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Workplace / Job Burnout

Stages of Job / Career Burnout

Stage 1: Plastic Smile - despite feeling the stress and strain of being in the workplace, the individual adopts a “happy” face.

Stage 2: First Crack - emotions start to take their toll and people find that they are either getting angry or tearful when they do not mean to be, which brings about a feeling of being out of control.

Stage 3: Mind Stops Being With You - people begin to drift away / daydream (dissociate) often while at work.

Stage 4: Fading Light at the End of the Tunnel - people begin to lose hope. 

Stage 5: No Motivation – people find it very difficult to engage in work and having difficulty getting up for work.

Stage 6: Dread – beginning to dread talking to people at work or engaging in the tasks at work. 

Stage 7: Exhaustion – experiencing physical and emotional exhaustion.

Ways to Approach Job / Career Burnout

The first thing to do is attempt to diagnose which stage you are in of your burnout and to then attempt to resolve the cause.  For example, find out if your burnout is due to work overload or conflicting values with your supervisors or co-workers. 

Short-term measures at reducing job burn-out are to be able to share your feelings with someone (e.g., therapist, co-workers, etc.), having better time management, breaking your job down into short-term goals, and delegating tasks whenever possible.

Longer-term solutions are engaging in some “soul-searching” so that you can try to figure out why it is that you are chosing to remain in a difficult situation, rather than changing your job.