to take.
Take care of your body. Are you eating enough fruits and veggies? Are you stretching and exercising? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting enough sleep? While at first glance these might seem unrelated to finding the right job, it’s a crucial foundation for well, life. You can’t properly focus on your dreams and schemes if your body isn’t feeling good. You’d be surprised how much clearer things seems when you’re properly fueled with vital nutrients.
Write it out, even if it’s just a few sentences per day. Not everyone is a writer, but you don’t have to be because what you’re writing is solely for you. If there are moments where your inner chatter is hard to handle, put it on paper. Try to articulate how you’re feeling and why. Write about why you love art in the first place. Write about dream collaborations and projects you’d love to get your hands on. Write about whatever comes to mind, because getting it on paper can help get it out of your head (and that can be an immense relief).
Surround yourself with people who support you, who you can trust and who inspire you to keep on keeping on. In addition to your close circle, surround yourself with others who inspire you professionally. Make a list of people who are doing things you’d like to do and reach out to them. Setting up informational interviews can help give you an idea of what others are doing, how they got there and how they handle obstacles. Not only will this give you insights, but it’ll build your network and let other like-minded people know you’re on the job market so you’ll be top-of-mind when an opportunity arises.
Keep showing up. It will get better. As cliché as it sounds, each day is a new opportunity to get to where you want to be.
—Ina Mezini, BWH Administrative Assistant
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!