4 Signs of Burnout: Protect Your Health and Your Career
You work hard. And that's fine. We all work hard. All around you, men and women are getting up early every day, facing the cold morning, and stepping out the door to do battle with the world. By the end of the day, most people have given just about all they have to give, and they climb into bed for a few hours of well-earned sleep. But there's a difference between "giving all you have to give" and giving so much to your job that you have no physical or emotional energy left over for yourself, your own life, and the friends and family who deserve your love and attention.
If you're teetering on the edge of true burnout, you may not recognize the signs until it's too late. Once you hit a crisis point, you'll need to make radical and difficult changes in order to protect your relationships and the quality of your life. But if you spot the signs in advance, you can start making a series of small changes in time to ward off trouble and protect yourself from needless suffering. If you can identify any of the red flags below, take action now.
1. You aren't the person you once were.
For most of your life, you've been kind, patient, interested, and affectionate with those you love. But lately things have changed. And to be honest, you just aren't that pleasant to be around anymore. You have little interest in other people's storylines, and their joys and sorrows just don't move you like they used to. In fact, your own story doesn't interest you that much either. You're cranky, cynical, irritable, and impossible. If this describes you, reconnect with your old self and find out what happened to him or her.
2. You can't ever seem to stop.
No matter how close you come, you just can't seem to get fully on top of your overflowing inbox. It's a moving target that's always just out of reach, and you haven't felt a sense of completion or accomplishment in weeks, or even months. There are two ways to solve this: 1.) move faster, or 2.) reduce the tide of work that's coming your way. If the first isn't working, it's time to try the second.
3. Your team isn't as busy as you are.
Your boss goes on vacation five times a year, and when he's in the office, he's staring out the window or gossiping. Your direct reports are bickering and surfing the internet. Your peers are always out of reach. Meanwhile, you're holding the organization together. If this describes you, it's time to do two things: 1.) practice saying no, and 2.) delegate. Flex your leadership skills.
4. Your physical health is under assault.
Your back hurts. Your eyesight is diminishing. Your skin is drawn. You're losing muscle tone. You're eating too much junk food. You can't sleep. You seem to have a low-grade, constant cold that never ends. You've been pushing these issues to the back burner and writing them off as the cost of doing business…but enough is enough. It's time to put your health first. Protect and care for yourself so you have the strength and energy to take care of others.
It May Be Time for a New Job
If your recognize all of the warnings above and your efforts to change just aren't working, it may be time to look for another job, one that's better suited to your needs and better for your health. Talk to a career counselor and visit MyPerfectResume. Then start planning your next move.