If you feel uninspired in your career and drag yourself out of bed every morning to get to work, you may be experiencing career burnout.
Employees across industries like education, healthcare, business, and others encounter career burnout at some point in their lives.
Although not a medical term, burnout was officially recognized as an “occupational phenomenon” by the World Health Organization and International Classification of Diseases in May 2019.
Employees must be aware of the symptoms and consequences of career burnout to implement proactive practices that can help avoid it.
Some common reasons employees experience burnout pertain to the organization's structure they are a part of. Employees who have experienced burnout have reported feeling a lack of control, insufficient social support, unclear job expectations, and dysfunctional workplace dynamics.
The frustration of not being able to manage your workload and schedule may sound familiar. This is because it is a shared feeling amongst many employees that induces stress and instability. When an employee cannot effectively manage the demands made by their organization and the responsibilities within their personal life, it is likely for them to build resentment towards their company.
Work in itself can be draining, and it becomes increasingly difficult when an employee must deal with a problematic team, a micromanaging manager, and an overall toxic work environment.
The physical and mental exhaustion of career burnout is often overlooked or normalized. Still, it is vital to become aware of the symptoms to find ways to tackle the problem.
Common signs of career burnout include fatigue, insomnia, excessive headaches, irritability, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
A study showed that “41% of people who clock in 50+ hours per week say
their companies don’t address burnout, and 36% don’t know whether employee wellness programs are an option.”
All these factors contribute to the stress employees carry in their day-to-day life. If an organization lacks the appropriate resources to support its team, these daily stressors can become long-term health issues.
Since career burnout is usually a result of multiple factors in the workplace, the best way to avoid it, one of the best practices an employee can apply at work, is setting boundaries.
This can be regarded as refraining from taking calls or answering non-urgent emails outside of office time and staying away from saying “yes” to tasks while having an exhausting workload.
Although it may be challenging to say no when approached for help, employees must maintain control of their time and resources to ensure they are allocating enough dedication to their most essential tasks.
Another helpful tactic is to invest time into relationships and activities outside of the workplace. Cultivating healthy outlets can help employees relieve some of the stress-induced from work.
Employees must remember that they have the right to a life outside of their career because constantly thinking about work will quickly lead to an unhealthy work-life balance.
Another way to avoid burnout is to celebrate all the little moments life offers. As cliché as this may sound, career burnout is sometimes a result of feeling disappointed or insufficiently successful.
This is why it is helpful for employees to celebrate the little accomplishments in and outside of the office, like completing a project, going on a jog, or finishing a book.
Overall, the best way to avoid career burnout is for employees to take care of mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Employees must stay away from allowing their career to become their entire life.
Of course, the responsibility not only lies on individual employees but also on the organizations themselves. Organizations should offer resources, trust, and flexibility to gain control over their lives and create time for themselves without fear of repercussions.
About the Author
Lomit Patel is the Senior Vice President of Growth at Together Labs (formerly IMVU). Before Together labs, Lomit managed growth at early-stage startups, including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired. by Apple), and EarthLink. Lomit is a public speaker, author, advisor, and recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff. Lomit's book Lean AI, part of Eric Ries' best-selling "The Lean Startup" series, is now available at Amazon.