I had left a job working for the number one automotive supplier in the world and a brand new pristine facility to go work for a company that had some serious problems and was in deep need of a turn around. My husband thought I was crazy, but I love a good challenge.
Even though at times it felt as if I had went backward by 20 years in management culture, I felt the most proud of the work I had accomplished there. Some of my best work as an HR professional happened at that plant. My favorite accomplishment was the implementation of a leadership development program for front-line leaders.
All was well until another new plant manager arrived, who unfortunately did not value training as I did. In one fell swoop during a morning production meeting, he single handedly dismantled my well-developed training program. I had to cancel everything and I mean everything. A couple of hours later in a budget meeting, he took all of my budget dollars for training and gave them to another department, just in case anyone thought he was kidding.
Wow. I never saw this coming. This was just the beginning of a dismantling of everything I had spent the past two years building. It was a highly stressful time and if I could have called off for a mental health day every day, I would have. But, I had to keep going. After all, I like a good challenge, right?
To survive the culture shock I was now in, this is what I did – I lived moment by moment from Monday to Friday. I focused on getting to my next favorite moment of the day. It went something like this:
- A nice, long hot shower every morning. I got up extra early to do this. It was a slow wake-up under hot running water that gently eased me into my day
- Grabbing my favorite breakfast meal in a drive-through to enjoy during my 45 minute commute
- During my commute, I drove over two large bodies of water. I could physically feel my blood pressure dropping just by absorbing the lake views.
- Listening to my favorite praise and worship music, and talking to God was a comfort in my car
- Seeing my favorite people at work once I arrived helped me start my work day
- Going to lunch with colleagues and having a few good laughs refreshed me
- Driving my long commute back home with the music and lake views again de-stressed me.
- Seeing my children and hearing all about their day once I safely arrived back home satisfied me
- Crawling up in bed with my hubs each night for his wonderful back rubs relaxed me
- Bible study and prayer journaling – seeking God’s face sustained me
- Enjoying a massage during my lunch hour every Friday, which alone was worth continuing to work in that town…forever, rejuvenated me.
Focusing on the things that mattered and that I really enjoyed got me through that stressful season of my worklife. Perhaps you are in a fiery furnace right now; I recommend that you make your own list of favorite moments.
MEANWHILE BACK AT HOME…
My daughter had a gained a nemesis, and so every night at home turned into a counseling session on how to deal with the drama. Oh, the joys and challenges of parenting preteen girls! I really wanted her to fight back and humiliate this little tyrant who was “ruining” her life but that would accomplish nothing, nor would it be Christ-like. At times, my daughter would cry and beg to be homeschooled, but that was not feasible for us.
I have two daughters—one with a strong-willed attitude that no one would mess with, and the other with a too-soft heart. It was in times like these, I would wish this daughter was tougher, but that was not her personality. She is just too stinking sweet for her own good and that made all of this even more heart-wrenching for me.
So, what did I do? I repeatedly told her to turn the other cheek, return goodness for meanness, and we prayed for my daughter and her frenemy. Did the frenemy change? Nope, not at all. But, it did build character in my daughter. She survived, and is better for it.
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:15
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Whether at work or play, we cannot control others, but we can control how we react to others. I was living under duress at work and she was living under it at school. It was important that we both found ways to cope in our situations and respond appropriately to our “bullies.”
They say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” but that is not always feasible in real life. We can’t always quit our jobs or our schools when things heat up.
With that being said, summer is coming and things will be heating up soon. If you are an HR or Safety professional, now is the time to begin prepping our Heat Stress programs. I’ve got some sure-fire tips for sprucing yours up in the slideshow below:
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the principal of a human resources firm specializing in recruiting, training and strategic planning for the automotive industry. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.