048: Overcome Anxiety, Depression, and Feeling Stuck with Joli Fytczyk

Burnout. Feeling stuck. Depression. Anxiety. Not eating. Not sleeping.

Internalizing anything and everything that goes wrong, until you feel like you’re just a bad person.

In this episode, be prepared to hear from the heart and soul of a leader who experienced a really dark place in her career and life, Joli Fytczyk. You may find yourself in her story.

I’m so happy and grateful that today she is thriving after taking courageous action, reaching out for the help she needed, and creating change where it counted the most. Her story pulled me in from start to finish, and Joli shares powerful insights from her journey at the end of the conversation.

Even if you are not feeling burned out yourself, you know someone who is. And the sad part is that you may not be aware of it.

So press play and let’s chat…because we can all be encouraged from this important and vulnerable message!

 

The Happy Engineer Podcast

WATCH EPISODE 048: OVERCOME ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND FEELING STUCK WITH JOLI FYTCZYK

 

LISTEN TO EPISODE 048: OVERCOME ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND FEELING STUCK INTERVIEW WITH ZACH’S DEBRIEF

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OVERCOME ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND FEELING STUCK

What a powerful, courageous story shared by Jolie. I’m really touched by her willingness to share her story in such a vulnerable way. Let’s take a moment and talk about what this means and get real for a moment.

The ups and downs

In your professional career, you will go through a roller coaster of experience and emotions. Challenges are going to come your way, and you’ll do a fantastic job tackling them. You’ll feel everything is going great. You love your job, you love the team, you love your boss. 

These temporary highs can and oftentimes will be followed by moments of extreme disappointment. In Jolie’s case, this caused by corporate reorgs and people pulling the rug out from underneath her on a job that she loved. 

Your reasons might be different. Maybe a family situation came up that forced you to change or move. Maybe a spouse got a new job and you went along to a new community, a new, new state or a new place to follow them. Maybe there’s something else that happened with COVID a restructuring or a reduction in force. There’s been a lot of stressors and a lot of challenges. 

From my experience working closely together with engineering leaders like yourself, I know these ups and downs are extremely common.

You hit rock bottom, now what?

If you resonate with Jolie’s story, I just want you to be encouraged that even if you’re in that rock bottom place, even if you’re feeling depressed and anxious, or just totally disconnected, burned out and bored, stuck. 

I want you to know that you can turn it around.

There is hope. There is passion. There is enthusiasm and energy and joy and love and celebration on the other end of this, but it requires you to do some really hard work and it’s not easy to do alone. 

How I got out of severe burnout

At one point in my life I found myself extremely depressed, embarrassed, and disappointed. I had just gotten divorced and I felt my life had completely derailed. My professional life was of course also deeply impacted by all this. 

And in my own personal journey, I found the best way for me to get out of this place was turning to both a therapist and a coach. 

My therapist helped me with my emotional healing. And my coach helped me build an inspiring vision for the future.

It was the combination of both at that time of burnout that helped me to turn things around so quickly and so powerfully going forward. They both empowered me and helped me to actually create a steep upward trajectory for myself from there.

So I just want you to take action on this. Please go get the help that you need. Reach out to a therapist, reach out to a coach and make sure that you’re taking action and not staying in that place one day longer than you have to.

Here’s the thing about burnout…

Burnout is not caused by what you’re doing. Burnout is not caused by long hours. I mean, I know engineering leaders who work incredibly long hours and are on fire, passionate about their work, loving their work. Burnout is not caused by a bad boss or a toxic culture or coworkers who are extremely negative. 

Yes, those are tough factors and they can make it really difficult to experience the quality of work life that you desire. But that’s not what causes burnout. It’s not what you’re doing that causes it. 

Burnout is caused by what you’re not doing

It’s caused by what there’s a lack of. 

You start to be under pressure. You start to feel stress. You start to feel anxiety and you let a couple of your good habits go. You stop taking time for yourself. You stop enjoying your hobbies. You stop exercising. You no longer go to bed at a reasonable time, and you start letting social media consume your mind.

You start giving up the things that keep you vibrant and energetic and alive. You let go of the very things that keep you healthy and balanced. 

