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Where is the grace?

Posted on April 1, 2021
Image of a business woman with her head in her hands with many colorful arrows pointing at her.

When the pandemic interrupted our daily lives a little over a year ago, we had no idea how long the interruption would last or the lasting impact it would have. There are a number of silver linings, some of which I have discussed in prior posts, and there are – of course – challenges. But one thing that impressed me was the grace we extended to one another. We were understanding of our colleagues who had toddlers at home or elementary-aged children needing assistance with their Zoom classes. Some of our colleagues have had to share workspaces with their partners and others with their partners and their children. And others have had to care for elder parents while also caring for their young children while also doing their “paying” job. And we gave space and consideration for the stresses our colleagues were feeling. What happened? Where is that grace now?

Now it seems, we have shifted to a 24-hour work cycle. We are being asked to do more and more. We are asked to attend three separate meetings all at the same time and are expected to be at all three and while we know none of us have access to Hermione’s time turner in Harry Potter, so attending multiple meetings at once is physically impossible.

We all struggle with what day it is and some have referred to every day as Blursday – for obvious reasons. And it does not help when the expectation is to get the job done regardless of the time it takes, etc. We seem to have forgotten about self-care and the necessity for a good work-life balance. Or, at worst, our proclamations about practicing self-care are hypocrisy packaged in an email to appearance sake only.

I say “We” because there are two roles in this game of cat and mouse. If you are feeling overworked, overwhelmed, overtired and are just plain over it, then YOU must advocate for yourself. You have to find a way to communicate how you are feeling and set appropriate and reasonable boundaries to protect both your physical and mental health. I am not suggesting complaining, but rather being strategic in your approach. Here are some different approaches:

  • Offer a suggestion or potential solution
  • Think about the work others around you do, would some shifting allow for more productivity in less time
  • Ask your manager to help you set reasonable priorities
  • Reach out to a mentor
  • Talk to your Human Resources Representative
  • Block out some time on your calendar to ensure you have time to complete your work

We cannot continue down this path indefinitely without consequences and for some those consequences can be extreme. But if you do not advocate for yourself, no one else is likely to. So, YOU have to stand up and ensure you protect yourself before you feel those consequences. Before any consequences have longer terms effects.


Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Dean, Graduate College
Assistant Clinical Professor & Dept. Head, Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in leadership-management-skills, professional-development-career-tips