4 Steps to Leaving Job Burnout Behind
Has work felt increasingly like a radioactive lead weight around your neck for the past couple of months – sapping your energy and crushing your enthusiasm until it’s all you can do to drag yourself into work and just get through each day? You could be experiencing job burnout.
The idea of calling it quits on the job front may even seem like a beacon of hope in the desperate landscape of a psychologically oppressive workday. The frantic push in December to wrap things up at the end of the year, followed by working harder than ever in the first couple months to start the new year strong can be overwhelming under the best of circumstances. You add in personal upheavals, as well as the colder and shorter days of the remaining winter months, and you have ideal conditions for job burnout.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone. According to a recent Randstad survey, nearly 40 percent of adult workers in the U.S. are considering quitting their jobs due to job burnout. However, stress significantly impairs decision-making skills so walking away from your job could be a big mistake. Here’s how you can begin the new year with a new attitude.
4 Steps to Ditching Job Burnout in 2019
1. Identify the Problem
While friends and family are likely to suggest vacation as a quick-fix remedy, it’s simply that – a quick-fix. Unfortunately, short-term solutions aren’t going to solve what is inherently a long-term problem.
If you want to overcome job burnout, then you need to address the underlying issues. Burnout doesn’t typically stem from one specific situation, project or person. Instead, it’s the accumulation of all your negative emotions over a period of time.
“Boredom, not caring and stress are all feelings,” vice president of career management consultancy Keystone Associates Dave Denaro told NBC News. “Maybe the job you were excited to do a while ago has morphed over time into a Frankenstein-like collection of tasks and responsibilities that don’t play to your strengths or your interests anymore, and most of the people you liked have moved on. Misalignment has crept in little by little, and the total of those little things are adding up to be a big, stressful, thing. It’s now a toxin. It’s painful.”
Randstad’s survey also found that two of the most common triggers for job burnout are lack of professional growth and feeling that your boss does not appreciate you.
“It goes beyond just being tired of your job,” Randstad chief human resources officer Jim Link said. “Employees have to ask themselves some tough questions to understand why they’re feeling burned out to help find a solution.”
2. Speak Up
Start by having an open and honest conversation with your boss to figure out how your job can align with your long-term goals, performance expectations and future with the company. For example, if you feel that your workload is excessive and contributing to stress and burnout, you need to address this by discussing your schedule and workload to find solutions that are mutually beneficial.
“Communication is key. The holiday season can be an extremely stressful time of year as workers try to meet every end-of-year deadline but staying silent if you’re struggling doesn’t help at all,” Link said. “Employees need to share how they are feeling with upper management for support and to collaboratively work on a solution to prevent further burnout.”
Letting your manager know that your workload is unrealistic before it starts impacting your performance is ideal. Additional support can help you avoid stress and burnout before it starts. It’s perfectly normal to find these conversations intimidating. In this case, you can start these dialogues with colleagues first to find out how they are handling these pressures.
If you’re new at your current job, see if your company has any online tools or employee resources groups. You can use these to find some empathy, camaraderie and ideas to handle work stress.
3. Ongoing Professional Development
If your company is not currently offering ongoing professional development opportunities, then you should make a case to start one. Online training providers like KnowledgeCity already have extensive content in critical skills available on-demand to jump start any training program.
Research has consistently shown that learning is critical for good mental health. It gives us a sense of accomplishment, growth and development. By stimulating our minds, we are more engaged and proactive at work, which makes us work and feel better. Also, ongoing training makes us feel more capable and competent at our jobs so that we are less likely to feel overwhelmed.
Furthermore, in addition to gaining professional knowledge and ground, most professional development programs have content that you can apply to other areas of your life, as well. For example, KnowledgeCity’s Emotional Intelligence course provides the knowledge and skills you need to identify and manage your emotions to increase well-being and avoid job burnout in the first place.
Sometimes, job burnout can be from bad work habits like procrastination that can contribute significantly to work stress. Employee training that targets Conquering Procrastination puts you back in control of how you handle your work load so you can avoid scrambling to catch back up again.
Best of all, online training programs don’t need to drain the day. You can absorb training short microlearning bursts that are easily incorporated into your schedule as needed.
4. Leave Job Burnout Behind
After touching bases with trusted coworkers and boss, motivate yourself with small, incremental goals to boost your work happiness and productivity. Also, make sure you’re not focusing all your energy on your work. Even just getting enough sleep and taking small, 10-minute breaks can help you recharge and feel more capable at handling whatever the day throws your way.
You may want to consider creating a journal to list your professional goals. Commit to keep track of all your personal victories. No matter how small they may seem, note these small successes. These can include praise from your boss, coworkers and customers, idea pitches, sales and mentee growth. Having the strength of collective successes in one place gives you support during tough times. It also provides you with substantiation to validate professional growth and promotions.
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