10 Signs of job burnout and what to do about it

You are convinced you do not suffer from job burnout.  It makes you mad if someone were to even suggest it. You have probably missed all the simple signs that you were coming in for job burnout. Why?

Because they grew on you quietly and stealthily! It started with road rage when that wretched fellow ahead seemed to have all the time in the world and seemed in no hurry to get there, leaving you with no option but to swerve, dip, cut and take absurd risks. It was his fault! You firmly deny road rage. So, OK, you managed to get to the workplace safely. What happens next will indicate whether you are a case for impending burnout or already suffering from it. Do you identify with any of these?

  1. Work was always demanding, but now the intensity of demands from other people have increased
  2. You believe you work has become more complex
  3. There seems to be constant unexpected problems cropping up in an endless stream
  4. Deadlines have become somewhat of a problem
  5. You are given insufficient authority over your work 
  6. Nobody seems to notice or appreciate your work. You feel overworked and undervalued
  7. It is difficult to get information on key developments in the workplace  
  8. There is very little interactive supportive at work 
  9. You are unhappy and detached at work 
  10. You take things personally, emotionally

In case you were under the assumption that job burnout is a fairly recent phenomenon, no – it has been around from the 1970’s when an American psychoanalyst, Herbert Freudenberger coined it to describe the high ideals that led to severe stress in people in professions such as doctors and nurses who sacrificed themselves for others, often ending up “burned out” – listless and unable to cope any more.  Here’s how he defined it, as “the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results”. 

If you have to concede reluctantly to some of these symptoms, you know you are sleep walking through your job, and you hate it, yet there is nothing you could do about it. 

Here is the do-it-yourself therapy to cure your job burnout within a short time. 

Stress is when you can recover easily even though drained out.  Job burnout is when your dignity, values, and spirits have deteriorated, and you don’t see a way of coming out of those symptoms.  Admit that you need to help yourself out of this mess. Job burnout is easily curable. 

Realize that if you were to quit this job and seek a more fulfilled and engaged career, you could face the same situation in due course, unless you pinpoint and address the issues covering this job. It is time to take control without quitting the job. 

Contemplate - there has to be a better way of doing this job.  Have you become too passive – taking on everything in an effort to improve yourself (and impress?)  Then, you need to fire up your job a little, perhaps release some assignments, take on something different, or do the same thing differently.   Here’s where technology can help. For example, web-based project management systems are exciting and addictive to work with. They are highly effective when dealing with multiple people.  They are fast, accurate and instantly accessible. They show current project status, enable changes and facilitate communication across multiple channels in a streamlined manner.  

Give up some things (not family time or friends).  Every job has components that could be discussed with your supervisor and remodeled or delegated or just plain deleted from your workload. Considering your worth to the organization, it is most likely that concessions could be made.

Start helping others.  This is intoxicating. So rather than waiting for help, extend your hand, even in minor ways, to others. This is a form of anxiety treatment. Both body and mind are known to relax when positively interacting with others (not social media interaction).

Before your reach out for medicine, go for burnout treatment through sports or meditation.  Do you know that meditation teaches you to empty your mind and brings mind and body calmness? As for sports - it can release happiness hormones such as serotonin. Did you know that having a pet is a kind of burnout therapy? Pets are very understanding about one’s moods and all forgiving. Here is another secret – start eating organic.

Have an introspective eye on your job – is this the right professional path you are treading on? Is this where your full professional strength can be realized?  What does your mentor say about it?  It might be time to take stock of whether you are in a toxic work environment, or whether inherent disinterest in the work has increased with time. If the question has crossed your mind more than once – is this it? If the answer is disquieting, it could be time to move on.  

Created: July 26th 2016


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