I don't know how they can do it, because I can't, not with my current state of mental health. I used to think that I can. Back when I was in college, I was part of a highly competitive class and quality work was always expected from each one. Back then, working under pressure meant pulling out all nighters just to get things done before deadlines, or surviving three exams for different classesin a single day. It wasn't easy, but I was young, healthy and motivated. I was usually rewarded at the end of the semester with a fairly high grade. That was before. Then my mental health failed me. Then I graduated and landed a job.
I didn't realize how poorly I actually worked under pressure until I started to get anxiety attacks upon facing a tight deadline. I had to change my ringtones every now and then just so I don't get phantom calls from my boss or any of our clients. I shrink at the end of the phone line every time a client rants without remorse. My heart beats fast as my brain slows down when I am asked a question that I was not prepared for. Eventually, pulling up all nighters for me meant a whole day or two of flu like symptoms. I am already filled with dread whenever I am assigned to do any specialized task. All my mind and body wants to do now is rest.
How is my mental health through all this? Obviously it went downhill. But I didn't know how lower it could go or how much longer I can take it without breaking down. I have failed to equip myself with the proper coping mechanisms and self care strategies to keep myself afloat through all this. I constantly put off seeing a mental health specialist and getting proper diagnosis just because I want to stay neurotypical, even though i know, deep down that I am not.
Working under pressure is a value that has been prized by most capitalist industries for the past few decades because it is the value that brings out results. But niw we know that it is no longer the most optimal way to work. Yes, it brings out the results, but it can also bring out the worst in people - low quality outputs, physical stress symptoms, anxious thoughts and emotions, strained relationships, poor decision making, burnout. This list can go on. There may be very few special people who can actually work under pressure for their whole career, but will always choose not to. I do hope that the disruptions caused by the current global pandemic can also bring an end to glorifying this unhealthy workplace value. I can only hope that future workplaces would choose to strive for quality with less pressure.
#Anxiety #Pressure #WorkAnxiety #Workplace #JobSearch #Procrastination #Burnout