Burned Out? Don’t Lose Money Over It

By Linda Matias

Q.  I work in finance and have been at my current job for the past three years. While business isn’t my passion, I get paid fairly well, and money was a major reason why I chose this field. I also enjoy work but lately, I’ve been feeling unmotivated. If I didn’t have bills to pay, I would just quit. What’s happening to me? I need burnout help!

womanA. First, don’t do anything rash like quit your job without having another one lined up. As you mentioned, you enjoy a comfortable lifestyle because of your salary and that’s not insignificant. And while money should never be the only reason for staying in a job (especially if you hate it, which doesn’t seem to be the case), it is an important consideration for most people. The worst thing you can do is to act impulsively and have that lead you into a financial rut that could take you months—or even years—to recover from. Take a step back and try to identify the root of your unhappiness.

A misconception exists that careers in social service or postal work are the only fields that experience worker burnout and stress. This notion could not be further from the truth because the fact is every profession is susceptible to mental strain and exhaustion.

Learning to distinguish normal stress from the deeper issues that lead to career burnout is important in order to effectively deal with the problem. Also, recognizing that any job can have this issue can empower you to make positive changes in your own workplace.

Recognize the Signs of Burnout
The signs can vary from individual to individual, but the following are some universal indicators that one can use to determine if career burnout is occurring.
1. Depression
Feelings of despair and sadness that last for weeks or months usually signal that something in your life is not working like it should and is cause for an investigation into the cause — potentially your job.
2. Lack of energy
If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning to go to work or experiencing constant fatigue throughout the day, your career could be the culprit.
3. Lack of desire
You used to be motivated to work your hardest and achieve the goals you set for yourself. But lately, you find that you just don’t care if you are successful or not — a telltale warning that you may have become burned out.
4. Decreased productivity
Your supervisor and coworkers used to praise you for the work results you produced; however, lately you have missed several important project deadlines and have become undependable because these things just didn’t seem that important to you.
5. Increased absences and/or tardiness
There used to be a day when you would rather have cut off your left hand than be late or miss a day of work. Nowadays, you find yourself looking for every opportunity to skip out on work.
6. Abuse of alcohol/drugs
Requiring alcohol or drugs to get through a workday is a definite red flag that you are experiencing a tremendous amount of work-related stress.
7. Boredom
Occasional boredom in one’s career is completely normal; however, pervasive feelings of weariness and dreariness are not and are an indicator of potential burnout.
8. Anger/resentment in workplace
Frequently lashing out at coworkers and/or supervisors is unacceptable under any circumstance. This behavior deserves immediate attention due to its potentially abusive nature.
9. Sleep problems
Insomnia or occasional fatigue can happen to anyone but are a cause for concern if they become constant and a part of your everyday life. Sleep disturbances are your body’s way of saying it is overworked.
10. Inability to relax
If you find that you no longer enjoy your favorite non-work activities.

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