7 Tips from SoftwareONE's Khristy Young
Khristy Young is used to working hard.
She came to the U.S. from the Philippines at 19, computer science degree in hand, and landed her first job in tech, working in frontline support, at 21.
"I realized that for them to see past me being an immigrant and a woman, I had to be very competent. It sucks to say, but felt like I always had something to prove. Eventually, instead of worrying about what other people thought, I decided to show them what I could do," she explains. She dealt with coworkers who didn't listen to her and generally underestimated her, but she kept working to prove herself.
Khristy spent almost a decade at that company, eventually climbing the ranks into a coveted developer role, but left after her manager wouldn't give her a chance to become a team lead. "I realized I'd outgrown that job, and leaving it was almost like dating. I hadn't dated for nine years, and then all of a sudden I had to go out in the world again," she says.
A few months later, an old coworker suggested she join him at SoftwareONE, a leading provider of software and cloud solutions, including and especially Microsoft products. She came over and had to work to prove herself again, especially as her role was something new to her: consulting as a Microsoft partner. "I saw it as a gift. I'd never done that before, and I had the chance to learn it," says Khristy.
Once she got up to speed, she knew she'd made the right decision. Several years in, she's currently working as the Practice Director of their Future Workplace team with about 15 people—who she affectionately calls her "techies running around North America"—reporting to her as they advise clients on transitioning to the cloud and enable the technologies that allow for that. "One thing I like about SoftwareONE is that they recognize talent and diligence," she says. "Competencies speak more than words. So working for a company that appreciates self-starters is working really well for me."
But what do you do when competency isn't enough?
Khristy has been running up against that question for the first time in her career thanks to the pandemic. As SoftwareONE's cloud-based business is booming, she's found herself stretched thin, expected to run her team, take care of her two children, spend time with her partner, and not lose her mind along the way.
We sat down with Khristy this week to get her honest advice on what works and what doesn't when it comes to finding work-life harmony during a pandemic.
1. Learning to say no: the rule of three
Khristy's first piece of advice is something she's only just recently learned. "I have historically been a 'yes' person. People say I'm an overachiever," she explains. "I say yes to things when I shouldn't. But when the pandemic happened, it forced me to prioritize what's important."
Yes, that includes wellbeing and family and health, but Khristy is talking specifically about professional prioritization. "People don't realize we spend most of our time at work. I want people to value my time instead of just throwing stuff over the fence to me," she says.
To do that, she's adopted a hard and fast rule: she only focuses on three things at a time, and she says no to everything else.
Those three things could be updating her budget, checking in on team morale, and building next year's strategic plan, or any other set of priorities. The key is in keeping them limited to just three. "A friend told me that if you have more than three priorities, you're not really prioritizing anything. Ignoring something can take just as much energy as focusing on something, so you're better off saying no. I'm finding that's true. If I can meet those three, then I can make room for more," says Khristy.
2. Stay just the right amount of informed
Some people have been going on media diets during the pandemic, paring down the amount of news they consume each day. Not Khristy. She's found that staying informed through trustworthy channels, as in certain news and science outlets instead of social media, is allowing her to keep focused on why we're all making sacrifices.
"It puts into perspective why we're doing this, why we're in this situation, why we can't go out," she says. "It reminds you that things are not as bad as you think when you see the amount of people that are dying."
She keeps that perspective for herself—her kids are happy, healthy, and actually enjoying remote learning—and for her team, who are all employed (Khristy retooled her budget to avoid layoffs) and safe at home with their families.
3. Cater to you
"To find that balance between teacher, mom, and employee in the same place and with the same hours allocated is really hard," says Khristy.
"Being a mother, it's a very thankless job, and it's natural for us to cater to our kids, who are now always home. And then you also may have to cater to your partner, your husband, your boyfriend, whoever it may be. And we forget to cater to ourselves," she says. "That's when you get to that burnout factor, that pressing state of, 'Oh, God, I'm just exhausted.'"
Khristy suggests finding one activity, any activity—"It could be scrapbooking, it could be going to Target, it could be paint by numbers or yoga," she says—that is just for you. Something you can do alone and use as a bit of a retreat. "[Alone time] really resets my mind a little bit," says Khristy.
4. Take actual time off
Khristy knows what you're thinking: where are you going to go?