And then you look in the work context. It’s not that bad boss that causes the workout. It’s the lack of meaningful connection to the people that you work with.

It’s the lack of connection to the purpose and the meaning that you want to have in doing work that matters. So you feel bored, you feel disinterested. It might also be that it’s a lack of being celebrated, receiving acknowledgement at work.

It bears repeating, burnout is caused by what you’re not doing.

Take action

When we step up and begin to take action to reverse that trend, we start to make those key things I mentioned a priority. Recovering from burnout really is a process that begins with putting yourself first.

It feels selfish at times. 

You might feel it contradicts your value of being a servant leader. 

I get it and I appreciate that, but this is a time that you need to be a bit selfish because you cannot give what you do not have. 

Put your own mask on first, then help others.

Help others recover from burnout

If this doesn’t resonate for you, I would love to challenge you to go out there and be an encouragement to the people who are burned out in the workplace.

If you see someone who you can just tell they’re in that disconnected, low energy disengaged, frustrated, stuck place, go out there and give them some meaningful conversation and connection. 

Be there for them. Encourage them.

Let them know that they’re doing great work, acknowledge them and encourage them to set some boundaries and to take a break. Help them move forward. 

This doesn’t mean you should tell them what to do or that they need a therapist. It means helping them to reconnect to the things that are going to begin to reverse that trend.

Hey, I know this was a heavy conversation, but I really appreciate every single one of you. 

Thank you so much for being willing to challenge yourself towards the life and the career that you desire.

We’re here to help at OACO and at The Happy Engineer Podcast. 

Remember to SHARE this episode with your peers, and ask any questions that you want us to dig into in our future Q&A episodes via email or our contact form.

Let’s do this.

 

Previous Episode 047: Win the Game of Life and Beat the Boss Level with Joshua Church

Back to ALL EPISODES

 

ABOUT JOLI FYTCZYK

Joli Fytczyk is currently a Planner at Keystone Solutions Group.  Joli joined the team in October 2021.  In her role, Joli will work closely and collaboratively with the product development project team to understand key deliverables, milestones, and have a high involvement in product development projects and manage program and project schedules. 

She has more than 15 years of experience in the consumer goods field with Whirlpool Corporation in a variety of roles.  Her past roles range from CAD product design in Dryers and Refrigeration to Project Planning in the innovation space working on product development and consumer insights.  

Joli holds a BA in Sociology from Western Michigan University and an Associate in CAD Drafting from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. While attending WMU she also completed a certification program for Massage Therapy.  

In her spare time, Joli has a passion for creative arts such as knitting, designing shirts and glass wears, candle making & even home improvement projects. She loves exploring outside with her family exploring and taking long walks. Joli has been married to husband Josh for 22 years and they have a spunky 6 (soon to be 7 – May 5) year old daughter Reid.

 

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

 

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Joli. Welcome to the Happy Engineer Podcast. So happy to have you with us today. And I can’t thank you enough for making time to be here on the show. 

[00:00:09] Joli Fytczyk: Absolutely. I’m so excited to be here.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:12] Zach White: Awesome. Awesome. So I want to kind of go off the beaten path just a bit, because ever since you enrolled in our program and we did some coaching together, I’ve wondered, and I never remembered to ask you Jolie about your Instagram handle.

[00:00:27] So you’re. A crunchy avocado, your hygiene, a crunchy avocado. And I have to ask, what’s the origin of a crunchy avocado. Why that name what’s that all about? 

[00:00:42] Joli Fytczyk: Well, I wanted to start a separate page to share my adventures in. gluten-free eating, so I have a gluten and soy and. I discovered that back in 2009, I’ve had lots of questions over the years.

[00:00:59] And so I’m like, well, I’m just going to start a page, share this. And, hopefully have some good conversations and just share information with people about how to eat gluten-free and, where to find that, that kind of stuff. And of course, I felt like I had to have like this cool name for it.

[00:01:16] as a creative So I came up with the idea of crunchy because I’ve always considered myself a little crunchy, a little earthy, Little nature, a little hippie, a little, just a little bit of all of those things. and then I picked avocado because in my food discovery and adventures and playing around with different ways of eating paleo, being one of them, I started to like foods that I never liked before and avocado being one of them.

