Overcoming Work Burnout
We’ve all felt burnout at work, whether we recognized it or not. The nagging feeling that you’re just not happy at your job, lacking the fulfillment and joy you once experienced. University of California, Berkeley Professor Christina Maslach has been studying burnout for decades and says it all comes down to an absence of balance. For most people, that imbalance manifests itself in a few specific areas.
Problem: Work is 24/7
Technology has changed exponentially in the past couple of decades and it affords us many luxuries. But having technology at our fingertips every moment of the day has its drawbacks. When you’re constantly connected, even jobs that shouldn’t be all day, every day become never-ending. Feeling like you can never get away or everything is urgent is a classic cause of burnout.
Solution: You’ve probably heard the advice to “disconnect” before, but most people don’t apply it to work and that’s a mistake. It’s important to take breaks during your work day to reset your mind and attitude. Take breaks, have “power hour” or quiet time, establish what constitutes a real “emergency”, or evaluate how you could delegate more of your tasks.
Problem: Company Culture
Whether it’s change in ownership, staffing or just the nature of a business, the environment of an office can change and sometimes not for the better. If these changes have left you feeling unappreciated, uncomfortable or disconnected, they could be the culprit of your burnout.
Solution: First, don’t make any rash decisions. Many times these sorts of changes are just growing pains in a company and they can work themselves out. If they last longer than you’re comfortable with though, perhaps discussing these things with your boss would help. Management may be unaware employees have felt a shift in company culture or maybe these changes are part of a bigger, better transformation you aren’t aware of yet.
Problem: Same Old, Same Old
We’re all familiar with being stuck in a rut. Whether it’s personally or professionally, it zaps you of your creativity and excitement. Feeling stagnant in your role often leads to disengagement and no one wants that, least of which your employer.
Solution: I’ve never heard of a manager that didn’t appreciate an employee asking for more responsibility. If you like your job, but need your role expanded, talk to your supervisor about it. Let her or him know you feel confident in your abilities to perform your current responsibility while taking on more. For most people, only you know what your day-to-day is like so a little communication can go a long way.
If you’ve worked through some of the possible problems and solutions for burnout and are still feeling it, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your employer, your position, or even your career path. It’s okay if the solution to your burnout requires a bigger life change, just don’t jump to that as your first response. For most professionals, the solution is better communication and a little TLC.
About the Author: Lindsay Konlande currently serves as the Association Assistant for IREM Houston. Lindsay earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication from Texas A&M and has several years of experience in marketing, public relations and copywriting.