Maybe the topic was horrible, or the person was. Maybe you messed up the job, or forgot about it entirely. Maybe the hours were inhumane and the demands impossible to predict. Any conscientious editor will encounter a few of these situations if they stay in the profession long enough. In fact, any professional will. Sometimes the situation was so bad that the editor still has a physical reaction years later. These steps will help you recover:
- Do self-care
- Reaffirm and/or retrain
- Check in with a mentor
- Take time off. Really off.
- Rest, eat, and move about. Take care of the body.
- Do things that help you unwind, whether that’s a walk in the park, time with pets, or shopping.
- Spend time with people who are important to you.
Reaffirm and/or Retrain
- Review past praise.
- Take a course or start a study group.
- Have another editor review your work and discuss what they would handle differently.
Check In with a Mentor
Co-mentoring counts here. Debrief the experience with a trusted colleague. Discuss any alternatives to handling the person or situation. You might have to develop a new co-mentoring or mastermind relationship to get this done, but it may be the best professional development exercise you ever do.
Keep going. Don’t let this stop you. This is an opportunity to grow and improve. No senior editor got to that career stage by letting a bad experience stop them.
Watch for red flags on coming projects that might signal another project like this. Listen to your reactions. If you’re still having a physical reaction, don’t take such an assignment again. If you are an employee, check with HR about your rights; this is a health issue. Take steps to make this self-care part of your routine, so you have reserves to draw from and a ready remediation plan the next time this problem surfaces.