Leaving academia after your PhD or postdoc, where to start?

Leaving academia after your PhD or postdoc, where to start? sagitta peters coach loopbaancoaching burnout coaching, coaching voor hoger opgeleiden, academici, universiteit, promovendi, technici, ingenieurs, engineers, academic staff, phd students, postdocs, university, eindhoven, utrecht, amsterdam, nijmegen, rotterdam, tilburg, career coaching, expats, international, english

Hi! Are you a PhD or postdoc and thinking of your next career step, maybe leaving academia? To start with the good news: almost all professionals with a PhD degree in the Netherlands are employed! On the other hand, although many PhD students start with the ambition of an academic career, only twenty percent finds employment in the academic world. Of whom even fewer become full professor…

Along the road quite some PhD students and postdocs realize that they will be happier with, or better suited for, a career outside the university. However, your supervisor mainly knows the academic world or is focused on research only. In the end, career orientation is not always getting the attention it deserves. So what to do if you would like to or if you’re forced to find a job outside the university? Here I will share some tips on where to start when planning to leave academia after your PhD or postdoc.

You’re not the only one leaving academia

The numbers above tell it all. About eighty percent leaves the academic world, and only a few percent makes it as a full professor. And still, quite some people think that they are alone in their struggles about what to do… But no, you are not! You just don’t know of the others. Therefore it is good to share your thoughts about leaving academia with your colleagues, friends or in the PhD association. In this way, you won’t feel as lonely, you can learn from and support each other and celebrate successes.

Skills

Your PhD title is not getting you a job. Employers outside academia (companies, government, education etc) value the professional skills you most probably have gained as a PhD student, for instance working independently, project-based working, written communication skills including writing papers, and presenting. In addition, they often regards your research skills, obtained by working on a really specific topic, as important.

Your training program

You can strengthen these skills even further by doing some courses (often offered in the training program of your university). In this way you might get a head start over the others applying for the same job. You might also think of developing new skills by following courses about for example guiding students, giving feedback (because these are relevant for collaborating), planning, project management etc. Moreover, these courses will also help you to get more insight in the type of tasks and work you would like to do.

If you’re an international working in the Netherlands (or any other country) and you plan on pursuing your career in that same country, it might be wise to learn the language.

Know what you have to offer

The skills mentioned above are often called transferrable skills. You can use them in a variety of situations and jobs. In addition to these, you will also have more content related skills and knowledge: in depth knowledge about a certain topic, procedure or method. Or think of skills for building a certain set-up or programming a robot.

Last but not least, there is the group of self-management skills (qualities or strengths in other words ). Here you can think of being open, honest, communicative, dedicated, detailed, humorous, adventurous, observant, idealistic, quick learner.

Knowing about your skills and strengths makes it easier to see if a certain job will fit you. On the other hand, it will also give you a good basis for job interviews, as you can more easily answer the questions of the employer.

Explore new worlds

There are many more options for fulfilling careers outside academia than you initially might think of. Check your LinkedIn feed for ideas, just by noticing the organisation other people work for. If it makes you curious, read more about that organisation and what they do (and how). You might also notice the variety of jobs people work in, for instance research and development, marketing, consultancy, production, services, education, management, sales, policy making, communication etc. There are many non-research jobs at universities as well.

At career fairs you get the chance to talk to employees from several organisations quite easily and with a relatively low investment of time. It will also help you in broadening your network – more about that in the next paragraphs! And although the impression you get there might not be the complete picture, it will give some directions.

Your network has lots of knowledge

You might not always really realize it, but your neighbours, family members, high school friends, and team members of your sports team, they all have (had) a professional life as well. Jobs in a variety of areas and organisations. They will very likely be happy to share their experiences with you.

Did I already mention your network?

Let me be clear. I’m not a huge fan of going to drinks and exchanging as many cards as possible with whoever you will meet. It doesn’t fit me, and I also don’t think it has too much use either. However, getting in contact with people that I can help, or who can help me, based on some similarities or shared interests, that I do like. It has brought me lots of good stuff, like knowledge, projects and new clients.

