The Last Straw Is Upon You. What Now?

When is it time to quit? Knowing that your last straw is coming at any moment or that you are knee deep in PMS, aka Political Misery Syndrome, is key to working towards setting a plan to take control of your life and manage your current situation. Political Misery Syndrome is a coined phrase I made up which means--Passive Aggressive behavior. PMS works against you in every way possible in your career. It's painful, gut wrenching, and it kills your reputation unless...you get a plan. Personally, I have suffered from PMS more times than I care to admit. As baby boomers, we were taught to stick it out in the workplace; we were taught that dedication + commitment = the golden rule to establish ourselves as prized employees and showcase our exemplary character.

Throughout my career I often hung on by my french manicured nails to ensure I stayed the course, proved myself as a Manager, Director, Executive Vice President even COO. I wasn't going to let so and so bring me down or allow a switch of direction in the company to deter my relentless ambition to stay with the team and brand. I wanted to work through the office politics and claim my spot as the "one who was the last (wo)man standing."

Here is ONE simple solution to help you adjust your head and the time you dedicate each day to help move you in the right direction so Y-O-U are in charge and the hatchet doesn't get you first.

Regroup your day as soon as possible as follows:

60% content - this is the actual "job description" work you do for your company

40% advertising - this is time spent becoming visible via back-scratching, networking, and building your reputation by promoting yourself within and outside your company

The 60/40 Solution is about taking all that unfocused time at work--there's probably more than you think there is--and focusing it. It is about being conscious during the day and creating opportunities to be visible and connect with people inside your office and out of it. Forty percent of an 8-hour day is 3 hours and 12 minutes. You already have one hour free--it's called lunch. Take it. Use it. Make it work for you. Rather than working at your desk during lunch, work the phones. Call people you've met in your industry and feed them interesting tidbits you picked up in the trades or online. Come up with an excuse to make a lunch date with someone in the Public Relations department. PR people are amazing. They always know the critical information about the company first, and they speak to their colleagues in other companies so they may know of openings before anyone else.

That leaves another 2 hours and 12 minutes to spend on making yourself visible. Maybe you are thinking: It's Just Not Right, my employers pay me for 40 hours of "work" work. To alleviate your guilt, know that your colleagues and employers are all being counseled to do the exact same thing. The more people you know and who know you, the more skills you acquire, the more value you offer your current employer and another company. Make yourself visible and by doing so, thus you get more options.

What some might view as standing around not getting anything done and socializing, option-minded workers see as deliberately moving their careers and their companies forward by applying their "work" time to "network." So the next time you find yourself reaching your last straw PMS moments at work, take 40% of those straws and throw them to your network like kindling on a fire.