For a long time, I thought I wasn’t normal. I was professionally successful, worked in a great company, with a positive corporate culture and was a valued employee. Nevertheless, somehow I felt that I wasn’t good enough and I worked more and more intensively.
At the beginning of 2018, I went to Hong Kong with my family to set up a branch office and was promoted to partner this year. In Hong Kong, I was the only manager responsible for sales, hiring, leadership, marketing (nobody knew us there) and at the same time, I was also a project manager in a big bank project. Within one year we grew to 20 employees, who all enthusiastically helped to build up the new company. But I had been so exhausted by the year that I hardly slept at night, got depressed and anxious and could no longer work. I was in burnout.
I asked myself: Why is it hitting me? When I look at my friends and acquaintances, they also work a lot, but they don’t seem to mind. What is wrong with me?
I decided to deal openly with my illness and was shocked: Nearly every man I told about my problems told me in return, either how badly he had been or is still feeling from work. Some of them asked me shyly what the symptoms were because they were afraid that it was similar to you and that they had not been able to talk to anyone about it.
I discovered that good friends of mine, who are CEOs of over 10,000 employees, admit that their doctor diagnosed burnout years ago, but they don’t dare get off the hamster wheel. Another friend told me that he suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts for 3 years due to work. And that was at a time when I already knew him! I found out: I am not abnormal – we all are, so we tear ourselves apart in our jobs to… Yeah, to do what exactly?
Have you had similar experiences? Do you fit into the norm or are you an “outlier”?