Early Career

Your Guide to Combatting Burnout

Feeling exhausted, cynical or on auto-mode? Read this.
April 19, 2023
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We're in a bloodsucking epidemic—by that, I mean: if you're like more than half of us, you've experienced burnout. 

According to Deloitte, 77 percent of people have faced "employee burnout" at their current job, with over half experiencing it more than once.

Unfortunately, even if you don't have a job, these bloodsuckers can come for you. Whether you're grinding away at a 9-to-5 or enduring the endless abyss of unemployment, you're a potential victim. Because, let's be real, finding a job can feel like a full-time job. Burnout doesn't discriminate; it's the ultimate equal opportunity energy vampire, even haunting college students.

What's burnout

Burnout is a formula comprised of three major symptoms: exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy.

Exhaustion: This is the main ingredient of our toxic brew. It's got everything: physical fatigue, cognitive fatigue, emotional fatigue – you name it! 

Cynicism: This one's a real charmer, also known as depersonalization. It's the stage where you start feeling like a soulless corporate drone. Colleagues, assignments, customers—they're all on your hit list.

Inefficacy: As exhaustion and cynicism take root, inefficacy blossoms, making it impossible to achieve anything worthwhile. You feel incompetent, incapable, and utterly unproductive. 

Are you Burned Out?

Identifying that you are burned out can be challenging. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by tasks as simple as sending out resumes.
  • Becoming the human embodiment of irritation and frustration, even when your Wi-Fi decides to buffer for a millisecond.
  • Avoiding social interaction like it's a contagious disease.
  • Declining physical or mental health, such as disrupted sleep patterns or heightened anxiety.

Consequences of Burnout

You might think burnout is just a fancy word for feeling a bit frazzled, but it's more like a full-blown apocalypse for your body. So, just in case you're in more of an "I'll power through it mindset," let's talk about the physical effects that burnout can have:

  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes 
  • Vulnerability to illnesses

Oh, and did I mention that research links burnout to coronary artery disease, hypertension, sleepless nights, depression, anxiety, and a burgeoning friendship with alcohol and drugs?

While there can be multiple causes of burnout, like lack of control, rejection, unclear expectations, workplace dynamics, and much more, we're here to help you tackle these problems. Think of it as a wooden stake or garlic for the bloodsuckers. How?

Combat Job Search Burnout

  • Set Realistic Goals:  Forget the "apply to everything" strategy. Focus on roles that align with your skills and interests.] Realistic goals mean fewer heartbreaks.
  • Create a Structured Routine: Consider it your daily battle plan against burnout. Allocate time for job hunting, networking, and maybe even an afternoon nap.
  • Network Actively: This doesn't mean lurking in the dark corners of LinkedIn. Engage with industry folks, attend virtual events, and maybe even pretend to enjoy small talk.
  • Practice Self-Care: Yes, it's a cliché, but it works. Exercise, meditate, or binge-watch Netflix--whatever works for you.
  • Seek Professional Help: Don't be afraid to contact a career counselor or therapist. 
  • Embrace Rejection: Instead of treating rejection like a breakup, see it as a mere plot twist in your epic job search journey. Learn from it, adapt, and carry on.
  • Diversify Your Search: If you've been stuck on the job search hamster wheel for months, it's time to spice things up. Explore freelancing, internships, or part-time work. Variety is the spice of job hunting.

Tackling Career Burnout

  • Reduce Exposure to Job Stressors: Boundaries, dear friend, are your best friend. Set them with colleagues, clients, and family members. 
  • Take Regular Breaks: Burnout results from ignoring your inner voice, screaming, "I need a break!" Listen to it. Take short breaks during the workday and disconnect from work-related stressors.
  • Engage in Professional Development: Remember, knowledge is power. Attend courses, workshops, or find a mentor. 
  • Seek Autonomy and Control: Be the master of your domain. Negotiate with your superiors for more control over your tasks and decision-making. 
  • Incorporate Physical Activity: Exercise isn't just for fitness enthusiasts. Engaging in physical activities releases endorphins, which are your mood-boosting, energy-lifting allies.
  • Take a Sabbatical or Extended Leave: If burnout has you in a chokehold, consider taking a sabbatical. It's like a vacation but with extra soul-searching. Use this time to recharge and explore new interests. Your career will thank you later.
  • Evaluate Your Career Path: Is your current career aligning with your long-term goals and values? If not, it might be time for a career makeover. 
  • Engage in Hobbies and Interests: Remember when you had hobbies before your career swallowed you whole? Rekindle those passions outside of work. Hobbies are like the secret spice that makes life flavorful and helps counteract career burnout.
  • Get Professional Support: If overwhelm is weighing you down, seek guidance from a career counselor or therapist. They're like Gandalf, guiding you through the treacherous terrain of career woes.

Whether you're fending off job search bloodsuckers or battling career vampires, remember you're not alone. With a stake (or a solid plan), you can conquer burnout and find the fulfilling career you deserve. 

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