Ways (Which Really Work) To Head Off Job Burnout
So you’ve got a mega-stressful job, eh?
Are you an air traffic controller? A highway patrol person? A fire fighter? A single parent? Do you have a job that entails dealing with people who are in a highly critical stage of their lives, yet who do not seem to be willing to take the help you are proffering?
You may be headed towards job burnout.
You’ve got to realize that burnout will result in a) physical symptoms—you may find yourself feeling overly fatigued and just plain scattered – as well as in b) mental symptoms–like a reduced ability to stay even-tempered and to maintain a professional equilibrium.
Additionally, your physical exhaustion will remain constant. No amount of caffeine or of switching channels by tackling a less-trying task will revive you.
Perhaps you have a desk full of paperwork. However, it’s not enough that you have a massive work load. There are plenty of folks who have reams and reams of paperwork which must be seen to on a daily basis, prompting a tired feeling at the end of the day.
However, that’s not enough to spark a genuine case of job burnout.
What would put you in the category of someone possibly heading for job burnout would be a case of how you perceive the issue.
Psychologists have discovered that you need to be experiencing a mismatch between your values and your day-to-day experience for you to be headed towards job burnout.
For instance, let’s say that you give your all on your job – your assignments are performed to the best of your ability; you put in the requisite research time; you strive towards timely completion of projects, etc. –but you don’t feel that your sense of a fair reward (salary and benefits) is being met.
That’s enough to tilt the situation towards job burnout right there.
Or if you are doing something which you can’t quite square with your idea of fair play…it doesn’t seem right to be doing something you’ve been asked to do, in other words. Well, that’s certainly enough for you to feel like you’re always teetering on the brink of job burnout.
And if your control belief system is mismatched with your current job, you’ll also feel a sense of job burnout.
This means that you may believe that you need to be given more of an ability to control the output of your tasks, i.e., you’d like recognition, and to take part in all aspects of your tasks, not just a segment…but this isn’t the case.
You feel, instead, a lack of control about the general outcome of what you’re involved in.
Yep, you’re going to feel conflict which seems as if it can’t be reconciled.
When the job circumstances rub up against your belief systems, this is liable to result in job burnout.
Although extreme levels of high-stress, which the jobs mentioned earlier seem to require of their employees, is also enough to cause a mental and physical shut-down, it isn’t viewed as high-risk as situations where your belief system isn’t being validated.
High-stress jobs usually attract Type A personalities who thrive on extreme challenges and know how to “shut it off” when necessary, and, generally, how to make it through their days with minimum wear-and-tear.
If you, for whatever reason, are experiencing job stress, and you are not at liberty to engineer more of a match between your belief system and your actual work scenario, be advised that you might need to save your health and regain a sense of peace by walking away from the stressful scenario.
Let’s tackle how you will know that you are needing to take decisive anti-burnout action. You will feel the following:
- You are losing patience with and possible snapping at your co-workers, clients, etc. It’s one thing to react in an irritated manner when someone does something which interferes with your job performance or which you might perceive as unacceptable behavior, but it’s another thing completely to ALWAYS snap at your colleagues with the slightest perceived professional or personal infraction.
- You are beginning to not give a hoot about your job anymore. This is self-explanatory. What used to stimulate and energize you no longer does so. It’s hard for you to motivate yourself to care.
- When you think of your work area, you equate bad things with it. No matter how hard you try to come up with cheerful aspects to your work place, when you’re burned out, your mind doesn’t register anything positive or pleasant when thinking of your place of employment.
- You can faintly recall feeling impassioned about your title and responsibilities but now you feel neither impassioned nor revved up about new ideas, nor like rooting for the well being of your company, or of your team.
OK, now that we’ve got a handle on what is involved in a potential job-burnout case, let’s discuss how we can head it off at the pass
It’s true. There are steps you can take which can help you cope while you’re engaged in a negatively stressful job situation.
Here are a few tips guaranteed to help you avoid job burnout:
- Give yourself permission to think that it may be time to switch jobs, or to take a hiatus so you can figure out what your next steps should be. Accept that you’re due for a change, and take steps to help you feel engaged in your life’s work again.
- Don’t isolate or sublimate. If you start to remove yourself from your co-workers and from friends and family, you may not want to deal with their questions about your tasks…or your sour mood. And steer way clear of any unhealthy mood-altering manners of coping. Just because you push the problem down won’t mean it’s going away for very long. Deal realistically (and with support, if necessary) with your need to revamp your life.
- Get tuned into your own basic needs, and to particularly difficult times. If you find that you have fallen into a rut that seems worse in the early evenings…if that seems like the hardest time for you…don’t ignore it. Go with it. Acknowledge it and pay special attention to your responses and moods, then. Do you need someone whose opinion you respect to buoy you up a bit with her/his sage advice and loving manner of putting things in perspective? Get that person to interact with you on a daily basis…at least until you’ve made needed changes in your work life.