Avoid Career Burnout: Recommit to Your Job or Quit Your Job

I was on the train once and overheard the man next to me on his cell phone, saying, “I hate my job!”

Do you agree with him?  How do you feel about the job where you spend most of your wak
ing hours and which may occupy your thoughts even during your sleeping hours?

If you are suffering from career burnout, you wake up to the sound of your alarm clock with an awful feeling in the pit of your stomach because you have to go to work today.  Or you feel the “Sunday night blues” – as the sun sets on Sunday, you begin to feel blue, because in the morning the work week starts again and there is no holiday on Friday.

In the long term, ignoring your feelings of career burnout can be very detrimental to your physical, emotional and mental health, your relationships and your career.  When you’re facing career burnout, you have two choices: you can either recommit to your job or make a change.

Recommit to Your Job

Rather than feeling miserable at work every day and then going home and sharing your unhappiness about your job with your family, try to rediscover or create an aspect of your work that excites you. 

Remember why you got into the field in the first place and what you used to enjoy about it.  Or be creative and figure out what else you could do in your job to make it more interesting for you and to provide more value to your employer.  For example, if you’re an IT project manager who enjoys public speaking, could you offer to represent your company at industry conferences?  If you’re an interior designer who enjoys sharing your experiences, could you mentor newer designers at your firm?

In order to pursue a new or newly rediscovered portion of your job, you may need to develop or hone your skill set.  And you will have to be persistent and savvy in how you market this to your manager so it’s a win-win-win: for you, your manager and the company.  Exploring these others facets of your work will make it more enjoyable and allow you to recommit to your job.

Make a Change

If you’re not able to recommit to your job, or you’re not willing, or circumstances don’t allow it, the only other option is to make a change. You could change roles, functions, departments, locations, companies or even careers.

I’ve quit my job to change careers and let me tell you, it’s not easy.  You don’t just wake up in the morning and say, “Today, I’m quitting!” While it might feel good in the short term to do that, it’s not the reality.

In order to make a change, you need a plan. First, you have to answer three questions: “What am I good at? What do I like doing? What does the marketplace need?”

And where your answers overlap is the sweet spot that you can build on.  It’s not enough if only two areas come together.  You may be good with numbers, but you don’t enjoy working with them.  Or you may love computer programming, but you’re not really good at it.  Or you may love drawing and be good at it, but no one is willing to pay you for it.  That’s not enough. 

All three of these areas have to come together and then you have to be creative in building a new role or career in that magical space where the three intersect. Like with recommitting to your job, you may need to brush up on your skills or develop new ones. 

And you have to be clever when you’re looking at the marketplace and trying to anticipate needs. 

You have to look at your knowledge, skills and experience with a fresh perspective so you can identify new opportunities where you can provide value and feel fulfilled.  You’ll also need a timeline, a strong financial plan to support a temporary change in or loss of earnings and the support of your advisers/mentors and your family.

Continuing in a job that you hate is not doing any good for you or the company.  And while it may provide a certain sense of financial stability (which may be an illusion given the variability of companies and the prevalence of layoffs), it is eroding your sense of worth and fulfillment and destroying your happiness. 

Is that really the legacy you want to leave – “she worked at a job she hated and then she died”?

Don’t want until it’s too late.  Make the decision now whether it’s time to recommit to your job or quit your job. 

(C) Gilda Bonanno LLC