I’d like to take a minute to ask my readers to raise their hand if you’ve ever been at a company or in a position that caused you to burn out?
Those of you who still have your hands down, I’d like to congratulate you on finding a great balance in your life and managing to keep your head on straight. It can be very hard to avoid getting so caught up in your work that you eventually fizzle and burn out. I thought I would take the time today to identify some of the different ways that I’ve seen women burn out and the some of the steps you might be able to take in order to avoid it.
This is the type of burn out you may not ever see coming, but you get to work one day and discover that you simply don’t have the energy or drive to continue doing the work you once used to love. This is probably the most insidious way to lose your passion because you frequently don’t notice you’re losing it until it’s gone. You simply haven’t had enough fuel to keep the fire stoked and now it’s gone.
How to prevent it: Regularly check in with yourself. Just like your employer does quarterly or annual reviews, you should do to the same with yourself. It’s important to take stock of your emotion and mental health as well as how you feel about your job in order to remain passionate about what you do. If you find you’re losing excitement, try and find new challenges that keep things interesting.
The signs are all there, ladies. Every once in a while all this work puts up a big pile of smoke, like that passion is just about to fizzle and die, but then something new comes along and holds your attention for just enough time to keep you going for a little longer. While this can keep you motivated in the short term, this is no way to continue with your career, since you will eventually just run out of steam.
How to prevent it: Most people don’t have a job that keeps them interested, challenged and engaged each and every day. If you’ve found that job then congratulations, you’ve found perfection. Never let it go. While you may not have the perfect job, it’s very important to have a job that keeps you engaged and challenged at least 80 percent of the time so that you don’t simply run out of steam at some point.
Smothering the Flame
You’re buried in work. There’s no end to it. You could be up 24 hours a day and still not get it all done. It’s got you stressed to the max and one day you just can’t do it anymore. You stop trying and just let your productivity go from 100 to 0. This can be very hard to recover from because once you experience doing nothing, going back to a grueling schedule can be a complete impossibility.
How to prevent it: My goodness, woman, come up for air! You can’t bury yourself alive in work and expect your passion to decide. You have got to find a balance in order to prevent this kind of loss of excitement.
The Nuclear Meltdown
I believe some people refer to it as “going postal.” I’m not saying you’re going to go to those extremes, but these types of burnouts are very public and nearly impossible to recover from since there’s often tons of collateral damage after the fact. This must be avoided at all costs.
How to prevent it: Don’t bottle everything up. You cannot be everything to everyone so stop trying so hard. You aren’t perfect. Admit it and keep on doing the great work that you’ve been doing as a human being. If you need to vent, do it with friends or talk to a superior if you’re having problems at work.
Help a friend or colleague who may be experiencing stress or overwhelm at work. Please share this – they’ll be glad you did!