I had no intention of changing industries. 

And yet, a conversation with LOCAL added embers to an already growing fire inside of me.

I had been running on empty, but I thought to myself, “I will surely get over this.” I loved the vision and had the skills to do my job. Yet, I felt the incentives to continue pushing as hard as I was were absent and despite my wins, my voice didn’t feel heard. I was overly dedicated to my job, and the burnout I felt was an unwavering, unwelcome guest that stayed past its allowance. 

I was tired of approaching every situation as if they were constant fires, which inherently was unsustainable. Being told that I was an employee that could be thrown into a lion’s den and still be triumphant was a title I did not want to claim. It was certainly affirmation, but I was beginning to understand that I needed more than that validation.

Evidently, I was already experiencing what my therapist labels as “accelerated growth”…this chapter of my late 20-something year old life that included a deep awakening in all facets of my existence. My ego wanted to hold on to my thoughts of legacy and behavioral patterns, but my higher self knew I needed to let go, to level up. 

The discomfort from change is real, but discomfort and burnout do not have to go together. The burnout comes from constant change without the right support system in place. 

This theory was confirmed yet again at the beginning of 2020 when I felt another chapter of transition was upon not just me, but now also the collective. External circumstances are calling us all to take a hard look at choosing what creates more alignment with our own personal and professional lives rather than what we have been told we need to do and should want. It has become apparent that these core yearnings for more, to be recognized for more, are part of a larger voice that is growing stronger. 

Born and raised in The South to two Persian parents, I had always felt a little bit of an outsider. I was constantly aware of the cognitive dissonance created by these two cultures I was a byproduct of and wanted to cultivate. So, I started becoming fascinated by the why of everything. The insatiable craving to learn allowed me to take a step back to observe first rather than react to what society was telling me I needed to be and do. I just didn’t recognize and start leveraging what made me so different as a superpower until the most recent job. 

I wanted to be in an environment where my questioning was championed and encouraged. 

The beauty of what LOCAL does is that you’re taught to recognize that every moment of frustration, confusion, anxiety, resistance in the workplace, and truly beyond work, is actually an opportunity to examine your culture and how it embraces change. 

Those feelings themselves are not inherently bad in nature, we just live in a society where you are told to suck it up and do your job…to be grateful that you even get to be part of a company that takes care of you, let alone a company in which you fill a role you might even enjoy and find fulfilling. 

However, beyond the individual experience, companies push for progress collectively to survive. That’s a fact that is true given any point in history. What’s drastically different is that progress is happening at a quicker pace than ever before thanks to social media, technological advancements, and rapid globalization. Companies are asking employees to push for progress, without also acknowledging AND supporting the internal growing pains that come from change.  

The work LOCAL focuses on is that of the workplace, of teaching partners how to lead employees and themselves through change successfully so that discomfort is overcome and progress is made, but burnout is not a symptom. Because the truth is, you can feel burnout even if your job is the most exciting, most revered, most cherished and comes at the cost of not being heard in the workplace. 

Change does not always include progress, but progress always includes change. Change wants to be friends with Progress, it just often gets stuck with Burnout.  

Whether it’s through art, styling, social media strategy, PR, onsite activations, or community engagement – I relish the opportunity to bridge concept to creation in producing work that speaks to us on a deeper level knowing that we all want to be heard and seen. 

Sheyda Mehrara

Author Sheyda Mehrara

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