But just because you can't travel doesn't mean time off isn't worth it. Khristy says she used to travel up to two weeks each month for work and go on at least one fun trip around California or nearby states every few weeks pre-pandemic, but now she's learning how to take a different type of PTO.
"To be quite honest, even if you're just having those days where you're sitting on the couch and watching Netflix, taking time off really helps with a mental break," she says.
5. Draw new boundaries
Khristy's cue to turn off her work brain used to be the sound of her partner opening the door after his work day. But now that everyone works from home, that boundary has disappeared. "My compass is all messed up!" laughs Khristy.
Instead, she's learned to set new boundaries on her time and how she spends it. First, Khristy has committed to only working in her office. "When I'm there, I work. Anything outside [of that space] is life," she says.
And for timing, she's made a new version of that dinnertime rule, setting it at a specific time versus waiting for her partner. When that time rolls around, she leaves her office and doesn't return until the next morning. In between, she hangs out with her kids and enjoys the new rituals they've set up to make pandemic life more fun, including Taco Tuesdays and Saturday movie nights.
6. Stay connected
Months into the pandemic, Khristy realized she was struggling to stay focused. To combat that, she reached out to her peers.
"If I feel like I'm not on an island by myself—if I know that there is purpose to what I'm doing, that it's moving the bigger needle somewhere—I feel like my time is worth something," she says. "Keeping in contact with peers across the business in all different verticals has helped with that."
Khristy stays in touch with catch-up calls and teamwide happy hours, which are focused on entirely random topics. "Last Friday we talked about cats and cat lady syndrome," she says, smiling. "It uplifts the team and reminds us that we're all fine. We ask how everyone is doing and we say, 'We're COVID good.'"
7. Remember that work is just work
"The saving grace," says Khristy of what keeps her able to balance her work and her family, "is remembering what I'm doing this for. In the end, I'm working for my family, to give them a better life. That's really the only reason."
Keeping that focus in mind allows Khristy to live within the work-life boundaries she's set up for herself, and she suggests others figure out what's driving them and rigorously protect that goal.
"Some people leverage work to get them out of their lives. I don't have that," says Khristy. "My life is really good outside of work. Knowing that I don't want to miss the moments that actually matter keeps me from spending too much time on work."
If you're looking to join Khristy in finding work-life harmony at SoftwareONE, check out their open roles.
💎 How to build trust in your team? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 How should you work to build trust in your team? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you. You'll hear from Veronica Setzke, Senior Director of People Ops at Pax8, who shares tips and tricks she learned through years of coaching.
📼 How to build trust with peers in your team? Tip #1: Relationships. There's no better way to start forming relationships than having regular one-on-ones. It doesn't have to just be with your supervisor. It can be with your coworkers. It can be with those people that you collaborate regularly with. And it's really important in these one-on-ones that we're spending time listening. Take the time to be present and listen. Also, spend time together not working. Have lunch together. Go for coffee. Take a five-minute walk around the building and just have a conversation. Relations are a key element to trust!
📼 How to build trust? Open yourself in your team Tip #2: Vulnerability. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Ask for feedback, whether it's feedback about a project, a process, or even maybe a leadership behavior that you're trying to master. This allows those on your team and those around you to see you as willing to be vulnerable. Trust and vulnerability go hand in hand. It doesn't mean that you’re weak, but rather that you’re open. It allows your team to understand that it's a safe place for them to also be vulnerable.
How To Share To Build Trust In Your Team - Tip #3: Clear Is Kind
Keep the team informed and say as much as you can about what you know. There are times that we hold information that could be shared. We could share that information that impacts others' work and have them have the opportunity to use that to do better. If you've learned something that could help your colleague make a better decision, share that! Try to ensure that your communication with others is clear. When you make the effort to be clear about your intentions, your work, and your roadblocks, it opens others up to do the same.
📨 Are you interested in joining Pax8? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Veronica Setzke
She works as a People professional because she sincerely believes that people want to be excellent, and it is her role to help move the obstacles to their achieving success. She believes the employees deserve a culture that values their work and will respond to such a culture by creating amazing results. If you are interested in a career at Pax8, you can connect with Veronica on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Pax8
The company simplifies the way organizations buy, sell, and manage cloud solutions, empowering its partners to achieve more with cloud technology. At Pax8, they know that they are only as great as their people. They realize that every individual has unique personal and professional aspirations, which is why they strive to offer a complete and competitive Total Rewards offering for their members and family.