[00:01:49] Joli Fytczyk: I just detested, avocado hated it. Couldn’t stand it. in my, paleo eating my tastes are changing and one day a friend made us some homemade guacamole and I was super hungry and I felt too bad to say no. Cause like he spent a lot of time making sure. So it tastes, I’m like, oh, oh, I like this now.

[00:02:13] And now I’m like obsessed with avocado. I put it on like 

[00:02:16] Zach White: everything. That’s good to hear because I love I could eat an avocado everyday. The whole thing. I’d love it. Yeah. I have a friend who’s allergic to avocado and I just think you poor soul. How, how do you survive out being able to eat? Um, okay.maybe we’ll, back up Jolie and thinking to the season of your career where we first met and what was going on there.

[00:02:41] Maybe I’ll frame it this way. You thought about. Making changes and leaving your job or doing something different to get out of a tough situation for quite a while before anything actually happened. And you experienced a lot in that season. So would you just take us back there to that time before you left, before the transition and tell us a bit about what was going on and what you were experiencing during that, stretch.

[00:03:10] while I was at Whirlpool, there was a. Large reorganization. my job drastically changed even though I didn’t change departments, I didn’t change job titles.

[00:03:23] and it was the first time that I really felt, Disappointment in my job. I had been with Whirlpool just about 10 years and I had really, enjoyed my time, you know, there’s ups and downs, like, any job, but, during the. transition.

[00:03:41] I just ended up in a situation that just wasn’t working for me I hadn’t reached the point where I started exploring going outside, but I started exploring other roles And up until that point, I had been, on CAD teams doing drafting. I had a discussion with one of my mentors And she was like, yeah, no, we gotta do something else. we implemented some networking and that got me. Into the w labs role which was also transitioning from CAD to being a planner. I loved that role. we felt like our own smaller company.

[00:04:22] Joli Fytczyk: We were sort of removed from that 

[00:04:24] Zach White: corporate. 

[00:04:25] Joli Fytczyk: feel we were literally in this building called the garage. We had our own building, and that was a really fun team.

[00:04:32] through the next couple years, there were more reorganizations and more dismantling of things that, that I really liked.

[00:04:40] it started to feel personal, like sad. Like I would get into full. Like, I really liked the stop taking this away from me. 

[00:04:47] you felt the disappointment, the first reorg, your job changed kind of out from underneath you. Someone pulled the rug out and 10 years of leading you in the CAD space.

[00:04:57] Zach White: And now, boom, new job was the mentor that you connected with. Someone that you already had a preexisting mentor. relationship with, or was that something you had to seek out at that time? tell me a little bit more about what happened there. Yeah, she and I were already connected.

[00:05:15] I was part of a. Self-lead team. We called ourselves the lead team leaders in engineering and development. it was kind of like a support group for women in engineering. and this leader was one of our. Group mentors or sponsors So I did happen to have a relationship with her before 

[00:05:34] Joli Fytczyk: that.so she put me in touch with a couple of people from her team, a couple of leaders from her team. And she’s like, I think you should just go talk to them. it was kind of one of those situations where you’re sending on a job interview, but you don’t really know that it is until like you’re halfway through your conversation. Okay. Oh like, oh, there’s something that might happen here. but yeah, it just, it just ended up to be conversations that led to really good places and really good conversations. thought that was one thing that I really did love about Whirlpool culture is everybody’s into networking. And those conversations would always lead to other conversations. And that’s how I sort of survived Um, Kind of get your name out there and 

[00:06:20] Zach White: yeah, I think it’s really important to emphasize.

[00:06:24] For any engineering leader, listening to this, that the time to begin building that network and establishing great mentorship relationships is before the reorg and the disappointment and the frustration and the point where you need it. And I hear a lot, Julie people coming and, they’ll talk to me and say, well, everything is really good right now.

[00:06:46] And I don’t, really need any help, you know? Want to get promoted right now. So I don’t need a mentor. It’s like, no, no, no, no, no. You got it all wrong. You don’t wait until that. To establish those relationships. And what a powerful thing for you that as you started to feel that frustration kick, like this is not working for me, that you had a great mentor to go to.

