Episode 96: Why You’re Still Exhausted After Getting Tenure (And What To Do About It)

Ep: 96

Are you still exhausted after getting tenure and don’t know why things haven’t changed? Feeling like you’ll never not be tired? I’ve got 3 steps to take to help you take control. 

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Are you tired? Like, really tired? Maybe you’re moving toward total exhaustion, or are already there. In this episode I’m digging into why you are still tired after receiving tenure, and what you can do about it. Yes, you can do something about it! 

 

Why Tenure Didn’t Solve Your Problem

If you are exhausted, you are doing too much. You might have thought that gaining tenure would help, but if you’re like so many of the academics I work with, you have probably discovered just the opposite! After pushing so hard, for so long, a lot of people crash after receiving tenure. 

You might be grateful for the stability of tenure (and hopefully a raise!) but in order to make a positive change in how your career feels, you’ll need to make some changes in how you approach it. Tenure doesn’t automatically solve your exhaustion problem, but with intention, you can. 

 

What To Do About It

First I want to give you a little reassurance. The things I’m going to suggest might sound impossible from your overtired vantage point, but I assure you, they are not! We help people work through these steps in our programs all the time, and they are not only possible, but will be the key to helping you have a joyful and fulfilling career.

Take Control of Your Time

“The short answer to why you’re exhausted is: you’re doing too many things.” -Cathy Mazak

It’s not easy, but it is simple: if you are overbooked, you need to get unbooked. You need space on your calendar to breathe, to think, to do the marinating that knowledge-making requires. This might require changing how you think about your schedule.

In our Elevate program, we help participants do a time audit and ask them to think about two questions: What are you spending your time on? Which of these things is making the most impact? Impact can be measured as things you love to do and as things that have impact for advancing your work (and hopefully those two things overlap often!). We also help you brainstorm effective ways to clear your calendar of what’s left. 

Creating space in your schedule has to come first. You do have a little more leverage as someone who has tenure. If you haven’t had strong boundaries around your time, now is the time to build them.

“You’ve been conditioned not to stand up for your own time. You’ve been conditioned all the way through to not have boundaries around your time.” -Cathy Mazak

Create Your Own Motivator

Up until this point in your career, you’ve probably felt like there’s always been something driving you to keep pushing: getting your higher ed degree, landing a job, securing tenure. Now it might feel like you’ve lost that sense of direction. So it’s time to create your own internal motivator for what you want to do in the world through your work.

Where do you want to go? What kind of impact do you want to have? How will you start working toward the legacy you want to leave? These are big questions to answer. We help our Elevate program participants answer them through creating a 5 year plan, then working backward to figure out what steps they need to take to get there.

Remember that these two steps support each other. If you make space in your schedule for thought and reflection, it will support the process of creating your own motivation. And once that motivation is in place, it will give you the extra incentive to hold the boundaries around your time. 

Invest In What You Need For Yourself

Lastly, you need to commit to doing what it takes to turn the tide for yourself. Find a way to get support and make your own needs a priority.

In our 6-month Elevate program, we take you through 6 foundational steps to help you stand in your power, make a plan to create the career you want, and craft your legacy. We’ll help you figure out what you really want from your career, and help you start taking steps to get there. 

Click here to listen to our recorded info session to answer all your questions about Elevate.

Even if you decide not to apply after listening, I hope you’ll be inspired to start doing the work you need to do to get unstuck and unexhausted. There is hope. Start asking yourself the big questions, and giving yourself space to answer them. We can help. Listen in here: https://cathymazak.com/elevate.

“Who do I want to be? How do I want to live? How do I want this career to feel?” -Cathy Mazak

Pulled in a thousand directions and can’t seem to carve out time to write? Download my 10 Ways to Make Time to Write cheat sheet for ideas to implement today!

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