A lot people who burn out on something, like their job, figure that it’s time to move on and do something else. We all have that week, that month, or that year where every single thing we’re doing feels like pushing a two-ton boulder up Mt. Everest. The whole grass-is-greener mentality comes in to play and the mirage of “something better” becomes a neon sign that constantly blinks in the back of our mind. Giving up seems like the only reasonable option. But is it?
The desire to seek relief from an ongoing challenge at work is totally natural. After all, there are some really high pressure jobs out there...I mean...have you ever seen The Wolf of Wall Street? The characters in this movie got drunk and did cocaine every single day and night. They considered this to be “part of their job”. Oh, and let’s not forget the quaaludes. They took enough of those to kill Godzilla! My thought is that if you have to consume massive amounts of alcohol and illegal substances just to get your job done (or get any enjoyment from your job), something is definitely wrong.
Whenever I’ve exerted all of my energy at work doing something that has yet to bring any fulfillment or success, I know that I may be on the brink of burning out. Rather than doing something stupid like popping open a bottle of ludes, I remind myself that I probably need to do the following three things:
Wait it out. Good things come to not only those who wait, but those who keep working hard and have faith that their efforts will come to fruition. If it’s not meant to be, whatever “it” is will fall apart. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that I do my best and don’t give up.
Ask for help. Sometimes I put too much on my plate because I assume no one else at the office is capable of helping me. Though it would be nice to handle everything myself, this just isn’t going to happen. In the workplace, we all have different talents, abilities, skills, that when combined, should create a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine. If I am responsible for too many moving parts, the machine is bound to break.
Be careful how you think.
You could be perfectly capable of carrying out a task that your boss has assigned to you, but just don’t want to do it. If you are constantly telling yourself how much you don’t want to do something, you’ll search for reasons to justify these feelings. In fact, you may begin to think that you don’t have the skills or the experience to pull it off. If you start believing this, you will burn out and push yourself toward failure – which, in any circumstance, is a recipe for disaster.
When your boss hands you a new challenge, consider it an opportunity – not a burden.
If you are expected to complete a task in an area that you don’t have much experience in, you may feel like you’re walking down a busy highway with a blindfold on. Rather than pretending like you know where you’re going and what you’re doing, ask for some assistance - don’t be afraid to speak up! In the end, your employer needs to get something done and they are relying on you to do it. Nine times out of ten they will be happy to steer you in the right direction in order to help you complete the task.
A couple final notes...
Are you adding something positive to your work environment? Or are you sucking the life out of people around you by complaining about your job and being negative? If you find yourself in the latter category, you’re going to wear yourself down as well as those around you. In fact, you probably understand the whole concept of burning out better than most people out there!
I truly believe that human beings have more control than we think when it comes to preventing burnout. For example: If you stop complaining, you’ll probably notice a drastic difference in the way you feel each day. Try it. I guarantee your perspective will change from bad to better.
Don’t get me wrong, there are jobs out there that put people under an unreasonable level of pressure – to the point where it’s just not fair. If you feel like you’re being stretched far beyond your capabilities, it may really be time to put on the brakes or move on to something else.
Life is an adventure - and it is short. If you are getting close to burning out at your job, please don’t use this as an excuse to stop in your tracks and give up. See if you can wait it out and if needed, get some help from the right people. Embrace the challenging tasks in front of you and learn from them as much as you can! You won’t regret it.