[00:07:07] And I love that she set you up with those conversations without framing it as an interview. Uh, Powerful mentor to recognize like, Hey, if you’ll just go in and be yourself in this conversation and get curious and ask some questions, that’s all you need to do. And we overthink this a lot. 

[00:07:24] Joli Fytczyk: Yeah. I was at the point of exhaustion as she saw it on my face and she’s like, we’re going to lose you.

[00:07:29] Aren’t aren’t we I’m like, I don’t know if I can do this anymore. And, I should say also stepping back before that also because of the lead team, I ended up having a conversation with another leader. that led to me making another change within the CAD roles.

[00:07:46] kind of feeling burnt out and like, I don’t, I don’t know what else to do. They had put me in a role that I didn’t feel. Met the level that I was at, and I had a conversation with this leader and he was like, hold up, what are you doing? And why are you doing that? I’m like, I don’t know.

[00:08:03] Joli Fytczyk: What’s what they told me to do. He’s like, no, no, no, no, no. So. He happened to be a leader in refrigeration. So that’s when I joined the refrigeration CAD team and same kind of thing came into a really great team. and we had a lot of great people. And then to have that kind of rug pulled out just a couple of years later and like reaching back out to these leaders. Like I just don’t, I just don’t know what else to do.

[00:08:31] Zach White: so there’s a theme here. We’re going to keep pulling on this thread. You get into a situation that’s not working. a key leader connects with you says, Hey, this clearly is not working for you. Let’s make a change. Something else goes sideways. You make a change. You go to w labs, this amazing innovation team.

[00:08:50] You’ve got this cool new role as a planner, and then the rug gets yanked out again. And so here’s Jolie, you just got shifted away from this team and role that you loved and w labs. Pick it up from there. Tell us what. 

[00:09:06] Joli Fytczyk: Well, the w labs organization got absorbed into a larger team.

[00:09:14] So it wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t set up the same. the projects weren’t the same, like in the w labs team, we were working on things that. the company has never worked on before food recycler, which of course as a recycling person, like, was like, oh, I love this project. 

[00:09:30] Zach White: Very crunchy project, very crunchy 

[00:09:32] Joli Fytczyk: project.

[00:09:33] Um, and the, the Vesey beer fermentor and dispenser, like, these are things. These are products that I’ve never. Dreamed of working on before. And so then they reorg it and I’m back to, laundry and refrigeration it didn’t feel exciting.

[00:09:51] and they didn’t know what to do with my role, And actually I fought to stay on that team. I was supposed to go back to refrigeration as like a build planner or something, and I made a fuss and like innovation team doesn’t have a planner. What are you guys going to do with that planner? So I got to stay on the team, but it wasn’t quite the same. I did start looking externally and I would get interviews. I would get calls with recruiters and the recruiters would be like, you’ll be perfect for this role.

[00:10:23] Joli Fytczyk: And then I get a call back and they’re like, yeah, they went another way. wasn’t given any results. So it was like feeling really bad. And like I spent all this time at this company, building this, what I think is a pretty cool resume. And like when you put it out in the world, nobody knows what to do with it.

[00:10:40] Like I’m only a value. Here because I only have these skills for only this company. it gets very frustrating. And I started internalizing that looking back now I realized that I was internalizing that I think at the time, it wasn’t quite as obvious to me.

[00:11:00] and then. I was presented. the end of 2018. I was presented with the opportunity to do consumer innovation, which is consumer insights. And that’s a role that I had been trying to eat into for years ever since I discovered that that was a thing, 

[00:11:16] Joli Fytczyk: So then 

[00:11:17] Zach White: I found myself in 

[00:11:18] Joli Fytczyk: this role. And so I got excited again, So. here you are, you, you were looking external, seeking a way to bring some energy and excitement back, and then boom. Now we land the insights role you’re out there interacting with consumers and applying your sociology degree. It’s like back on a positive track.

[00:11:38] Again is the kind of roller coaster of this up and down and up and down. And so now we’re, it feels like we’re back on top again. yeah, like it just, it felt good. It felt like I was actually studying people for.

[00:11:52] Purpose. I, I really liked that. here we are. I want to kind of get back into that.

