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Are You Suffering from J.O.B. Burnout?

Updated on March 27, 2016

According to a number of studies completed, up to 50% of employees think often of quitting their current jobs. Why do so many employees spend time thinking about leaving? According to a Gallop poll, a large majority leave because they don’t have a good relationship with their immediate supervisor. Others leave because they are burned out.

What is burnout? It is a state of mental, physical, and/or emotional exhaustion that can threaten your health and your relationships. It can also affect your work. It can be caused by work or family related stress. It can be a result of years of frustrating working conditions, or it can be caused by taking on too much and not taking care of your physical and mental health.

Burnout Assessment

How do you know you are burned out? If you answer yes to a number of these questions, you may be suffering from burn out.

  • Do you often feel physically and/or emotionally drained?
  • Do you tend to think or talk negatively about your job or your boss?
  • Do you feel you are less sensitive or sympathetic with others than you think you should be?
  • Do you feel under valued and under appreciated at work?
  • Do you feel over worked and that you don’t have enough time to do a quality job because you are overloaded?
  • Do you wonder if you are in the right profession or the right job?
  • Do you find yourself daydreaming about retirement even though you are years from it?
  • Do you feel empty or depressed at work, or like you are not able to contribute anything of value?
  • Have you lost your motivation to get up and go to work?
  • Have you lost interest in social activities?
  • Do you get sick a lot due to lowered immunity?

Many employees who are burned out have mentally quit already. In Human Resources we refer to these employees as “retired in place, or RIP”. You can tell who these employees are because they are the ones with the “whatever” attitude. They are those who perform just enough to keep their job – but no more. They use up all their sick leave, vacation, or personal time off (PTO) every year. They may be withdrawn and don’t appear to care about the “vision” for the future of the company or work group; all that concerns them is their vision of leaving as soon as they can find a way.

Does this describe you? If so, here are some things you might try:

Suggestions to Reduce Burnout

  1. Start with getting more sleep. A lack of sleep lowers your immunity, and interferes with your ability to focus. Shoot for at least seven hours. Studies show that people who get less than five hours of sleep on a regular basis are far more prone to both physical and mental illness.
  2. Improve your diet. Start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and cut back on fried foods and carbohydrates. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine and start drinking lots of water to flush the toxins out of your system.
  3. Carve out time each day that is just for you. Disconnect yourself from all “devices” for at least an hour a day. Turn off your laptop and telephone. Spend that time in meditation, contemplation, reading, journaling, or on any relaxing hobby.
  4. Find time to exercise. We all know the benefits of exercise on our physical health, but we often don’t find time for it. Even a 10 to 15 minute walk at lunch can reduce stress and improve your emotional health.
  5. Learn how to say “no”. If you have a problem taking on too much learn how to manage your “commitment” load. Take a class in assertive communication. When you are asked to volunteer for something, say something like, “I would love to help with that, unfortunately I have another commitment at that time (no one needs to know the commitment is to yourself). Or “I would love to do that for you, but given my workload right now I could not deliver the quality you want. Thank you for asking though” Even with your boss, learn how to set limits. Say something like, “I will be happy to do that for you, but here is what I am working on right now. Which of these would you like me to put on the back burner so I can do it for you?”

If you truly hate your job, and even these suggestions don’t help, perhaps it is time for drastic measures, such as seeing a mental health professional or changing jobs.


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