After my studies, I joined a prestigious private bank in Geneva, Switzerland. My parents, university classmates, and friends were proud of me as it was an institution at that time tough to join as a permanent junior employee. Then step by step, I started to climb the hierarchical ladder and started to have more and more responsibilities. In the beginning, all was good, I was ambitious, and I was able to focus on my job. Then, with my wife, we had a first, then a second child, and we also bought a house. This is quite a classical story that lots of executives have experienced.
I was very excited, but I started having difficulties managing my professional and private life after a while. The stress started to grow progressively without me noticing it. I had a middle management position with a team under my responsibility. I was in the middle, with colleagues to manage, and I had to report to my top management. Now it was time to cope with short deadlines, lack of resources, and more and more work to do. My wife expects me to spend more time with the kids at home and be more present. I tried to be everywhere, but I was not really present. At work, my management also expected me to take on more and more responsibilities that required more time to dedicate to the company. And the stress and anxiety were there, silently but surely growing each day without me noticing it.
What happened? First, my performance started to decline progressively, I had more and more difficulties making rapid decisions, and I became less present for my team and the top management. Because I was able to notice this, I put higher pressure on myself. I spent more hours at work, and my wife started to complain because I was not enough at home, and most of the time, I was pretty angry when I got home. So, I tried to come home earlier, play with the kids and work again later until late at night, then go to work earlier in the morning as I also left the office earlier the day before. As a result, I had very few hours of sleep, terrible quality.
In a nutshell, after a great start in my professional and private life, the stress was starting to rise silently.
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Tomorrow, episode 2 - The first visible effects of the stress