💎Want to implement change in your team or organization? Watch the video to the end to do it successfully.
📼 To implement change you need to follow certain steps. Play this video to get three top tips on how to do it the best possible way. You'll hear from Kyle Lisboa, Support Operations Manager at Esri, who shares her experience with you!
📼Why implement change? Tip #1: Identify the reason. Think about the business reason for the change. If you understand why change is needed, it helps you explain it to others. Avoid making change for change's sake and implement solutions that solve problems.
📼Plan to implement change! Tip #2: Develop a plan. Create a detailed plan to help implement the change. If you create steps and timelines, this will guide the process. It also helps others understand how you are progressing towards the implementation and what the next steps are.
To Implement Change You Need Others - Tip #3: Seek Feedback
Gather feedback from those affected before, during, and after any changes are implemented. Allowing others to provide their feedback helps to create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels part of the solution.
📨 Are you interested in joining Esri? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Kyle Lisboa
Kyle is an experienced Strategic Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. She’s skilled in Arcgis Products, Databases, Management, Geography, and Cartography. If you are interested in a career at Esri, you can connect with her on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Esri
At Esri, they build cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) technology that customers use to solve the world’s most complex challenges: slowing climate change, stamping out disease, designing a better city, fighting crime, and much more. Their ArcGIS software is helping communities around the globe respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by monitoring the surge, managing testing sites, aiding essential workers in finding childcare, mapping food and essentials, and keeping residents informed and safe.
Nearly 80% of workers want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, per a CNBC survey.
But how do prospective employees — and, for that matter, current ones — know whether an organization takes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) seriously?
Metrics can help.
What are DEI metrics?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging metrics are measurements of how a company is doing against its stated DEIB goals. They help track progress, light up problems, synthesize momentum over time, prioritize investment, and allow a company and its employees to have accountability over DEIB intentions.
How can DEI metrics help my overall DEI strategy?
Creating a DEIB strategy is the first step in making your workplace more equitable. But having DEI metrics is a vital second step in ensuring that progress happens.
DEI metrics help a company actualize their strategy, live out their values, meet employee expectations, and make the workplace more fair for all employees.
10 examples of DEI metrics
1. Hiring: the diversity of your candidate pipeline.
How diverse is your applicant pool? Have your candidates self-identify and track what representation looks like in your candidate system.
2. Representation: the demographics of your current employees.
Many companies put pressure on their new hires to make up for gaps in their existing employee population — so make sure you’re benchmarking against data on what your current workforce is made up of.
3. Representation: the demographics of your leadership team.
People need to see that there is a path for success for people who look like them at your organization. What does the makeup of your board look like? Your directors? Your managers? And what does the promotion pipeline look like into those roles?
4. Representation: the demographics of your suppliers.
The money that you spend can significantly impact communities around you — so you should be measuring whether you’re doing that in a way that challenges bias and champions equitable treatment.
5. HR systems: pay equity.
Do all employees, regardless of gender or race, make the same amount of money if they’re doing the same job? If not, what’s your gender / race pay gap and how quickly are you closing it?
6. Employee experience: HR issues.
It’s important to track wins when it comes to DEIB, but it’s also vital to track times when your organization falls short. How many HR / People issues related to DEIB, including allegations of unfair treatment or bias, has your organization dealt with in the past year? What was the result of them? How quickly did issues get resolved? These metrics are key to know.
7. Employee experience: satisfaction with DEI progress.
When you send out employee satisfaction surveys, make sure you include questions on how employees perceive your current progress on DEI goals. They’re the ones most impacted by your strategy — and their opinion matters.
8. Employee engagement: participation in communication platforms.
How often do employees participate in Slack? What about by-channel participation? Looking at data on who talks to who and when can help highlight issues with inclusion or culture. Some companies are using AI-enabled text analysis tools to look for signs of frustration or for problematic language.
9. Employee participation: ERG membership.
Employee resource groups can be hugely helpful in creating community around different identities, interests, and demographics. They can also provide guidance on how to actualize your organization’s DEIB goals. (Which is part of the reason you should pay ERG leaders for their efforts, but that’s a topic for a different blog.)
10. Brand reputation: customer perception.
We’ve talked about key groups for whom DEIB metrics matter — prospective employees, current employees, leadership — but they matter to your customers, too. Whether you add a DEIB component to your existing NPS process, conduct 1:1 customer interviews, or get feedback some other way, it’s important to see whether your customer base is seeing progress on your DEIB goals, too.
