Burned by the job? What to do, what to do…
Great article from the Mayo Clinic about Job burnout.
As many of you know, I retired from my nonprofit job after 12 years.
I worked at my agency from 2001-2006, then went back in the spring of 2007 and made it until the end of this June.
As a master’s level social worker, I know what job burnout is all about. I can recite all of the signs that one is burned out from the job. I worked for over a year knowing it was time for me to move on. For awhile I resisted making any changes, I think because I loathe (and fear) making any changes in my life!
So here’s what I experienced in my months of burnout:
- Coming home at night so tired all I could do was crash on the couch after dinner, and then wanting to consume large bags of Lay’s potato chips and sugar-laden foods.
- Turning down social invitations because I was so emotionally and physically fatigued.
- Absolutely dreading Sunday afternoon, because it was time to get ready for another week of work.
- Increasingly impatient, irritable, and angry with everyone–my agency, my coworkers, clients, and myself.
- I always had a headache, or backache, or some kind of damn pain, somewhere in my body.
- I was always complaining about my job, to anyone who would listen.
- My sleep was poor; I would fall asleep with no problems, then wake up a few hours later, unable to get back to sleep.
I floundered for awhile, wondering what the hell to do next. As a “mature” woman, I had to take into account ageism. If I quit my job, how long would it take me to get another one?
That’s when I started thinking about retirement. My full retirement age is next year, so I needed to assess my situation. In the end, I decided to take early retirement and start looking for part time work after a short break.
I realize you might not be in the same age bracket as me, so here’s what I suggest you do if you think you have job burnout:
- Start by assessing your situation and what you want to do next. I do not know if this will work for you, but when I admitted to myself that I was burned out, and needed to make a change, I started to feel like I was taking control of my situation. I told myself, over and over again, that I would know what direction to take next at the right time for me.
- Get some support–family, friends, coworkers (if you feel comfortable doing so), a therapist, minister, or perhaps someone who does career advising for a living.
- Consider talking to your doctor, and see if your health insurance covers any therapy sessions or support groups. If your company participates in the Family Medical Leave Act, do you qualify for some time away from work?
- Get your resume spruced up and get it out there–on Monster.com and Indeed. Join LinkedIn and start connecting with others. Spend some time on Craigslist and troll the ads, just to see what’s out there.
- If you see some jobs that appeal to you, apply for them and see what happens.
- Take a vacation if you can!
- Better yet, get some exercise! I took some Pilates classes, and they helped me manage my sleep. Yoga and walking helped me a lot also. Getting outside in the fresh air is a great mood booster.
- Even better, try some meditation, especially if you are having trouble sleeping.
I have classified myself as semi-retired right now. I will admit that I’m starting to feel a little anxious, and hope to get some part time work soon. But I am certain that I did the right thing for myself–my mood is improved, I have caught up on my rest, and I feel in control of my life again. I miss my work mates something fierce, and plan to see them socially whenever I can.
But I’m also happier than I have been for a long time, at peace with my decision to leave a job that I was ready to leave.
And if you feel you are burned out by your job, I’m sending you a virtual, side-type, Granny hug. Try my ideas, or Google job burnout.
There’s hope for all of us, I’m certain of it!
And here’s my latest iPhone pic, that I took today while I was out walking in the sunshine: