Why telling others you’re down can be better than trying to hide it.

I remember an unusual meeting which began with a five minute discussion about my mood.

Unlike other meetings (I’m sure I was never told about) when my mood had also featured on the agenda, at least I was there for this one.

It happened to be a time when I was feeling on less than sparkling form.

After many years of trying to hide my mood when it was low, I’d reached a stage when it seemed sensible to be more open about things.

Actually it was sensible.

We were discussing a project which would need my full engagement and energy, and if I wasn’t going to be fully on the case, it was better for us all to acknowledge this upfront.

Now if there’d been a piece of mission-critical equipment that was playing up, of course we’d have talked about it.

But the thing is, it did feel a little self-indulgent, a little selfish, to confess to being somewhat on the glum side.

So I had to ask myself how I’d have felt if another team member had promised to deliver, in the full knowledge that they couldn’t, due to feeling below par.

I wouldn’t have been happy.

I’d certainly rather have known upfront.

It probably helps to see things through others’ eyes in such situations.

And it almost certainly helps to be more open about the way you feel, particularly among people you trust, and on whom you depend (and vice versa).

2 thoughts on “Why telling others you’re down can be better than trying to hide it.

  1. It’s excellent career advice to be realistic about what you can deliver and when. Keep in mind that there’s a medical difference between feeling down, blue, glum and suffering from depression, which is a mental and physical illness — it’s even covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). However, depression is still very much a taboo, so admitting that you have it in your work environment could, sadly and unfairly, be a challenge to your career. In my own experience (which I have hidden from my work colleagues), my executive functioning and reasoning skills are impaired when depression gets worse.

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