How exactly do you know if you are experiencing job burnout?
You just might be surprised to know this, but the Mayo Clinic actually has a section devoted to job burnout. The signs are many, and even the way that burnout surfaces may vary from person to person. As the Mayo Clinic link demonstrates, this is a very real and can be a very serious issue for those experiencing the condition. For thousands of years, humanity got along by working with their hands and bodies often in arrangements that directly affected the chances of survival.
We are now in a time where work is increasingly repetitive and intellectual often while our bodies languish in a cubicle or are forced to stand in the same space for hours on end. We might be plowing fewer fields and sweating a bit less, but the cognitive stimulus and constant state of information bombardment toys with our minds. Throw in a tough boss or a demanding home schedule, and viva burnout.
Like almost any issue, the first step is to acknowledge burnout. However, it can easily be confused for other ailments or simply dismissed as the wrong mindset. While we don’t pretend to be health professionals, it has happened to us.
Here Are 9 Signs of Job Burnout
- You don’t want to go to work. Waking up to the alarm and being a little bummed is normal. If you’re chronically late or you spend Sunday afternoons with consuming thoughts about work pulling you away from everyone else, then this is a sign of burnout.
- You can’t focus on the task at hand or almost always procrastinate. This is a case where you could certainly go one way or the other. Think about how you normally handle your tasks. Have your habits changed?
- You have a short fuse and get frustrated with everyone around you. Often this expresses itself as extreme or increased cynicism. This, my friends, is a problem of trust and it will bleed over into your life – family, friends, etc.
- You can’t quit talking about the problems at work when not at work. Look, for better or worse, our jobs often define us to a large degree. We can debate the merits of this elsewhere, but if you’re always griping when you should be happy or carrying on about your terrible day at a funeral, then you’re talking too much.
- You can’t sleep because you can’t stop thinking about work. We all become a bit of an insomniac when that big project or bonus is on the line, but repeated bouts of insomnia are not healthy.
- You are exhausted/fatigued and your body hurts. Of course this is one of those “I’ll know it when I feel it” things, but try and differentiate a hard days work from longer term fatigue. Social life, kids, and a family can cause you to be tired. The fatigue behind burnout seems to feel more profound and deep, almost like a weariness of the soul.
- You fantasize and want to quit. If your brain is dwelling on what you would do or whom you would tell of, it’s trying to tell you something. This is more than day-dreaming about a lottery win.
- You have no work life balance. This can get out of wack even when jobs are going well. However, the balance here is decidedly negative and consuming thoughts often lead to spiritual, emotional, and even physical quagmires. Pay particular attention to what your spouse, kids, family, or friends are telling you here. Has the phone stopped ringing for a night out with the fellas or ladies?
- You feel unfulfilled and have no confidence in yourself anymore. If we had a penny for every blog post about vocation/calling and doing what you love all the time, we’d had a lot of pennies. That said, every job is going to…well…suck at times or even with certain tasks. If you find that you are constantly longing for something meaningful at work and you hear that doubting voice reverberating in your mind, then you could be looking burnout.
You Are Not Alone
If you are experiencing any of the above, you may be experiencing burnout. Just don’t feel alone or like there is something wrong with you that should just be ignored. It happens to many of us. However, you don’t have to let it continue. There are things you can do to help and to feel fulfilled again at your job. Check out our next post on how to overcome burnout.
Check out the rest of our series on BURNOUT!