by Catherine Wuillaume (Belgium)

‘Alienation means you don’t feel at ease in any situation, any place, or with any person, not even with yourself. You are always trying to get home, but never feel at home’ – Eckhart Tolle

Coming back from work that night, Elena felt very unsettled by a remark from her boss. ‘This report is not good enough, you should rework it and I need it by tomorrow afternoon.’ She felt frustrated and angry; she had already spent two full days revising the document and numerous evenings thinking about it. It seemed as if she could never meet his high standards. Tiredness and powerlessness overtook her. She wanted to quit her job then and there. All her investment in the last 5 years did not generate the recognition she expected. Was it really worth it?  She reviewed the gains: a good salary, bonuses, perks, a comfortable environment, nice colleagues, but at what price? She suddenly realised how much the involvement around her job had overtaken a lot of areas in her life. She thought about it while exercising at the gym, on errands or cooking a meal, even at night after putting her children to bed. Actually, she felt guilty not thinking about it.

She felt compelled to continuously find ways to meet her boss’s standards. A dreadful insight hit her – she could never satisfy him, even if spending all her waking hours. Quitting, although appealing, was not an option.

Although she felt a knot in her stomach, Elena decided to inform her boss that her report would no longer be modified. She felt torn between her anger and her fear of being fired. Which could have the worse long-term consequences; ignoring her work/life balance or going against her boss’ expectations? She made the decision, then and there, that at forty years old she was going to choose more balance, and trust that she was competent to find another job, if necessary.

Source: iCN Issue 22  (Wellness & Holistic Coaching); pages 29-31

About Catherine Wuillaume

Catherine Wuillaume is a coach in mindfulness with more than 25 years of experience in corporations as an internal and external coach both in the USA and Europe. Today she helps leaders, managers and individuals from both continents, along the journey of finding inner peace and joy.