Getting into contact with professionals who can help you is not that difficult. You can ask a shared contact to introduce you, or you send them a message yourself. A short and kind email, with a clear reason, question or goal of your request is key. And if you go for coffee or lunch, be the one that pays for it 😉

If the above didn’t convince you, be aware that these days about only about thirty percent of all vacancies are advertises in the ‘conventional’ way (job advertisements in the newspaper, on the internet, LinkedIn etc). About seventy percent of these vacancies have been filled in other ways, often network related. You won’t know if you will be one of those lucky ones, however when people do not know about you, you will miss the boat for sure.

You are not your work

We tend to say: I AM a researcher, I AM a PhD student or I AM postdoc, but actually you WORK as a PhD student or postdoc or researcher. Your job is obviously connected to who you are, but it is not the same. So when you change jobs, or need to re-adjust your career wishes, and you are afraid of what people might when you would be leaving academia think please don’t worry too much. Because you will still be a nice and valuable person and a good friend/partner/child/…

You are not your work. This also implies that that there are many more jobs you can do. Therefore thinking of all the skills (both self-management and transferrable) and knowledge you have is a way better starting point.

Start today

As you might have concluded form the above, career orientation takes time. Doing some research, meeting people, doing a training and reflection of who you are and what you can do, it all will take time. In the last year of your PhD, while finishing your research and writing your thesis, that’s exactly the thing most people do not have. Also when you’re at the end of your postdoc contract and as a result want to finish as much as you can, time is probably not your best friend either… So start in time, better today than tomorrow, and make some time for it!

Do you want to read more?

I’ve published more blogs about career, personal development and burnout. You’ll find them here. On Facebook you can follow Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching to stay informed on new blogs, or you can follow me on LinkedIn.

Do you need some support?

Do you have questions about your personal development or career (maybe thinking about leaving academia?) and do you want to learn more about how I can help you with that?
Or do you experience burnout or other stress related symptoms?
Please contact me to plan a thirty minute introductory meeting (without obligations and free of charge). This will give you an impression how we could work on your questions or goals. After this meeting you can decide if you like to start coaching with me or not.

On my English page you can read more about career coaching and burnout coaching and my way of working.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Photo Leaving academia after your PhD or postdoc: Ross Findon via Unsplash

How to manage stress during your student days

How to manage stress during your student days, How to face stress during your student days, stress student life, work pressure student, student loan, student burnout

During my time at the university, your student days were called ‘the best time of your life’. Although life luckily had (and hopefully will have) many more good times for me, I doubt if people still use this quote that easily.

Student life seems to have gotten surrounded with more worries and stress. The current system with student loans implies large debts for many students. Employers ask more of their future employees, from high grades to extensive CVs. On top of that social media allow us to compare ourselves with others in the blink of an eye – while often showing an incomplete picture, hiding less beautiful bits and pieces. And although it might be possible to handle all of these, be aware of not getting into a toxic cocktail of severe stress. In this article I give some ways to better manage stress during your student days.

Stress

First, stress does have its positive sides. A bit of stress helps us through life. It makes you more alert and gives the extra energy needed to meet a deadline or to pass an exam. However, when experiencing stress becomes part of your daily life, it’s another story. Continual stress causes physical and mental symptoms and might even result in (near) burnout: you’ve been pushing yourself too hard for too long.

Short outbursts of stress increase your heart rate and cause sweaty hands. These signals fade away when the stress situation ends. Continual stress has different outings like stomach issues or headaches, problems with concentrating, anxiety or emotional instability. Eventually you might reach a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion.

How to manage stress?

There are several things you can do to cope with stress and stressful situations in a more effective way (meaning good for you and your health). They range from healthy living habits, to being conscious about what you really like in life and what you don’t, to introducing time to truly relax your brain.

Introduce healthy habits

Proper self-care should be a habit like brushing your teeth twice a day: routine. Go for healthy foods, not too much coffee and alcohol, and make sure you get the amount of sleep you really need (not the amount you can survive on). Take breaks every hour or two.
Thirty minutes of light, daily outdoor exercise relieves stress and releases happy hormones. A walk or bicycle ride is perfect and sports is fine as well!
A crucial part of self-care is thinking nicely about yourself. You’re as valuable as everyone else! Become aware of the thoughts that make you be hard on yourself.

What about work pressure?

The study load has several peaks during the academic year and for most students these are stressful periods. The university has a responsibility to spread the work pressure wisely, however making an adequate planning will help you a lot as well. Why wait for the deadline to finish a paper, especially when that deadline is during exam period? Postponing work (‘studieontwijkend gedrag’) increases stress.

