Men everywhere often face a great deal of pressure in their respective careers, with few straightforward outlets for dealing with that pressure. To make matters worse, this pressure is often multidirectional and multifaceted. Within their respective careers, men feel pressure to work long hours, achieve exceptional results, and outdo other people within their team. In their families and circles of friends, they may feel pressure to earn more money or get a specific job title. And they may feel pressure to exhibit stereotypically masculine traits, “sucking it up” when they feel overwhelmed and shutting down, rather than expressing their true feelings.
So how are you supposed to deal with this complex and burdensome pressure?
Choose the Right Career
First, you can try to choose the best possible career for yourself. Rather than conforming to the expectations of people around you, try to choose a career that’s a good fit for you, personally. Think about things like:·
Personal interest. How much do you genuinely care about this career? Is it something you enjoy doing? Could you see yourself spending years in this field? The only drawback here is that your interests may not align with other areas; you may love the idea of becoming a video game streamer, but this is rarely a financially viable path.·
Security and reliability. Some men feel less pressure when they have a stable, secure career path. For example, once you pass your CPA exam and become a certified accountant, you can almost guarantee yourself possible employment indefinitely. This can give you a great sense of relief.·
Flexibility and commitment. Other men may feel better if they have a career that offers more flexibility, with fewer long-term commitments. For example, instead of investing years in education and licensing, you could pick up a side hustle and do independent contractor work full-time.·
Fulfillment/rewards. How do you feel about your career? Is this just the means to get a paycheck, or do you feel like you’re doing something meaningful for the world? You might feel less pressure in a role that makes you feel good.·
Culture and stress. Workplace culture and environment have a massive impact on your stress levels. Do you prefer to work with a team or by yourself? Do you like rigid structure or open-ended possibilities? Do you want to work inside or outside?Salary, benefits, and future growth are also important considerations, but these may not bring you as much personal fulfillment.Of course, “choosing the right career” introduces pressure of its own. Try not to get too overwhelmed by the options, and remember that it’s perfectly okay to change careers if one isn’t working out for you.
Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Even if you choose a career you genuinely love, you have to remember that your career doesn’t define you. You also need to have a thriving personal life, and develop that life to feel less total pressure. The easiest way to do this is to take more frequent breaks and vacations; throughout the day, you need to walk away from your desk and computer, and allow your brain to decompress. Throughout the year, you need to take several days off in a row and get a break from your daily routine. The physical and mental benefits of this are undeniable.
If you consider yourself a workaholic, schedule your breaks and vacations as if you’d schedule an important meeting. Make this a priority.
Define and Adhere to Your Own Values
You can also relieve pressure by defining and adhering to your own set of values. What’s important to you in a career? Are these truly your values, or are you just parroting what other people are saying because you think you have to? If you find yourself in a position where your personal values are in conflict with the workplace’s values, you may need to change careers—or at least strive to make an environmental change that better supports your values.
One of the most important things you can do is talk about your pressure. Just expressing your feelings can instantly bring you a sense of relief, and if you find a good conversational partner, you may be able to work together to come up with potential solutions for your problems. If you have a spouse, relative, or close friend, go out of your way to talk openly to them. Otherwise, consider talking to a trusted coworker or a therapist.
The first step to take in reducing career-related pressure is to acknowledge that it exists. Use meditation, journaling, and regular introspection to get in better touch with your thoughts and feelings, and recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed. No career is truly pressure-free, but it’s within your power to take control of that pressure—and hopefully reduce it to manageable levels.
This content is sponsored by Larry Alton.
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