- Lack of control or individuality
- Inability to influence decisions pertaining to your job
- No camaraderie with peers
- Excess repetition
- Lack of boundary between work and personal/family time.
- Unrealistic expectations from supervisor
- Values of conflict between you and the employer
- Stale environment
- Insufficient compensation
- Little room for lateral or upward mobility
- High stress with little to no down time
- Supervisor unwilling/uninterested in addressing concerns/requests for help
Have you been feeling exhausted, depleted and stressed to the core? Ever feel like you don’t have boundaries between your work life or personal life? Do you feel like you’re sinking, unable to meet constant demands, and are starting to have zero motivation? If you’ve said yes to any of those questions to any degree, you may be experiencing job burnout. Let’s take a closer look as to what exactly job burnout is, identify causes, and examine ways to quell the symptoms before they take you down.
What is Job Burn Out?
In essence, job “burn out is a state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” When one feels constantly overwhelmed and unable to meet demands, stress begins to sky rocket while the initial passion and drive that led you to take on the role in the first place tanks. When burnout occurs, productivity wanes and energy is depleted. Most people begin feeling resentful, cynical, sad and hopeless. In a majority of cases, people that experience prolonged periods of burnout will ultimately leave their jobs through resignation or termination.
There are a wide range of causes for job burnout, including:
What Can You Do?
First and foremost, don’t wait until you begin experiencing full on burnout symptoms to do something about it. Job burnout is potentially preventable but almost impossible to overcome once you're experiencing it. Wanting to “do something about it” while you’re experiencing burnout symptoms is likely to send you on a downward spiral and possibly lead to depression. Even if you love your job, it’s important to have reflection points with yourself on how things are going and what can be improved. Furthermore, it’s not a bad idea to keep your résumé and skills up to date and understand what the current tempo of the job market in your area is like. Though it’s not ideal to change employers, it might be an option to consider if nothing else works. In addition to reflection points and continuously updating your résumé, consider following some of these tips:
Use Your Vacation Days
According to a study from a campaign group, Project: Time Off, 52% of Americans ended 2017 with unused vacation time while 24% said they hadn’t taken any paid leave in more than a year. In addition, U.S. employees were “concerned that taking vacation would make them appear less dedicated” or “felt that their workload was too heavy” to take time off. Other reports indicated that "company culture" and a "lack of encouragement from management to take time off" were significant reasons U.S. employees ended up not making use of vacation time. If you fall into this group and don’t utilize your paid time off, it’s time to start! Taking vacation days doesn't have to be a mark against your work ethic or character. If your employer makes you feel like you’re not entitled to your time off or makes your work load so unmanageable that you don’t feel like you can afford to take vacation, then it’s time to change your employer. It’s 2019 and a majority of companies are focusing on working smarter and not harder. Management has made a shift to encourage their employees to take advantage of paid time off (PTO), flex time and working from home which has been proven to aid in employee retention rates. Take advantage of your vacation days and recharge your mind and body. Sometime you don’t even realize how drained out you are until you actually take time off.
Communicate with Your Employer
Though you may be reluctant and concerned that your employer will think of you less favorably if you tell them you are experiencing burnout symptoms, any decent manager understands the importance of their employees being happy and productive in their jobs. Most employers understand that burnout leads to decreased productivity, and therefore decreased profitability, and are likely to help you and or provide you the resources to succeed. Recruiting and hiring new employees is expensive thus employers would much rather aid existing employees than find new ones to replace those that leave. If you are experiencing burnout, set up a meeting with your manager and be open and honest about your situation. If you’re not comfortable speaking to your manager, reach out to your HR department. Let them know what you’re experiencing but make it clear that you’re not giving up. Come to the table with some ideas that can help alleviate some of your burnout symptoms.
Change Up Your Routine and Environment
Many people feel refreshed and energized as soon as they make little changes to shake up their routine or change their environment. Anyone would feel dull and bored working in their same cubicle, staring at the same walls for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, and so on. Ask your employer if you can change floors, locations in your office or even occasionally work remotely. Sometimes, employers may even let you work out of another office in another city. Look into your options. If moving locations or offices isn’t possible, try changing up your current work station. You can rearrange your desk, bring in new furniture/decorations, take breaks throughout the day and walk around the office. You can even ask to work on new projects/tasks, etc. In short, think of ways to change up the same ‘ole same ‘ole for something new.
In a world where the balance between work and your personal life is hard to achieve, it is important to recognize you are experiencing job burnout. With the tactics presented above, avoding job burnout or remediating the issue can be found. With knowledge of the cause, communication, a vacation or a change in the routine, you can come out refreshed and renewed in your professional life.