Share not only the happy stuff

On social media life might seem all rainbows, glitter and unicorns, but real life isn’t! Share it with your friends when you have an off-day, when you feel stuck or if the tasks in your project group have not been assigned evenly. It might feel difficult in the beginning, but showing more vulnerability pays off. You can read more about this in ‘The power of vulnerability’ by Brené Brown. This is one of my favourite books and there is a great TED talk from her on YouTube as well.

Energy sources and drains

To keep your energy tank full, it is important that more energy goes in than goes out. You can make a list of all the things that give you energy (sources) and those that are energy drains in private life, study and work. You might also track this on a daily basis for one or two weeks. The list will help you prioritize what you really love to do. In addition, try to get rid of (part of) the energy drains.

A simple NO

Start with saying ‘no’, or something similar like ‘I do not have time for that’, ‘maybe person X can help you with this’ etc. Might feel awkward in the beginning, but practice makes perfect. More about saying NO (article in Dutch) you can read here.

Give your brain some rest

Another important factor in coping with stress is to give your brain some true rest. Although an evening with Netflix might feel good, your brain will still be active as it is when you are using your smartphone etc. Better to go for a walk or to just stare out of the window. Get bored!

Constantly checking your phone could also be a way of avoidant behaviour (as could be drinking, gaming, etc). It seems like an escape from difficult emotions like anger, sadness or disappointment or certain thoughts like doubt, but be aware that these emotions or thoughts will pop up again and again. Till you properly address them, so I would say, better do that today than tomorrow.

Ask for help

If you experience moderate to severe stress symptoms, please talk to a friend, family member, your GP, student advisor, student psychologist, or another professional care giver. It is important to get (professional) help, as it is one of the best ways to learn new and more effective coping methods. Universities often offer courses about stress management as well.

Do you want to read more?

On Facebook you can follow Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching to stay informed on other blogs, or you can follow me on LinkedIn.

Do you experience stress related symptoms? Or do you have questions about your personal development or career and do you want to learn more about how I can help you with that? Please contact me to plan an introductory meeting. This 30 minute meeting is without obligations and free of charge. It will give you an impression how we could work on your questions or goals. After this meeting you can decide if you start coaching sessions with me or not.

On my English page you can read more about career coaching and burnout coaching and my way of working.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Photo How to manage stress during your student days: Tim Gouw via Unsplash

This article has also been published on the website of W.S.V. Simon Stevin and will be published in their magazine Simon Ster. W.S.V. Simon Stevin is the study association for Mechanical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology. Counting more than 1800 members of which about 150 participate actively in 25 committees, organising all kinds of events interesting for mechanical engineers.

Reasons I love working as a coach

Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching Eindhoven reasons I love working as a coach, reasons I love coaching, sagitta peters coach loopbaancoaching burnout coaching, coaching voor hoger opgeleiden, academici, universiteit, promovendi, technici, ingenieurs, engineers, academic staff, phd students, postdocs, university, eindhoven, utrecht, amsterdam, nijmegen, rotterdam, tilburg, career coaching, expats, international, english

Some people openly ask me what I love about my job. Others might wonder… With a scientific and technological education and having worked in such an environment for several years, it has been quite a journey to embrace some parts of myself again. In fact, not using and even neglecting these ‘softer’ sides had also contributed to forgetting who I truly was.

Since I am working as a coach, everything has fallen into place. By accepting who I am (no matter what) I am now able to use my sensitivity, intuition and interest in human drivers and behaviour and let them complement that pragmatic and problem-solving approach and knowledge of leadership and management I used before so much.

For those who wonder why I am so happy working as a coach, and for those who would just like to learn to know me better, I like to give a sneak peak into the reasons I love working as a coach!

Reasons I love working as a coach

All the stories that people share and the different views on life they have, make me conscious, humble and make me appreciate and consider life on a different level.
I love people, knowledge transfer and teaching.
I really want to make the world a better and happier place. I believe that people who really embrace themselves will be more kind and accepting to other people. (My company has a sustainable bank account and eco friendly coffee, tea and chocolate as well 😉)
Coaching implies working towards a goal.
One-on-one contact and working in small groups fits my character well.
Simply being there for the other, without having to spread my attention and focus, feels special.
Having the autonomy to do my work as I like it, following my own values.
Personal development is important for me. Learning new things makes me happy and I love encouraging others in their personal development.
I love making plans, developing workshops and trainings, writing blogs…
It is my deep belief that everyone should have a job that makes truly happy and gives at least as much energy as it costs (and preferably much more!!). Supporting people to get there is valuable and rewarding.
I like to contribute to the knowledge that employers, colleagues and partners have of burnout and of course to the recovery of individuals experiencing burnout.
And last but not least, I love that I meet great people every day.

