Don’t stress it alone, find a mentor
According to a recent Gallup report, workers worldwide are experiencing high levels of stress. And women in the U.S. are experiencing stress to an even greater degree, with 57% agreeing that they experienced stress “a lot of the day yesterday”. That’s more than our U.S. male counterparts at 48%, and over ten points higher than the global average for women (46%).
Although we may think we’ve managed through the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, clearly there’s a lot of recovery still needed. When NYWICI commissioned our WomenHeard research in 2021 we learned that women in the communications field were more negatively impacted by the pandemic than the general population, therefore I believe those stress numbers could be even higher for women in the U.S. communications industry.
As our employers and leaders continue to navigate the best way forward, how do we manage our careers while experiencing so much stress? Well, the first thing we need to do is find others to learn from, confide in, and share experiences with. Whether you see it as a formal endeavor or just casual connections with colleagues, creating and nurturing mentoring relationships finding peers, more seasoned professionals, or young up-and-comers with fresh ideas can help you feel grounded and supported as you navigate your career journey. I love how Linda Descano describes the “big M” and the “little m” of mentoring; both have value, but what you cannot do is make the idea of mentoring so big in your mind that you don’t pursue it.
It really comes down to effort and commitment. Like any good relationship, it’s rooted in mutual respect, reciprocity, and trust. The key is connecting with someone who listens and who “gets you”. No one has a magic solution, but ultimately you want to find someone you can exchange ideas with, surface uncomfortable truths about how you’re feeling at work, and who has enough of an understanding of your career environment to offer practical advice.
Remember, a mentor can come from anywhere so always be open to the possibility. Making an ask of a person you admire can feel intimidating, so don’t shy away from leveraging relationships with current colleagues and close friends who can make personal introductions. Alumni networks can offer an “in” thanks to shared community and experience, as do associations and clubs. I’ve benefitted incredibly from women I admire within the NYWICI community. I’ve received invaluable advice that has helped steer my career and how I value myself.
It’s the two-way nature of a strong mentoring relationship that’s priceless. Both parties learn and benefit from the experience and it can act as a major de-stressor. I know for myself it does. I leave every mentoring conversation invigorated and energized. I’m inspired by the exchange of ideas and mutual benefit. As one of my mentees, Miranda Montenegro, stated so perfectly. “I understand the profound effect people, because of their positions and/or influence, can impact the success of others. That is why it is incredibly important to pay it forward through mentoring and working to have a seat at the table where I can have the ability to influence or provide opportunities for others.”