Attitude Check

November 28, 2022


Another year is drawing to a close, and while this year has hopefully been less tumultuous than the last two for you, it’s still been one of change and challenge. Some who became (happily or otherwise) accustomed to working from home have since shifted to hybrid careers or are again working entirely onsite. This year, we’ve navigated our way through supply chain shortages, inflation, and recession concerns in our personal lives and careers. In addition, we’ve watched the war unfold in Europe.

We’ve heard about, and you may have engaged in, the Great Resignation. I think this represented, for many, a great reshuffling to secure better alignment with personal priorities. Then came Quiet Quitting, even as analysts warned of tough times ahead in the tech sector.

Quiet quitting gained a lot of airplay this summer, particularly concerning Gen Z. It’s nothing new. Some Boomers have been doing it since before their Millennials were born – and yes, Gen X has quit quietly. On the other hand, haven’t we all seen people who don’t outright stop but choose against going above and beyond? Anyone may feel this way on a given day or for some time, perhaps because you’ve reached what I think of as a career plateau. It can reflect a lack of advancement opportunities, or you may feel burned out, undervalued, or disengaged. It may also be a reflection of poor leadership.

Quiet firing is something else that’s been a fact of life for ages. A term for behavior designed to demoralize and nudge an employee out the door without financial implications, quiet firing may reflect a lack of fit, lackluster performance, or other visions for the role or who should fill the position.

Now, along with inflation, recession, and everything else, several people recently learned their jobs are gone. You may be one of them, or you are providing moral support to someone impacted by recent layoffs in the tech or other sectors. On the public health front in our community, we’re being encouraged – yet not mandated – to resume masking up for the winter months.

… and all this is independent of any significant life events, positive or otherwise, in our personal lives!

Even though this has been a gentler year than the outset of the 2020s, it would be unsurprising if you counted the days for this business year to wrap up without any unwanted surprises. So whether you’re gearing up to the party like it’s 1999, can’t wait to get all hygge – seeking comfort in cozy surroundings and bundled up in plush socks and blankets – or find yourself torn between these extremes, enjoy the upcoming holidays.

Enjoy the people, surroundings, activities, and downtime ahead. We’ve earned a little pause, and it’s good also to use this time for contemplation. During the holidays, think about what brings you satisfaction and pleasure. As you do so, it’s also good to undergo a little attitude check.

Have you remained resilient, positive, and proactive as this year progressed? Or have challenges impacted you to the extent that you know you’ve missed a beat here and there? Whatever your job title, people in this career are typically invested in supporting others, and we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves.

As we approach the close of ’22, take time for yourself. Make time to acknowledge and own any performance or attitude lapses. If you’ve been “quite quitting” for some time, this may be a good time to make decisions about your future. It’s equally important that we take the time also to identify and celebrate our successes. Reflect on just how much change and upheaval you’ve navigated in the last couple of years, and consider how you can tap into the lessons and skills you gained as you move forward in your career. Identify and act on interests that nurture your resilience and sense of well-being. Be intentional as you either maintain or reset your attitude toward work and life as we embark on 2023.


About the Author: Shelagh Donnelly educates and inspires assistants on topics ranging from meetings and minutes to business acumen, cybersecurity, and working with boards. She helps assistants nurture their adaptability, productivity, and resilience to enjoy their careers and continue to add value even as roles evolve. An international speaker, Shelagh worked with C-level executives for over 25 years and is recognized for her governance expertise. Shelagh founded her globally read Exceptional EA website in 2013 and is the author of the upcoming book, The Resilient Assistant.  

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