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Dealing With Occupational Burnout

Dealing With Occupational Burnout

Is Work Killing You?

By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer

- Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.

- I wouldn’t say I’ve been *missing* it, Bob.
Office Space (1999)

Chances are, you are going to suffer from some form of job burnout at one point or other in your career. Be it physical, mental or emotional, the stresses involved in your professional world are very real and can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life. If you dread the notion of going into work in the morning or have the regular urge to hurl your keyboard out the window, you may be experiencing some form of occupational burnout.
How do I recognise burnout?
Burnout impacts us all in different ways and for very different reasons. But the central underlying symptom is a reduced enjoyment and enthusiasm for your work. For some, the effects may manifest themselves by way of apathy or carelessness; in others it may breed aggression or restlessness. The first key to coping with burnout is to identify the issue and to admit that something is amiss.
Don’t ignore the problem
You are doing no one any favours by being unhappy. Feeling tired, overworked or anxious at work is not normal and you should be looking at ways to relieve yourself of this burden. There is no shame at all in admitting to yourself that something is not working for you and that it needs to be addressed. Just like an illness, detection is the key to being able to find a remedy.
Go retro
A good practice is to try and to think back to a time when you were skipping to work and high-fiving your co-workers after productive meetings. Try and identify what made you so happy and enthusiastic and if anything has changed between then and now. A retrospective analysis of your work history can offer a good glimpse into your present state.

Take a break
If you are concerned that your burnout is impacting your productivity, it may be wise to take some time off work. It could very well be that you need some time away from the office to disengage and recharge for a while. Even the Energizer Bunny eventually runs out of gas. To make the most of your time away, allow yourself at least one week to relax and put things into perspective. Upon returning to work, you will know right away if time off was all you needed.
If that black cloud is still hovering over your head after returning from a break, you may want to consider discussing the matter with your employer. If the rigours of your daily work are impacting your productivity or, even worse, your health, it behooves you to inform those that work with you. They are in the best position to be able to offer you help and guidance. You may be in a position to reassign some of your work or to take on new projects. Suffering with the status quo is never a good option.
Move on
In the event that you are not able to resolve any of your issues with your current employer, it may be time to begin looking at making a change. You may look into a subtle change, such as shuffling your responsibilities or taking on a new role within your company. On the other hand, larger changes could be at hand should you decide to change career paths entirely.
Ultimately, suffering in silence is never the right course of action. Take the time to identify the source of your discontent and work towards finding the right solution for you. Sometimes, it can be as simple as going to lie on a beach for a week to regain your energy and motivation.

“If you have any comments to submit to the author of this piece, feel free to send an email to

"The content contained in this article is intended to be for informational purposes only.  You should seek the advice of your family doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding medical, mental or personal issues.”

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