[00:11:58] Zach White: Julia, this has a happy ending, right? Like you, you got another great job. what’s the big deal. And yet that isn’t what happened. take us to the kind of punchline here. You, you found yourself not in a good place again. Like what, why, what transitioned and what were the triggers that took you into that burnout that you mentioned earlier?

[00:12:17] 2020 happens, which led to another reorganization right in the middle of all of that. And I got to say that reorganization was probably the worst one. It was the fourth or fifth one that I personally had been through. probably in the last four years I was pretty positive. I wasn’t making it through. I was pretty convinced that I was going to be, let go, and to be quite honest at that point I was ready. I just didn’t know. What else to do the idea of being let go sounded amazing. Let me go, just listen. let me get outta here.

[00:12:55] Joli Fytczyk: And then I didn’t I made it through and I got a new manager, I suddenly found myself in same role, but a different situation than before different projects. I was removed from the project that I was in love with.

[00:13:10] and put on other projects, which happens, but just in the midst of all of that, and then having a pandemic on top of everything, it just really put a lot of things in perspective for me, in the. 15 years that I was with Whirlpool, I was commuting and drove an hour each way.

[00:13:30] which I know sounds crazy, but I was, I was committed. I’m not, I’m not moving. I love my town. These are where my people are staying here. But with the pandemic and the stay safe, stay home. Came a very eyeopening experience for me of what that commute was taking away from me two hours a day. I was funding in the car.

[00:13:53] I was driving a hundred miles a day, 500 miles a week. and to get that time back in my day, and with all the, rushing and the stress and the anxiety that it caused just became 40. To me. having the experience of solely working from home and being pretty productive, it just, it put a lot of things.

[00:14:18] And I think my internal system also had like this rest Like just a little bit of a sigh and then comes the, well, what do I do now? Like, I don’t want to go back to commuting, but what, what else would 

[00:14:33] Zach White: I do? And I think this is a story so many people can relate to during 2020, the contrast that it painted in our life and career was very different than any experience prior for a lot of engineering leaders.

[00:14:49] So. To have that new space and, uh, you know, whether it was good awareness or really bad awareness, it caused an awareness of some kind for all of us. where was the turn of that for you from a moment of relief to have that two hours back, and you’re not commuting to really experiencing, I can’t do this anymore.

[00:15:12] Something, something changed, you know, what, what was the. 

[00:15:16] Joli Fytczyk: there was a moment when everything piled on top of themselves and especially in those early days of the pandemic, there was no separation of work and home. I had a four year old at the time home with me who is not self-sufficient so trying to work and keep her out of my meetings.

[00:15:39] And that wasn’t possible. So often she joined in meetings or she was doing her stuff off screen and. I had an incident where I yelled at my whole team to get their feet off of the TV. And,

[00:15:56] but I had on me to myself and like everybody sat up and check their feet, like,

[00:16:03] um, just to have that time. But then to kind of back up to before that, my schedule before that was very busy. getting up in the morning, gaining family as ready as I can, but then I gotta go. Cause if I’m not on the road by seven, I’m going to miss that eight o’clock meeting. if not earlier, so a lot of times leaving sometimes before my family was even up, I might not even see them in the morning and then rushing to work and rushing through the day and not really taking a break because I got to leave at four so that I can be back.

[00:16:43] To town by five before daycare closes and let’s hope I don’t get stuck in traffic or that there’s not a snow storm or whatever. And maybe I’m calling into a meeting from the car. So I can’t see the screen if they’re sharing that, I’m just listening and that’s hard. and then oftentimes logging back in.

[00:17:04] After a bedtime and working So whole working from home thing really put that in perspective of how. Crazy. That was, but then in the back of my head was always that thing of, well, you’ve been on all of these interviews, you never get hired for, so what, what else am I going to do?

[00:17:24] I’m stuck? That’s it? I have no options. I’m stuck. And that really weighs in for me, caused very severe. Depression and anxiety. that can be a really dark place go. 

[00:17:40] Zach White: Was it going back into the office as COVID started to, relieve in terms of the restrictions that pushed you over the edge?

[00:17:49] Joli Fytczyk: Yeah,they had started talking about bringing people back to the office, that it could be flexible, but maybe not. And like, there were so many ifs and buts and maybes and I just couldn’t, I couldn’t understand it. I’m like I’ve been doing this for a year and a half completely remote.

