Occupational burnout is more common than ever in our fast-paced, high-stress world. Do you work long hours too routinely, dread your job on daily basis or find your work is seeping into your home life? You may need to re-evaluate whether your career is doing as much for you as you are for it. Luckily, there are things that can be done to prevent and aid occupational burnout such as working through personal development to bring down stress level, but sometimes the only remedy is a complete career overhaul.
What is Occupational Burnout?
Occupational burnout extends beyond the “ugghh…how long until Friday?” mentality. According to author of High Octane Women
, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter
, “Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.” Unlike an acute stress trigger, burnout creeps into a person’s life gradually until they are entrenched a state of dissatisfaction toward their job or life in general. It is important to address this problem early so it doesn’t leak into all areas of the person’s life or lead to depression or other mental health issues.
Who Experiences Occupational Burnout?
Workers in any career can experience burnout, but it is most prevalent in the care-giving
industry where professionals are under pressure to better the lives of others such as doctors, nurses, social workers and psychologists. Other workers who are more likely to become burnt out include: those working in the educational system, lawyers and police officers.
Signs and Symptoms of Occupational Burnout
Some of the many symptoms
of occupational burnout include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Chronic anxiety or anger
- Loss of motivation to work
- Lack of energy
- The use of crutches such as alcohol
- Increased job errors
- Poor productivity and reviews
- Increased irritability
- An apathetic attitude toward work and/or other people
What Causes Occupational Burnout?
Some factors that lead to job burnout include interpersonal problems or negative working environment, value differences between worker and boss, the feeling that your work is undervalued, poor work-life imbalance, or a job that doesn’t fit your interests or skills.
Can You Fix Occupational Burnout?
According to the Harvard Business Review
, some things you can do to help rediscover what initially drew you to your job (or overcome negative feelings you now associate with work) include:
- Break it up – Get up every now and then and walk around. Take short breaks when you need them. Sometimes getting a brief perspective change can help you re-enter the cubicle on a better note.
- Shut it Down After Hours – because of all the technological advancements today we end up tethered to our jobs which wasn’t the case before the smartphone and laptop became extra limbs. We feel compelled to check work emails even when we are off the clock so it is no wonder we are becoming resentful toward our jobs.
- Take a Mini Huatus– Take a long weekend if you are particularly work-stressed. Maybe a short break with rejuvenate you. Many people don’t even utilize all their available time off, so do it!
- Focus on the positives at work – spend time concentrating on the tasks that are meaningful to you in your job, and less time griping about the parts of the job you dislike.
- Try counseling – sometimes talking with a trained professional can help get you back on track and give you some positive coping mechanisms for those really tough work times.
When to Consider a New Career
If you have tried all kinds of different things and still can’t shake your burnout, you may have to look at a career switch. This may sound like a rash solution, but humans will spend 35% of their total waking hours
of a 50-year career on the job so if you are suffering from seemingly unfixable occupational burnout, that is a lot
of your time spent being unhappy. Even though it seems to be the societal view to just “punch your time”, you can always retrain and try something that is better suited to your interests and won’t put as much strain on your life. You are on control of your own path!
Thanks for visiting EMC