Why do you love your work? Would be great if you would let me know!

On my blog you can read more articles about career, personal development and burnout. Do you want to get in touch? Please contact me!

How to start recovering from burnout

how to start recovering from burnout, burnout recovery, near burnout, stress, workstress, work stress, work presssure

A bit of stress helps us through life. It makes us more alert and gives us the extra energy needed to meet a deadline. However, when facing stress becomes part of our daily life, it’s another story. Continual stress causes physical and mental symptoms and might result in burnout: you’ve been pushing yourself too hard for too long. You don’t recognise yourself anymore and wonder what you can do to become “you” again? This article will give you guidance on how to start recovering from burnout (and near burnout).

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, caused by a long period of severe stress. Driven by an ideal, you’ve put your own needs last and you feel miserable, isolated and have difficulties facing what has happened.

Both work and private life can contribute: from high workloads to conflicts at work, and from changing family situations to moving (abroad). By continuously neglecting your boundaries, your energy tank has slowly run low, until it has become completely empty. On top of that, you probably have other symptoms, like stomach issues or headaches, problems with concentrating, anxiety or emotional instability.

If you recognise yourself in (part of) the above, please talk to your partner or a friend, your GP or another caregiver. It is important to get professional help, as it is one of the best ways to recover and learn new coping methods.

Recovering from burnout

How difficult, and perhaps at this point, even impossible, it may sound, accepting the situation is the first step to recovery. Allow yourself to rest, talk to people you trust and ask for professional help. In addition, you can start refilling your energy tank and learning about your alarm system.

Refill your energy tank

Although every person is different, some activities are important for everyone to do to replenish their energy tank. Thirty minutes of light, daily outdoor exercise relieves stress and releases happy hormones. A walk is perfect, as is gardening, cycling etc.

In addition, do one activity every day that makes you truly happy. Drink a cup of hot and tasteful tea from your favourite mug, read a magazine, take a long bath, dance, do some yoga, or take up an old hobby… Make a list with at least ten of these activities, so when you’re really tired, you can just pick one.

Also, it’s wise to dose your energy and not immediately spend what you’ve gained. Crowded places, decision-making and loud noises might trouble you: try to avoid them. For example, go grocery shopping during quiet hours, with a shopping list you’ve made at home.

Introduce healthy habits

Proper self-care should be non-negotiable. If you practice it from the start of your recovery, it is easier to keep this habit whilst being back at work. Go for healthy foods, not too much coffee and alcohol, and go to bed and wake up at regular times.

You may have stopped taking breaks months or maybe years ago. From now on, you will stop when you’re getting tired and you will take a break, instead of waiting until after you’ve finished a task. Also, take the proper time to have lunch.

A crucial part of self-care is thinking nicely about yourself. You’re as valuable as everyone else! Become aware of the thoughts that make you be so hard on yourself.

Your alarm system

Both positive and negative emotions, like physical responses, are signals that your system uses to tell you something. In the past months (or years), you’ve probably noticed some of these little alarms, which have warned you about crossing your boundaries, or unpleasant situations. Like in a factory, these little alarms will become louder and louder, till the factory closes itself down.
Gaining more consciousness about your system, which means recognising signals (sadness, anger, headache, dizziness) and acting accordingly, is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

The next step

Only if you feel ready for it (maybe after weeks or months, even), you can start reflecting more explicitly on the process of getting burnt-out. Questions that may guide you are:
• When and why did you let someone else’s happiness and health prevail over your own?
• Which limiting self-beliefs played a part in this process? Perfectionism (and the fear of doing things wrong), having your inner critic always switched on, and feeling responsible for the world are often mentioned.
• And what was your organisation’s share in it?

When your partner has burnout

If it’s your partner who is suffering from burnout, you can support recovery in different ways. Patience and acceptance of the situation as it is are key. You already contribute a lot by simply listening, helping in dosing energy and taking rest, and respecting your partner’s boundaries. Open questions facilitate your partner to reflect and think about their needs.
At the same time, it is good to do some small activities together, like going for a walk in the park or getting some ice-cream. And don’t forget to take good care of yourself, only then can you help your loved one!