[00:18:08] I’ve been, I went into an office a couple of times to do some things. And I, I liked that setup. I didn’t see anything wrong with that. idea of going back those anxiety started coming back.

[00:18:19] and I had this happen a couple of times as I moved roles and moved apartments. And then you look back and you’re like, that was crazy. Like, how did I do that? And that’s kinda how I, felt about the craziness of my commuting day. It’s like, I don’t, I don’t want to go back to that what were you experiencing? As anxiety and depression and that stuck feeling that downward spiral that people talk about that leads to this rock bottom kind of burnout moment. Like looking back now, it’s hard to maybe describe it when you’re in it, but when you look back at that time, what was that experience like?

[00:19:00] Zach White: What was happening, you know, in your mind and your body and your life? 

[00:19:04] Joli Fytczyk: I started. Internalizing anything and everything that went wrong in it didn’t matter how big it was. didn’t matter how small it was. 

[00:19:14] I was having a hard time, just like now I was having a hard time, literally putting sentences together. I wasn’t eating. I was barely sleeping. I was staying up until two, three o’clock in the morning, literally because I was trying to work. Cause I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t make myself do it anymore.

[00:19:36] I had a manager who I think had good intentions, but the way that they were managing me just made me internalize things even more until I hit this point that I just thought I was, a bad person. I was a bad employee. I was a bad friend. I was a bad mom. I was a bad wife, a daughter, everything, everything, just, everything was bad.

[00:20:01] Joli Fytczyk: Now, luckily through all of this, I’ve had an amazing therapist and I have to give her mad props and she had been. Lightly suggesting for a while that maybe I should just quit, and not do this corporate thing anymore. And that maybe that would give me more clarity and all that. And I was like, I understand what you’re saying, but my logical mind doesn’t compute with, I’m just going to quit and I have a job.

[00:20:33] It actually reached a point where I literally just couldn’t work anymore. So last summer I ended up taking a leave, at the recommendation of my therapist. and that ended up to be an amazing 12 weeks lots of self-reflection, lots of just me time, which. You don’t get as a employee, mom, wife, daughter, friend, like where am I?

[00:21:02] Joli Fytczyk: Where, where are the things that I used to, like my therapist would ask me that often, what have you done for you? What did you do for yourself this week? Like you give and give and give, but you need to do something to replenish yourself. And I wasn’t doing any of that. I had let all of that go.

[00:21:18] and that is part of what I do talk about on crunchy avocado now is exploring those things that, that I used to like to do a lot. I’m a crafter. I like, I like to do crafts and I didn’t do that anymore. I love to do home improvements. I stopped doing that. I stopped doing everything. 

[00:21:34] Last summer was really an amazing time for me. I did try a couple medications at that time. as far as like anxiety and depression goes, they did not work for me, which I think goes into my crunchy newness. mind my body just doesn’t enjoy medication in general.

[00:21:57] so that was part of the journey that I took, that I’ve started sharing bits and pieces of on a crunchy avocado different ways to look at nutrition and your mental health and things that you can do that 

[00:22:09] Zach White: way. Well, Jolie, I, first of all, just want to acknowledge you really appreciate your vulnerability to share the story here.

[00:22:18] it’s so hard to. Ask for that leave to take that 12 weeks, even when, okay. Maybe now, conscious mind here, you and I are talking, it’s easy to say. Yeah, you’re totally burned out. You’re feeling depressed. The anxiety is overwhelming. You can’t sleep. You’re not eating, right. Like, of course you need to take a leave.

[00:22:36] but it’s not like that when you’re in it, you know, it feels so shameful and embarrassing. to go have that conversation and ask, take such. Courage to go and do that. And then you get on leave. And that first few days, I can only imagine it’s like all the overwhelm of those thoughts of like, what have I done?

[00:22:53] Zach White: What am I doing? What’s this all about? And what, what were the things that happened during your time of leave that actually created some upward trajectory? when I first went on my leave, that it was obvious to everyone around me that something needed to change.

[00:23:08] Joli Fytczyk: I was, this was, this is I’m laughing because it’s odd for me. I was crying. All the time. And especially when it came to work, I would cry before a meeting. I pulled myself together. I’d have the meeting. I clicked that, hang up, call and I start crying again. It was just like, I just couldn’t it’s a step back, not me.

