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The following is a post by MPFJ staff writer, Kevin Mercadante, who is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry.
Job burnout is something that affects most workers sooner or later.
It’s not that you necessarily need a new job – it’s just that there are times when you just feel like you’re stuck in a rut, or even question why you’re in that career at all. This can happen even if you ordinarily like your job and the work you’re doing.
Most often, job burnout isn’t a matter of coming to the end of your rope in your job or career. Like nearly every other facet of life, sometimes it just needs a recharge.
1. Take on new projects at work
Job burnout often comes from the “same old, same old” syndrome. As human beings, we all crave a certain amount of diversity in our activities. It may be that you just need a bit of a new direction in your job.
You can satisfy that need by taking on new projects at work. I’m not talking about “busy work” projects like cleaning out the file room or rearranging the office furniture. You have to take on a project that will make you feel challenged and valuable.
This might involve taking the lead on a new initiative in your department, or taking on a new responsibility that is parallel to your usual job functions. By doing this, you can feel greater control over your career, and that may be enough by itself to put an end to the burnout.
2. Take on new projects outside work
Sometimes, the reasons for job burnout are more related to what is happening in your life outside your job. The boredom or lack of satisfaction that you sense from your personal life may carry over to your professional life.
You can overcome that by taking on new projects and activities outside work. One of the big advantages here is that the activity can be just about anything.
Consider one or more of the following broad categories:
- Something physical, like an exercise program or joining a gym
- A creative project, like starting a vegetable garden or creating an e-book
- Learning something new, like a new language or taking dancing lessons
- A social activity, such as taking a cooking class or joining a civic organization
- Volunteering, such as participating in a charity or church group, or helping in a disaster relief effort
- A sport, like softball, a bowling league or a soccer club
- Learning a new work skill, such as a computer software application or accounting skills to increase your sense of control over your career
- Weekend travel, to close-in places that will give you a chance to refresh yourself when you are not at work
Activities such as these can give you a new sense of purpose in your life, and that will make you feel recharged. You’ll almost certainly bring that fresh attitude to your work, and that may put an end to the sense of job burnout.
3. Try to offload some responsibilities
These days, what we think of as job burnout may actually have more to do with stress.
Many people are now doing the work of more than one person. Each time a coworker is laid off, their work is distributed to the remaining employees. Over time, you can begin feeling overworked and stressed. If it is possible, talk to your supervisor about letting go of some of your less important responsibilities. Perhaps they can be transferred to another coworker who isn’t as busy, or even gently suggest hiring a part-timer as an overflow person. Since this will be a touchy issue, you’re best to frame it in a positive way. You can do this by suggesting that your productivity on your most important functions will improve if two or three responsibilities were taken away from you.
4. Ask for a job re-assignment
Often, the reason for job burnout isn’t from you.
It could very well be a result of one or more coworkers, your boss, or even circumstances in your department. If on close reflection you believe this to be the case, it will be worth it to you to ask for a transfer to another department if that is an option. It’s often said that 51% of your success on a job is your relationship with your boss. If that relationship is not particularly cordial, finding a way out of the situation may be the only way that you will eliminate the burnout problem.
5. It may be time for a new job
Since this is the most radical solution, I’ve saved it for last.
In truth, since the job market is not as fluid as it once was, you are better off to exhaust all other possibilities before going this route. But the reality is that sometimes you are just over the job. It may have been an ideal situation way back when, but either the situation has changed, or you have changed!
Either way, it may be time to make a change. Some of this may be a matter of personality. Some people are perfectly content to spend their entire working lives on the same job, doing essentially the same work. Others – and I can say this because I’m in this group – need change from time to time. Job burnout may just be an internal sign that it’s time to move on. You can spend time in psychotherapy trying to figure out why this happens to you, but you’ll probably never get a solid answer. You may just be wired that way! I figured this out a while back, and when I accepted it and built it into my work life, things just started going better.
How about you all? Have you ever experienced job burnout? Or are you experiencing it now?
What are you doing (or what did you do) to deal with it?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/corneveaux/3248566797/sizes/s/in/photostream/