Do you want to read more?

On Facebook you can follow Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching to stay informed on other blogs, or you can follow me on LinkedIn.

Do you experience burnout or other stress related symptoms? Or do you have questions about your personal development or career and do you want to learn more about how I can help you with that? Please contact me to plan an introductory meeting. This 30 minute meeting is without obligations and free of charge. It will give you an impression how we could work on your questions or goals. After this meeting you can decide if you start coaching sessions with me or not.

On my English page you can read more about career coaching and burnout coaching and my way of working.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

This article has also been published on I am Expat. Founded and run by expats, IamExpat Media is the leading English-language media platform for internationals in the Netherlands and Germany. It provides up-to-date information, news, job listings, housing services, events and lifestyle tips.

Photo Recovering from burnout: Abbie Bernet via Unsplash

Workshop career orientation at TU/e PhD Event

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The Eindhoven University of Technology yearly organizes a career event for PhD students. I’m really happy to be one of this year’s workshop leaders. In a two hour workshop we will work on a structured approach for career orientation. Because I truly believe that there is a dream job for everyone, and that an inside-out approach is the way to find yours!

Who will be there as well on May 24?

Abstract:
Towards your dream job: a structured approach for career orientation

Orientation for a job after your PhD is often quite overwhelming. Where should you start and what should you do, to get a better view on the career perspectives that really reflect your personality and strengths?
In this workshop you will get a framework for your orientation process. We will also look deeper into the three questions that are important in this approach: Who are you? What are your capabilities? And what do you like to do? Via exercises you will get the first answers and you will end the workshop defining the next steps you can take in your personal orientation.

Ten important questions when considering a major career step

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Do you feel that it might be getting time to explore new career options? Or do you know someone for whom this counts? Then continue reading!
If your current job doesn’t fit you anymore and you are considering a major career step, a thorough self-analysis (and maybe a bit of soul-searching) can reveal what type of job will make you happy. It will help you to get a better view of your work and life goals, the type of work you love to do and excel in, the organisational culture that connects with your values and the environment you will flourish in.
In fact, this type of self-examination is also worth doing when you are happy with your work, so that you can adjust in time to stay that way. But how do you start such a reflective self-analysis?

Questions to ask yourself

Below I share ten important questions to guide you in your self-reflection. Without further ado, in a short but sweet list (let me know if I should provide a printable pdf on my website):

1. How was I as a kid, how did I grow up?

2. What do I stand for in life today?

3. Do I really aspire a new job, or do I run away from problems that I will face in another environment as well?

4. What are my strong assets (strengths, skills, talents)? When do they flourish?

5. What gives me energy?

6. Which fields or skills do I want to develop further?

7. What is my dream job (astronaut, musician, …) and what does this say about me?

8. What I don’t want anymore?

9. Which aspects should I take into account as well (from commuting to finance and cancellation period)?

10. What or who holds me back?

Which questions where eye openers for you when considering a major career step? Which ones should I add? Let me know!

Do you want to read more?

On Facebook you can follow Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching to stay informed on other blogs with tips, information and more personal experiences, or you can follow me on LinkedIn.

Do you have questions about your personal development or career and do you want to learn more about how I can help you with that? Or do you experience burnout or other stress symptoms? Please contact me to plan an introductory meeting. This 30 minute meeting is without obligations and free of charge. It will give you an impression how we could work on your questions or goals. After this meeting you can decide if you will start coaching sessions with me or not.
On my English page you can read more about career and burnout coaching and my way of working.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Photo credits: Samuel Zeller via Unsplash


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pdf download Sagitta Peters Ten important questions when considering a major career step

Perfectionism (and how to handle it)

Perfectionism - Sagitta Peters career coach career advisor eindhoven highly educated professionals

A perfectionist? Me? No, not at all! I never regarded myself as a perfectionist, although I always tried my best to perform flawlessly, worked many, many hours and had high performance standards most of the time. I thought that I wasn’t meeting the criteria for being a perfectionist. Why? Some other people performed even better at work, made less mistakes, worked even more hours, had even higher performance standards, or they really could not quit a task before it was perfect. So, being a perfectionist could always be done better, or actually, worse.