[00:23:30] so the first couple of weeks of my Neve I was basically crashed. D I did a lot of sleeping. that’s the time where I was trying the antidepressants and it wasn’t really working for me. I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like I could be productive in the way that I was being told to be. And by told I me and my therapist saying, Hey, you gotta do this.

[00:23:52] Joli Fytczyk: You gotta do that. So I would say probably the first couple of weeks or so I was kind of in this fog like what’s happening to me and it’s happening in my head and trying to get out of that internal you’re bad. You’re worthless. You’re like nothing is ever going to work out ever again, just very dark.

[00:24:16] But as I started to come out of that fog, we happen to have a family vacation planned And we went to a house on a beautiful little lake, little Higgins lake. that place is my space. So my home that’s like my body goes when we get there. And that was really. The upswing for me, it was a lot of time in the water.

[00:24:43] It was a lot of time in the sun was time with friends. Of course we still like COVID, but these were our safe friends. This was our pod, you know? So like nobody had to wear masks and just like a real relaxing kind of time. Yeah. that’s when I started discovering that my body and my mind need more movement than.

[00:25:05] Ben doing so taking walks, listening to inspiring podcasts, uh, yours, lots of Bernay brown, lots of Bernay. I’ve heard people call her Saint Bernay. She’s amazing. Oddly enough, the Holderness family is another podcast that I’ve really come to love. They’re the family that do the goofy videos online, which I really identify with them in that way.

[00:25:33] But then their podcast is all about relationships and family and cool. then I got, back into exploring foods, like I said, I’ve wanted to really take my mental health in that direction. So working with. my functional doctor and my therapist, they recommended this book. this is your brain on food.

[00:25:53] it’s an amazing book. a psychiatrist wrote this book and talks about how different foods affect your brain in different ways. so experimenting with that, Can you back into my crafts has been huge, but the biggest thing for me is, I, I am a recovering perfectionist, Which was one of the things that my therapist and I first started talking about when we first started meeting and she pointed out that maybe I had been seeking perfection, maybe just a little, and I didn’t really know that before. I, I have never thought about that. And it’s funny, I came home from that session and I told my husband, I told my mom, I told my friends and like, did you know that I’m a perfectionist?

[00:26:40] Joli Fytczyk: I’m like, yeah, Like for real, I told my friend, she’s like, I’m sorry. I thought you knew, I didn’t tell you. I’m like, I have no idea. So as I talk about these things and my self-care, I give myself some grace. So like I don’t do them every day, but I know that I do them when I need to, At the pace that I need to, I just, I have them mountain of craft projects that look so wonderful at my goals.

[00:27:14] And then they sit here for awhile. 

[00:27:18] Zach White: Oh man. Well, totally. I had this love the difference in the energy that you’re bringing in this moment, even versus five minutes ago. How’s your describing what you’ve brought back into your life. And one of the things that I share with all of my clients, when they describe burnout, everybody wants to know what is it that I’m doing, that’s causing burnout and what I remind people of.

[00:27:45] And it’s coming into your story in a very present way. It’s so easy to see it. It’s very often, if not always. Not about the things that you are doing. It’s about all of the things that you’ve stopped doing, and you’re not doing that. It will ultimately push you over that edge to a place of, deep and painful.

[00:28:07] And, sometimes the lasting consequences of burnout we stopped sleeping, we stopped eating healthy. We stopped doing the things we love with the people we love and the downward spiral. It’s like, we give up all the pieces. Keep us healthy first and do more of the very things that are driving us towards an unhealthy place.

[00:28:28] And so I just really appreciate you sharing the story. If someone listening, maybe they feel like they’re on that downward trajectory or they’re in that dark place, or know someone who is what would be one piece of advice that you might give as a place to start or an action to take. If somebody is resonating with your.

[00:28:50] it’s very important to have a good therapist that has made a big difference for me. I also. I think that having the right therapist, I’ve gone to a couple of different ones. the first person I saw was not helpful. I went there because I didn’t know what to do. I like, I was so frustrated.

