Burned Out and Ready To Flip Out if Something Doesn’t Change?

A colleague of mine, Mary Frances-Winters, shared this post on her blog. Stemming from my curiosity surrounding work/life balance, I thought that I should share it and am curious to know your thoughts.

You really understand the phrase “learning to do more with less”. They have downsized yet again at your company and again you get to take up the slack. Every time they lay people off, it just means more work for those who remain. Now you are literally doing a job that three people used to do!

You work overtime constantly, take work home and feel like there is no end in sight. What is burnout and what can you do about it? Job burnout is a specific type of stress that is characterized by physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. It leads to doubts about competence and the value of your work.

Burned Out

Feel sad and irritable: You are not happy at work or out of work. You are irritable and say things to co-workers, friends and family that you regret.

Fatigued: You are tired all of the time and have trouble sleeping and getting started in the morning.

Apathetic attitude: While you used to love your work, you now find yourself disillusioned with it and not caring about producing at a high level. Maybe this attitude stems from a feeling that you are not really adding value or making a significant contribution. You just feel like you have been reduced to a “number” and nobody really cares about you.

Physical illnesses: You are sick more often with headaches, backaches and other symptoms that are stress related.

Binge eating and drinking: Maybe you are using excessive eating and drinking to assuage your feelings. Or maybe you are not eating at all.

If you identify with any of these issues, you may be experiencing job burnout. What should you do?

Seek professional advice: This is first and foremost. Contact your doctor or other health care provider.

Assess the situation at work: What can you do to improve your work situation? Are there tasks that you can eliminate; steps in a process that can be modified? Conduct your own job analysis to ascertain what you alone can do to reduce the workload.

Discuss the situation with your boss: Depending on how supportive you think your boss might be, consult with him/her about your concerns. Take a solution with you to the meeting. Do not expect your boss to “fix” the situation.

Ask yourself if you really like the work: You used to love your job but it has changed. Maybe it means it is time for you to make a change too. Does the work bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment? If the answer is no, maybe it is time to conduct a career self-assessment and find a job that you really like.

Take a break: The work will be there when you come back. Nobody is totally indispensable. Get away for a long enough period for rest and rejuvenation.

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