Job Burnout: Where There’s Smoke….

Remember what happens whenever you ignore something that’s annoying but really important?  That’s right, it turns around and bites you.  Every time.  Job burnout is one of those important things.  Deny it, pretend it’s not there, overlook the warnings and wham! You’ve got:

Of course, any of the above signs could be attributed to something else, some underlying or unsuspected health problem.  That’s why it is important that you speak with your doctor or mental health provider.  You want to rule out any other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.  If it is indeed job burnout that plagues you, there are some ways to get some help:
  •  Evaluate your job situation.  See if you can figure out what’s stressing you out the most at work.  Identify the culprits.
  • Manage the stressors at work.  Once you’ve sorted out where the problems are, make a plan to deal with the issues.
  • Weigh your options.  Talk over your concerns with your supervisors at work.  What are the options?  Can you modify job expectations?  Organize the allocation of resources more effectively?  Is job sharing possible?  Is flex time available, or even telecommuting?  What about developing a mentoring program?  Are there options for more training or education, or other professional development?
  • Reach out for support.  Coping with job burnout on your own may only make it worse.  Get some help from family or friends and loved ones, maybe even other co-workers.  See if there is an employee assistance program (EAP) available – they often have terrific support resources.
  • Consider an attitude adjustment.  If you have been sarcastic or cynical or negative at work, think about changing your tune.  Sometimes these behaviors creep up on us and we don’t realize how difficult we’ve been to be around.  Try to find things at work that you still enjoy.  Praise fellow employees and co-workers for their efforts.  Bring positive energy to meetings and encounters with others in the office.
  • Take short breaks.  Taking short breaks throughout the day can often really ease tensions.  And be sure to pursue things you enjoy when away from work – it will carry over into your workday.
  • Reassess your interests.  It may well be time to look for work in a different field.  Perhaps your interests or values have  changed and it’s time for you to move on.  Perhaps you need work that is less time-consuming or otherwise demanding.
The point here is simple.  We spend a great deal of time at our jobs.  If we are truly unhappy at work for any reason, both our mental health and our physical health suffer.  A burst of well-timed ‘flight-or-fight’ stress might save us from danger, but exposure to constant stress seriously disrupts all our  processes, leading to numerous and serious health problems, including heart disease, obesity and depression.
Do not be afraid to consider other options.  Given our present economic situation, especially the job and hiring market, no one feels very secure at work.  We are hanging on to jobs we might otherwise have left months or even years ago.  And a bit of denial is fine.  It helps us cope with tough issues: emotional stress, conflict, anxiety, the lot.  But too much denial, flatly refusing to face facts, might keep us from seeking the help and relief we need.
 So think it over.  How’s it going at work? Smell any smoke?  

One response to “Job Burnout: Where There’s Smoke….

  1. Pingback: Leadership Thought #234 – Are You Spread Too Thin? « Ed Robinson's Blog

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