How to survive at work ?

The important thing will always be to focus on your mental health.

Excerpt from the book Surviving work by Marie Da Sylva.

I started a new job a few months ago. This is my first real « job » after college. I saw it as the final point, the reward after 6 years of studies, internships and experiences in France abroad. I imagined it a bit like a dream. I saw the colleagues who were ready to help me and answer all my questions. I could see the great salary I would receive. The exciting topics I would be discussing. The many friends I would make at work. The managers I would get along with so well.

And of course, nothing went as planned. My first few months on the job were difficult to grasp. How to position yourself? How do you step out of your role as an intern and into the shoes of a determined woman who is there to build her career?

I started with the clothes. I adapted my wardrobe: heels, suit jacket, flannel blouses…. I became the archetypal black « boss woman » that I imagined. It helped me, at first, to get over my impostor syndrome. But of course it wasn’t enough.

What really helped me was time. Better understanding what my job was all about. Asserting myself to my management. Reminding myself that I wasn’t there by accident. Daring to say no. It was this wonderful key that allowed me to feel better at work.

You have the right to say no to your manager, to tell him or her that something doesn’t suit you. Of course by remaining courteous, but know that professional relationships should be like other relationships. You have the right to be yourself, to say when things are not going well. It is possible to be real at work. It is vital if you do not want to find yourself at the mercy of people who will constantly ask you to work harder, without taking into account your fatigue or your desires.

Assert yourself at work and in life. Of course, there will be consequences. You may not only encounter sympathy from your superiors, but rather defiance. But daring to assert yourself means taking risks. You have no choice. It is the only way to take care of yourself. No one will do it for you, and certainly not your managers.

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