OUCH: The State of Work

I was at my dentist a couple of weeks ago. He made a remark about how long it had been since my last visit. I countered by saying how difficult it is to get an appointment. At my curt statement he sighed deeply, sat down and told me his story.

His practice is within a major institution, not a private office. Over the past few years, they have lost dentists for a variety of reasons and the positions have not been filled. At the same time, there has been an increase in people calling for appointments due to various changes in insurance. He is exhausted, bitter but still dedicated to his work.

Sound familiar?

It is an epidemic. No matter what industry you are in, no matter where you live and work, many of us are experiencing what I call O.U.C.H.: Overworked, Underpaid but Committed and Herculean.

Having called a team meeting this week, I was surrounded by faces screaming OUCH. My directors are exhausted—no one works harder than they do. But with smiles on their faces, they were ready to tackle the week. Here’s what I shared with them.

  • Take care of yourself. Use your time off when you can. Let the truly small stuff go when possible. Eat well. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Remember, if you get sick, your to-do list is a moot point.
  • Ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re a failure, a poor worker or under productive. Sometimes, too much to do is TRULY TOO MUCH TO DO. If the powers that be insist on piling on more tasks and responsibilities, ask for their help prioritizing your work.
  • Laugh and celebrate. Recently, we had a Hump Day Celebration to honor making it through the first half of the week. Silly? Of course. Worth the smiles? Most certainly.

What helps you slog through your OUCH-y weeks? If you are a manager, how do you help your employees?

Submitted by Robyn-Jay Bage


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