In this blog I share my experiences and insights on perfectionism. I will tell you how it was driving my decisions, and also what has helped me to think and act differently. It feels pretty scary to be this vulnerable. That’s still a little perfectionism. Is this blog written well enough? Who am I, to have an opinion about this?

What wins, is the thought that it is okay to be vulnerable, and that I would love to read this story if someone else had written it. I also believe that we can help each other by being more open about the things that make us human. A comment would therefore be really nice. For me and for others. An email or PB is also welcome, if you want to share or ask something less publicly.

The perfect perfectionist

A few years ago, I was feeling completely empty, enormously tired and also quite a mess physically: burnout. I asked for support by a coach. When I told her that I didn’t see myself as a perfectionist, because I decided myself when I wanted to do something perfect and when I thought something was not important enough to do so, I realized something relevant. Not that I wasn’t a perfectionist, but that I was quite perfect in doing things perfectly. In this way I could fully use my energy in the areas where I felt it was needed. Pretty efficient, isn’t it?

Perfectionism: For whom do I act this way?

For a long time, I thought that performing by (and asking for) high standards was something I only did because I like quality and achieving goals (being ‘red’ in many personality tests). I thought I was in control of my thoughts, emotions and behaviour, and just loved my work and the organisation I was responsible for. It took quite some time before I realized that I actually acted that way out of insecurity way more often than I was aware of. Perfectionism helped me to feel valued by others: only by being in charge and capable I would be accepted by others and I could be part of the group.

The invisible judges

As entrepreneur, and being my own boss, I noticed that I was still holding on to a certain benchmark. And when someone else asked me who decided where this benchmark was, I recognized that there was a kind of jury judging my work. In fact, it was an invisible jury, with invisible members and misty standards and values. And these controlled my happiness and satisfaction.

It made me realize that I could choose who would be part of that jury. Since then, it’s me! It’s me deciding when something is good enough, and not all these little voices in my head.

Being addicted?

A little while ago I read a novel about a woman drinking way too much too often. In fact, the writer was a socially accepted alcohol addict, being a good guest at parties. Do you see some parallels with people who work (way to) hard as well? I worked a lot, you could count on me and I was having a lot of fun at work. But work served as a mask as well. And in fact I wasn’t able to work less if I needed or wanted to do so. Being a workaholic is also a socially accepted addiction.

What helped me to let go of that perfectionism?

Bit by bit I could let go of that perfectionism. I am happy to share my tips with you, as they may also help you. What are your tips and trics? Please share them below in a reaction of via email or a PB.

Good enough

Quite the opposite of being a perfectionist is to feel good and valuable just as you are. No matter what. With or without a job, independent of the success of a project or your annual performance review, and unrelated to the number of people that like you. Because you are good enough. I am good enough. We are all good enough. If you want to read more about this topic, have a look at the books by Brené Brown. She also has a TED talk (almost ten million views!).

Being your own supporter of being good enough is not easy. An old way of thinking needs to be replaced by a new, and that takes some time and repetition. That’s why I, practical as I am, had a sticky note at my desk saying “I am ok”. For you something else might be useful: a picture, quote, or an object. Make sure that you pick something that works for you.

Mindfulness

Doing a short mindfulness course (and continuing to follow some of the principles) has also helped me a lot. It made me aware that I can decide myself if I listen to my thoughts and if regard them as true. Thoughts most often disappear if you do not pay attention to them. A metaphor is to put every thought on a nice white cloud in a blue sky and see them fly away.

In this way I can make a better distinction between who I am, and who I and others might think I am. (Please note that not paying attention to every thought is something else than pushing them away – that might work counterproductive.)

Feedback and perfectionism

In theory I was open to feedback, as it would help me to further improve whatever I was doing. In reality it was a bit more complicated… Feedback is about your behaviour and not about who you are, they say, but for me it did feel very personal. It really affected me and made me self-doubting.

Today, I am able to see feedback as something that will tell me what part of my behaviour is working (effective) for the other person. So, it is not about me, but about the interaction and that other person. This makes the feedback less personal and more objective. It is about the behaviour that is, or is not, functional for a specific person. And only if I agree I will change my actions.

Fall and rise

That all sounds nice, letting go of perfectionism, and it is indeed a good thing. However, I still have a way to go. Something that has been part of my (your?) personality needs time to be reprogrammed. Luckily, I see more and more often when my perfectionism is in charge and not me. Dealing with perfectionism is something as learning to walk. You fall and rise, fall and rise, and at some point, you can even run 😊

He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm; he who stretches his legs does not walk (easily). – Lao Tse

Do you want to read more?

