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How do you keep yourself from burning out?

By Ben Kubicek,

Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is out of town.

This piece is essentially about work / life balance, but I wanted to discuss the signs of being burned out at work. If we can recognize things that cause us to burn out, perhaps we can do something different to avoid it. I find it interesting that often people that are burning out at work, don’t always recognize that burnout is happening.

First, let’s talk about things that can lead to becoming burned out. I would say first and foremost is working too much. Sometimes our jobs demand that we go over and above our normal “working” hours, but when we are always working more hours, nights, weekends, the load can be too great. Some companies are good about comp time and let you take time off in compensation for the extra time you work. Others are not so gracious and use the, “well you are a salaried employee,” excuse. Also, never or rarely taking vacation days can lead to burn out.

Next, the work you are doing can be burning you out. If you get no enjoyment at all from the work you are doing you can burn out. Every day at work becomes drudgery, there is nothing to look forward to except lunch and quitting time.

Finally, there are co-worker or boss relationships that can cause you to feel burned out at work. When you have to work with someone every day and they always seem to get under your skin. Or your boss is more of a task master or micro manager, they never seem to listen to you or show any appreciate for the work you put in. I am sure there are other things that can and do cause you to feel burned out at work.

So, why don’t we recognize that we are burning out at work? Sometimes, it is because we are just too tired to realize what is going on. Other times, we don’t feel like we have other employment options. Many of us are kind of "grin and bear it" sort of people. We push on even though it is miserable.

In my previous position, I was burned out. My wife noticed it way before I did. She noticed how stressed out I was about work. Working relationships that were once good had turned sour. I really didn’t enjoy the work I was doing, but I felt trapped. The pay was good and I had been with the company nine years.

So I would suggest asking the people around you, your friends or family. Ask them if they think you are burned out at work? If you are tired from working too many hours. If you are stressed about work and dread having to go to work, you might be burned out.

Now in some cases, you are causing yourself to burn out. You are pushing yourself to work extra hours and aren't taking vacation/holiday days. The conflict you are having at work is as much about you as your co-workers or boss. So take stock of your situation and ask yourself honestly if there are things you can do to turn the situation around and avoid burn out. If there is nothing you can do, or if you are unwilling to do something different on your part, then it might be time to move on.

Let us know if you are or have been burned out at work? What caused you to feel burned out?

 
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