A Jaded Employee’s Career Burnout Guide

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After you graduated with a shiny bachelor’s degree, the real world seemed full of exhilarating opportunity. Now, a few years later, you feel like you couldn’t care less. The challenges you face in your job aren’t interesting, and you rarely feel motivated to put in more than 25 percent of your effort, even though your boss keeps pushing for 110. Maybe you struggle to focus on tasks at hand, instead becoming consumed by small irritations and annoyances around the office.

Your problem is easy to diagnose: employee’s career burnout. Burnout is a mental condition that can negatively impact your work and life, causing fatigue, apathy and depression. Fortunately, the prognosis is good as long as you are willing to make significant changes to your lifestyle and attitude. If you still have major ambitions but are unable to summon even minor amounts of enthusiasm for your job, this guide is for you.

A Jaded Employee’s Career Burnout Guide
A Jaded Employee’s Career Burnout Guide

Common Causes of Employee’s Career Burnout

In general, prolonged exposure to mild to severe amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone, will eventually cause burnout. However, by identifying what is causing your body to pump out cortisol, you can better recover from your burnout and resume your climb to your dream career. Here are the six most common sources of burnout at work:

Overload. When your tasks are too complex, too urgent and/or too numerous too much of the time, “overwhelmed” swiftly turns into burnout.

Lack of control. Your boss doesn’t have to be breathing down your neck 24/7 for you to feel like you don’t have a say in how (and when) you do your job.

Conflicting values. If the corporate culture around you doesn’t agree with your core values, you might feel constantly attacked.

Insufficient rewards. Everyone wishes they were paid a bit more, but if you seriously feel taken for granted, you probably won’t try as hard.

Lack of fairness. It doesn’t feel good to frequently see favoritism, nepotism or seemingly arbitrary rewards.

Lack of community. Like it or not, you see the people you work with more than you see your family. If you don’t feel connected to them, you’ll start to hate going to work.

Bouncing Back From Employee’s Career Burnout

Different psychologists have different opinions on the best way to bounce back from career burnout, but nearly all agree that investing in yourself is key. In all of the above-listed causes, problems arise because you or those around you are not putting you first; you feel forgotten, ignored or undervalued, so you give up. By putting more emphasis on your own health, happiness and success, you will begin to recover your lost feelings.

Some psychologists prioritize health as a means of recuperating from burnout. You can try finding exercise you enjoy, following a healthy diet and regularly avoiding potential toxins like alcohol and drugs. Indeed, by giving your body a baseline of health, you are likely to stabilize your hormones and generate more positive emotions.

However, as you enhance your body, you shouldn’t forget about your mind. You can stimulate your brain and improve your career prospects by returning to school. By enrolling in advanced education, you will prepare yourself for a job change, which might be necessary to get you out of your rut. You can enroll today in an online MBA, no GMAT required, to truly commit to recovering from burnout. You might ask your current employer if they are willing to sponsor your courses, which could relieve some financial stress.

Avoiding Future Employee’s Career Burnout

Burnout isn’t like chickenpox; surviving one bout doesn’t prevent it from coming back in the future. In fact, once you develop burnout, you are even more susceptible to the mental disease. Thus, you need to be careful to stave off burnout during your recovery and especially after you start to feel normal.

Communication with your employer is critical for this. As soon as you feel the signs of burnout begin to develop, you should schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your options. Ideally, you can use some of your vacation days to take a break from work and regain your balance. However, you might also request new responsibilities or a more flexible schedule – whatever you feel will alleviate your stress.

( Photo by AndersLindgren )

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