Saturday, March 27, 2010

Preventing Short-Timer's Syndrome

Are you suffering from Short-Timer's Syndrome? This often happens when we are close to reaching our goal.

Originally, the term Short-Timers was applied to a syndrome observed in military soldiers who were about two to three months out from their rotation or returning home. I believe short-timer syndrome can apply to civilian and military life.

Senior Slump or Lame Duck is another way of terming this specialized short term but difficult condition. This syndrome is seen and observed in work, education or at the end of an association or officer leadership position.

Since we are almost two months from May and June, the common months of graduation and association term ends, it is a good time to take a deeper look at it. Short-timers often get burned out and are frazzled. This is because they have so much to do or accomplish in their limited time. However, short-timers  need to think about their future as much as they need to enjoy the present. This is a true time of transition and transitions are never easy. Being a short-timer is hard.

Review the following and see how you approach the end of a work project, educational assignment or association position.

At Work: 

When the contract or project is almost at the end 

a) I get focused and so preoccupied with the future, I don't focus well on today's project with full intent. 

b) I try to be all things to all people, so I can leave a lasting "legacy". I avoid thinking about the "day after" I finish. I will think about that later.

In an Association:

When my term is almost over - 

a) I begin to get the attitude of "I'll let the next person deal with it".

b) I work overly hard and start burning the candle at both ends. So much to do, so little time. I don't think about the future.

At the End of an Education Program:

When I am nearing the completion of my degree or educational program -

a) I find myself worrying about the future and I am not concentrating enough on the assignments and work I have left to do.

b) I start focusing too much on the now, and avoid thinking or doing anything in planning for my upcoming future.

What Can You Do if You Are a Short-Timer?

1) First determine what kind of short-timer you are?

2) Take a moment and view your end by the other perspective.

3) Consider hiring a transition or life coach to help you avoid burning the candle at both ends. The coach can provide some light and clarity to help you see clearer beyond the current assignment, and help you make a bright future, while still helping you focus on the now.

For Short-Timer's
Want to stay in the present? Consider hiring a transition or life coach to help guide you through these times.

For Family, Friends or Colleagues of Short-Timers

Consider giving your "short-timer" the early gift of a transition or life coaching package. This will help your short-timer shine through the end of their work and help them plan for their future.

You might also enjoy these posts - Eking It Out in The End 
Senior Year and Change.

1 comment:

Fred said...

Terry brings up an excellent concept of the difficulties of being a short-timer. I think this is especially true for those retiring from the military, which is such a specialized lifestyle. I know, having retired from the Air Force. The transition was difficult for me to make. The military has taken care of you for so long that you suffer from the angst of facing the civilian world which lacks the discipline, esprit de corps, dedication, fraternity, and institutional courtesy and structure of the military. As one Air Force retiree told me, "You don't realize how dedicated you were until you get out". The sense of belonging and mission is disrupted and somehow you just can't recapture it in the civilian setting. As a short-timer, you may inwardly dread retiring from the military even if you publicly pronounce otherwise. Then if you get into a civilian job where others lack courtesy and tact, you really miss the military. Even your identity related to your name is effected since your rank - be it as officer or enlisted - has effectively been part of your name for a long time. So for the military retiree, it's a short-timer problem on both sides of the fence from that time boundary of the retirement date - anticipation of leaving the military and then adjusting to civilian life.