On Facebook you can follow Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching to stay informed on other blogs, or you can follow me on LinkedIn.

Do you have questions about your personal development or career and do you want to learn more about how I can help you with that? Or do you experience burnout or other stress symptoms? Please
contact me to plan an introductory meeting. This 30 minute meeting is without obligations and free of charge. It will give you an impression how we could work on your questions or goals. After this meeting you can decide if you start coaching sessions with me or not.
On my English page you can read more about career coaching and burnout coaching and my way of working.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Photo: Alex Block via Unsplash

Will you be happier after burnout?

Gelukkiger na een burn-out - Sagitta Peters - happier after burnout. Coaching voor hoger opgeleiden en technici, coaching for higher educated

People often say that experiencing burnout should be seen as something good. Or that you surely will be happier after it. Today it is more than four years after I got burnout and I have my own company for two years. Time to draw up the balance: Did I become any happier after my burnout?

Every individual and every situation is unique. Do you feel stressed, extremely tired or do you worry a lot? Please talk to family, friends, your general practitioner or an expert in that field.

Time-out

I had the best possible job as managing director of a research institute and my work was also my hobby: Spending lots of time at work, in a challenging environment with nice and enthusiastic colleagues. I took on some extra projects, and on top of that I replaced a colleague on sick leave. And then I crashed. Burnout…

Free of expectations

After being at home for a while, followed by a careful reintegration process and being back at work, I realised that I didn’t want to do that job anymore. To be free of the expectations of colleagues and of myself, I quit. This gave me time to rethink my career path and current wishes, and orientate on the options available.

Dreams and action

I decided to follow my heart and to start working much closer to and more with people. My mission to contribute to the happiness of people and to make the world a better place has always been part of me. But in my former job, I didn’t feel that I could pursue this goal in a satisfactory manner anymore. I went back to the classroom, this time for a very human oriented education: coach practitioner. To bring my strengths, previous experience and even more important my mission in life together, I created my own dream job. Today I am active as a career and burnout coach for highly educated professionals working in a content-driven environment (engineering, science, finance, …).

Self-employed

It is very rewarding to be able to create, initiate and execute my own projects again, instead of coordinating processes (something that had become a continuously growing part of my former job). I also get lots of energy from the true connections I make with people. I work according to my own values and strengths and regained my autonomy and freedom!

Who am I?

Being burnout, I worked hard on my personal development and continued working on it since. I live very consciously, being aware of who I am, what I do and what I long for. That brings me many goods things, but at the opposite I am not always as light-hearted and carefree as I would like to be.

Happier after burnout?

Since my burnout I live much closer to my true self, my values and my mission in life. I have learned to know myself much better and I listen (again) to what my body and my emotions are telling me. I accepted my sensitivity, at least most of the time (here you can read more about highly sensitive persons). Being more open to others makes that the other can be so as well. This has resulted in many beautiful interactions and conversations.

I am also more easily brought off balance and life isn’t as carefree as it was before. Something I thought I was immune for, happened anyway. An unstoppable power woman, that is not what I would call myself these days anymore. Although honestly, I probably still am, but in a different manner. 😉

Before I got burnout I was pretty happy. And I am (luckily) pretty happy again! As I can also appreciate and enjoy little moments of happiness and gratitude, I do not need as many major achievements anymore to feel so.

Burnout: Something good?

Burnout shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a tough illness to recover from and I my case it turned my whole life upside down. However, you can make the most out of it and the things you achieve by doing so will be beneficial. For me personally, I live much closer to my true self and I am less prone to expectations of other people (or myself). Life feels healthier and more of my own. And I am really happy again!

Do you want to read more?

On Facebook you can follow Sagitta Peters career and burnout coaching to stay informed on other blogs.

Do you have a questions about your personal development or career and do you want to learn more about how I can help you with that? Or do you experience burnout or other stress symptoms? Please
contact me to plan an introductory meeting. This 30 minute meeting is without obligations and free of charge. It will give you an impression how we could work on your questions or goals. After this meeting you can decide if you start coaching sessions with me or not.
On my English page you can read more about career coaching and burnout coaching and my way of working.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!