I’ve been reading a lot about a topic that affects many of us at work: perception bias. It's like a sneaky storm that can wreak havoc on your life, especially if you’re already grappling with various challenges (personal or professional). Moreover, when combined with the symptoms of burnout, it can create a toxic cycle that makes it even harder to find joy and satisfaction in your professional life. So, buckle up as we navigate our way through this perfect storm together!
Picture this: you're going through a tough phase in your life - be it personal or professional. You're overwhelmed, stressed, and struggling to keep up. Now, add perception bias to the mix. It's a phenomenon where our brains filter information based on preconceived notions, stereotypes, or beliefs. This means that we may interpret situations, feedback, or even people's intentions in a way that confirms our existing biases. When we're already struggling, this bias tends to amplify negative experiences, leading to a downward spiral of dissatisfaction and discontentment. Perception bias can go both ways, meaning your manager/colleagues may (knowingly or unknowingly) attribute your unusual quietness, a low mood or unhappiness to lower performance without there actually being a performance dip (read more on that here). It can create a perfect storm that makes everything just that much harder.
Wait, there's more! Enter burnout, that all-too-familiar state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress. Burnout can magnify perception bias (for you and/or your manager and colleagues) and make it even harder to feel good about your work (or recover from the blues). When you’re burnt out, your emotional resilience takes a hit, and you’re more likely to interpret situations through a negative lens. You may feel unappreciated, overwhelmed, and resentful, fueling the perception bias that everything is going wrong, giving off signals at work that can be misinterpreted, leading to a vicious cycle.
So, what can you do to break free from this perfect storm? As a professional, there are powerful strategies you can employ:
Perception bias at work can be a formidable force, especially when you’re already struggling. When combined with burnout, it can further intensify negative experiences and make it harder to find joy in your professional life. By being aware of your biases, seeking support, and prioritizing emotional self-care, you can weather this storm and create a positive work environment for yourself and those around you.
Stay resilient and remember, making yourself a priority isn’t selfish, it’s a necessary part of emotional self-care!