Have you ever been so exhausted that you quit your job?
You may have been experiencing burnout.
Burnout is characterized by overwhelming exhaustion, detachment from your work, and a sense of ineffectiveness.
And while anyone can experience burnout, if you have ADHD, you may be more susceptible to it.
Before you get to the point where quitting feels like your only option, there are steps you can take to set healthy boundaries and start feeling more like yourself again. Read on to learn how you can recognize burnout in yourself, and what to do if you’re experiencing it!
How Does ADHD Burnout Feel?
There are some clear signs that you’re burning out, but ADHD can make the descent to burnout harder to detect. These warning signs include:
- Lack of motivation - not wanting to do the things you need to do or the things you love.
- Exhaustion - feeling overly tired both mentally and physically.
- Irritability and mental fatigue - feeling short-tempered, mean, or like you snap easily.
- Physical discomfort - body aches, low energy levels, and general pain.
- Negative outlook - the tendency to find something wrong with nearly everything.
- Emotional dysregulation - feeling weepy, sad, or unable to smile or connect with others.
Generally, burnout starts with taking on too much. Exhaustion creeps in, and you feel like every day is working against you because you are constantly overwhelmed. You may start to feel like the entire world is spinning out of control, or like no matter what you do you can’t keep up (or catch up).
If this resonates with you, you might be on the road to ADHD burnout.
Why People with ADHD Can Be More Susceptible to Burnout
So why does ADHD make some folks more susceptible to burnout? There are a few common ADHD traits that often result in behaviors correlated with burnout (taking on too much, working too long, etc.):
- Hyperfocus - ADHD is not exclusively about attention deficits. In fact, hyperfocus is the opposite – a deep, intense concentration to the point of being oblivious to your surroundings. Per WebMD, hyperfocus is a state of highly-focused attention that lasts for an extended period of time. You concentrate on something so hard that you lose track of everything else going on around you. When hyperfocus sets in at work, it can be hard to unplug or be aware of the people and environment around you.
- Time Tracking - Losing track of time is one thing, but if you find yourself losing track of hours without realizing it, that could be related to burnout. People with ADHD perceive time not as a sequence of events the way others usually do, but as a diffuse collection of events viscerally connected to the people, activities, and emotions that fill them.
- Difficulty Prioritizing - Do you take on too much and then struggle to prioritize it? When someone asks for help, does everything often go to the wayside so you can jump in? Or maybe the daunting anticipation of the tasks ahead prevents you from starting. Per ADDitude, ADHD impacts your temporal processing abilities, which can affect executive functioning.
Combating ADHD Burnout
If you think you may be suffering from ADHD burnout, there are a few ways to take back control. Here are three tips for combating ADHD burnout:
Reserve Your Yeses - Pump the brakes when you recognize the early signs of ADHD burnout. Start reserving your yeses right away. Say no, and practice not apologizing. It is okay to say, "I have a lot on my plate right now and cannot take that on. Thanks for thinking of me." Saying no is nothing to apologize for, and it should be celebrated! You are working to protect your energy above all else.
Practice Over-Estimating - If you think you could knock something out in a day, give yourself a week. Overestimate on time and allow yourself the grace to have a little more time than usual to complete projects. Slowing down when starting a new job or role will help you produce high-quality work and prevent ADHD burnout.
Drop the Mask - Be honest with your employer and friends. Let them know that although you seem to keep up internally, you struggle. Identifying ADHD burnout from the outside can be extremely difficult. Your honesty and transparency will position you to determine if your environment is supportive and inclusive.
How to Support Colleagues Dealing with ADHD Burnout
The experiences above may not resonate with you personally, but perhaps you’ve noticed other people you work with describe or experience them.
If you’re a manager, there are several ways you can support colleagues with ADHD (as well as neurodivergent employees more generally) to help prevent burnout. Ask for clarity on when they have felt the most supported at work. Discovery questions like, “how did you feel at that time?” or “how was the pace of that project?” can help you to understand their actual capacity.Download this free guide if you’re looking for more ways to support your neurodivergent coworkers. Work with your DEIB and HR team to develop new neurodivergent inclusivity standards to help you stay ahead of the ADHD burnout cycle.