Seeking Out- an Overlooked Career Skill

Author: Harrinei Kumaravel

While creating a career for yourself is vital, sustaining it is the real win. Sustenance depends on how we combine our professional and personal spheres. While it is next to impossible to keep them separate, knowing when to share and what to speak is a nuanced skill.

Let’s talk about why you should talk.

Seeking out is difficult. It involves stepping out of your comfort (not necessarily healthy) zone to confront certain truths, most of which do not always bring us joy.

We have all had shades of upbringing, wide as the spectrum itself. We have beliefs imbibed, situations absorbed, crises digested and fears stitched in. These impact us in different ways and has a say on who we become as a person and how we react to situations. Sometimes, the impact might not exactly be positive. When we start internalizing our struggles, we step into a downward spiral.

This is where you should think of seeking out. There are two ways to go about it.

  • Seeking out internally
  • Seeking out externally

One cannot happen without the other. Let’s look at what these mean.

Seeking out within yourself helps observe what goes on. It is, very simply, a state of awareness of the patterns you are displaying. It could be signed as subtle as the urge to sleep long hours, not wanting to shower, or gaining/ losing appetite. Some are as harsh as anxiety and abusing alcohol or drugs. These can happen during, post, and before a crisis. Noticing and seeking out these patterns helps make a statement that something is to be taken notice of. Seeking out within is stripping all pretense and acknowledging your body’s signs. Seeking out the demons within is the first step to healing. It takes grit, but look at it this way- you heal effectively when you treat the specific ailment instead of shooting in the dark.

Seeking out externally can be more challenging. We often grow up with an understanding that adults are their problem solvers. But honestly, most of us are still children in white collars. Seek out an added perspective. One sees a wolf in a cloud, while another a dog. It can be refreshing to break individual beliefs. Seek out a friend or relative or even a therapist. You aren’t leaning on them, it is stating the current happenings instead of faking a reason. When you do not share your problem, you are housing it as a secret. Secrets are heavier than facts. When you speak, your secret becomes a fact and weighs lighter. Couple of myths to bust at this juncture:

  • Your problems are not small. People drown in the ocean depths as well as in swimming pools. Your concern is unique; so is your crisis. It is certainly non-quantifiable. Seek out when you don’t feel well.
  • Consulting a therapist does not immediately brand you as being mentally sick. It is seeking a professional perspective of people trained with such issues.

Seeking out becomes especially important in an organization. Here is the litmus test- If your mental health interferes with your work and day-to-day functioning, that is your cue to speak. Seek professional help. Many organizations have mental health counsellors and helplines. A healing mind might ask you for more rest, quiet spaces, or frequent leaves. This isn’t unnatural. To meet these requirements, you will have to have an open conversation with your higher-up. Share only what is necessary.  Make sure to understand what arrangement best works for you before you have this talk. This will make the conversation practical and steer it towards a solution. Know that, you will heal and get better as time progresses and this is but a temporary arrangement that can be modified as you progress.

Our minds know how to best heal themselves. All you have to do is understand and be kind. Until then, keep seeking out!