[00:29:12] Joli Fytczyk: I don’t know what to do and this and that. And she would sit there and listen, let me talk and listen. And in the end she’d be like, okay, well, this is a great session. So next time just think about what you wanna do. We want to go, like, I don’t know, like you’re supposed to be helping me. You’re causing me stress.

[00:29:28] Zach White: That’s a really good point. I know a lot of people who go to one therapist and have a bad experience and they do one of two things either give up on therapy or they stay with that therapist because they. Embarrassed or like scared to break up with their therapist. so please, you know, if somebody out there is listening like insight.

[00:29:48] Yeah. Like don’t be ashamed at all of saying I’m going to keep going to different people until I find exactly the right fit for what I need. I really appreciate that. Well, Joliet, I know we could go on and on and on with your story. This has been tremendous. I really hope people find courage and the fact that they’re not alone in this challenge and you have a very happy ending and your life has done to continue to go upward from here.

[00:30:12] I know that we could talk about all the wins in your life since then, but for now, we’ll just say, you know, this, this movie has a really, great climax and a happy ending, but Jolie, we always finish in the same place. And given the context of what you’ve gone through in your life journey, the rollercoaster over 15 years at Whirlpool, the deep challenges of burnout, taking a leave and having to bounce back from that dark place, if someone is in that spot, but they want the happiness, the joy, the energy, they want to still find success in their career, knowing that questions lead and the answers for.

[00:30:53] What question would you lead that person with? 

[00:30:57] what are you doing just for you? It’s easy as a, let’s just say adult to get caught up in doing things for other people or other responsibilities. if you’re a parent. your kids take over and like, you’re making sure that everybody else is having a good time, but what are you doing for you?

[00:31:18] what fills you? And if it’s hard to get to that answer of what that is, the other part of the. advice for the therapist is I would also say, find a coach, because working with you have also worked with, Anna Morgan at the career BFF. what a great like, oh my gosh, she’s amazing. So have done that work with you and Anna, when I was really stuck in that space of like, I just don’t, I just don’t know like how, how I must not be doing this right.

[00:31:56] Joli Fytczyk: To be able to get that advice and to be able to, just improve the confidence. And once I got the. call for a new opportunity for this new place in a map. And I’m so happy to be. it helped me in that. Just to have that preparation done already and then to have your voice and Anna’s voice.

[00:32:20] And I had like, just keep brave, have courage tapes. Yeah. Like it’s fine. It’ll be okay. And like, what’s the worst that can happen and all that kind of stuff. Um, yeah. Just, just make sure you’re doing it for you. 

[00:32:35] Zach White: I love that really powerful question. What have I been doing for myself lately? Yeah. Jolie, if someone’s resonating with your story and, you know, they want to connect with you or just, say thank you for your courage to share this today, or maybe follow your amazing crunchy work that you’re into these days.

[00:32:54] Where can people do that? 

[00:32:56] I’m happy to link up with people on LinkedIn. it’s been so fun growing my network, on there and engaging in new conversations. And then at Instagram, it’s just a crunchy avocado. it was with the a there’s a couple others, weirdly enough. but w with an a.

[00:33:16] Joli Fytczyk: Where I post about food. And like I said, I’ve started to post a little bit about self care and I would love to grow that community and start some good conversations on there. 

[00:33:28] Zach White: Awesome. So we’ll put all those links in the show notes where we always do, and you can find those, uh, you know, on the happy engineer, podcast.com and we’ll make sure that a crunchy avocado at a crunch avocado is linked up properly.

[00:33:43] And please, I 

[00:33:44] Joli Fytczyk: don’t have a FTP page for that for all of these crafts. Cause your house can only be filled with so many things. Um, And the progress over perfection. That’s, it’s a work in progress. Um, 

[00:33:58] Zach White: I love it. I love it. Yeah. Well, Julie, thank you again for just being open and sharing your journey. I know that so many engineering leaders can resonate or are experiencing it right now.

[00:34:10] And so I hope they’re encouraged to take action to get the help they need and to move forward. I just know that you’re going to be tremendously successful in your family, in your work and everything you pursue as a recovering perfectionist, but it’s just been super great to have you. Thanks again. Yeah.

[00:34:29] Joli Fytczyk: Thank you so much. You’ve enjoyed this

 

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