Working as a motivational speaker I once shared the stage with Donald Trump. Now I can’t say that I got to know him well, however when I met him he was both charming and charismatic. Lately there has been a lot written about his mental health and whether he is fit to rule, but he is certainly not the first president to be accused of being unbalanced.
I came across a fantastic article on the BBC website recently looking at the mental state of former presidents. According to this article, George Washington went into a catatonic state during a battle fought for the American Revolution. He just sat on his horse, staring into space, as he was charged by dozens of British soldiers. He had to be rescued by his aids. Author of the article, journalist Jude Sheerin, points out that even the greatest of leaders can snap under pressure. John Adams, the second US President, was described by his rival Thomas Jefferson as “sometimes absolutely mad”.
According to a psychiatric analysis of the first 37 presidents carried out by Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina almost half of the presidents had actual mental health issues. The 2006 study estimated that 49 per cent of presidents suffered from a mental health condition at some stage in their life. 27 per cent of them were found to be affected while in office. One in four of them met the diagnostic criteria for depression, including Woodrow Wilson and James Madison, while Teddy Roosevelt and John Adams had bipolar disorder. Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses Grant struggled with social anxiety.
Professor Jonathan Davidson, who led the study, said: “The pressures of such a job can trigger issues in someone that have been latent. Being president is extremely stressful and nobody has unlimited capacity to take it forever and ever.”
Is your job sending you mad?
The truth is that it is no good staying in a job that is destroying your mental health. You may not be running the most powerful country in the world, but if your job is having a bad impact on your mind then you need to leave.
Ideally you should line up another job before resigning, but sometimes that is easier said than done. How do you know when it’s time to leave a job? The Psychology Today website has some advice. If you are miserable at work, here at six grounds that justify you going elsewhere.
1. Your skills aren’t recognised or appreciated.
If management doesn’t acknowledge what you have to offer and you are not promoted or financially rewarded then it is time to pull the pin. Being under-appreciated is hurtful and frustrating, and can lead to feelings of anger, disappointment and even depression. Don’t let the situation fester. Start looking for a new job today, but don’t slack off at work. You want this company to give you good references.
2. You’ve lost interest in the job
If you are just not that into your job, you are not going to be passionate or fully engaged. And you certainly won’t be making use of your potential. Can you go sideways inside the organisation? Is there another department at work you’d like to work at? If not, it’s time to look at what you really want to do. Have you considered heading back to university or training? What are you into outside of work? Identify your passions, and turn them into a career then you will never have to work another day in your life.
3. The boss is a swine or a co-worker is a bully
If your boss or a co-worker is a horrible, abusive person and the executive hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care, then it’s time to get out of there. It is sad to think that you may love the job and be very good at it, yet you are being forced out because your boss is quite simply a pig. I’m sad to say that sometimes that is life. As hard as it is, embrace the change and look for new opportunities and a new professional adventure.
4. The company is not financially secure
You may love the job, you may love your co-workers and you may love the boss but your company could collapse financially at any moment, and you live with that worry. Do not be an emu and bury your head in the sand, as much as you love the job it is time to work elsewhere if your employer is financially unstable. You may want to be a loyal employee however you need to ask the question, can you afford to be loyal? If you simply can’t afford to lose this much money then you need to shop around for another job.
5. You are being exploited at work
Are you being paid for three days but doing five days of work? Has your team been downsized but the workload has doubled? Do the company clients give you excellent feedback? And then to top it all up, the profit margin is up. If you are not being fairly paid for what you contribute at work then it is time to walk out the door. This is your cue to look for a better job elsewhere.
6. Your values are not reflected at work
Do you feel you are being asked to behave in an unethical fashion at work? Are you being pressured to lie to clients? Is your company using low-grade materials to increase the already fat profit margin? Are you offering no value for money? Is your job damaging the environment? It does not matter how much you are being paid, if you are in a job that forces you to compromise your principles then you are in the wrong job. Look for a company that shares your values and apply for work. You may even decide to have a pay cut. Are you prepared to compromise your lifestyle so you can have a job you believe in?
Life is too short to be stuck in a job you hate. Do you wake up every morning and feel excited about work or do you dread having to go in? Is stress, fear or just a lack of enthusiasm for work zapping your energy? If your answer is yes, then you don’t even need me to tell you that you are in the wrong job however I will tell you that you need to take action and change the situation.
Start putting together a plan for nailing a new job – and do not delay!
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