7 Red Flags of Job Burnout — and What You Can Do
Job-related burnout isn’t the same thing as work stress. A clinical psychologist discusses the signs to watch for, tips to reverse it — and ways to prevent it altogether.
A healthy dose of pressure at work can give you fuel — and make you even better at what you do. Job-related burnout, on the other hand, empties you out and kills your motivation. If it lingers too long, it also can negatively affect your feelings about life.
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The good news is you can take steps to reverse job burnout. You also can avoid it altogether if you pay attention to the signs.
“Workplace burnout involves a prolonged and heightened response to work stress in which a person becomes drained from work demand,” says clinical psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD.
He says to be on guard if you notice these signs:
“Engaging in tasks that feel meaningless can promote burnout,” Dr. Bea says.
“However, if something in your work effort is consistent with your commitments and values, each day can be an opportunity to live these values in a tangible manner.”
For example, people in caregiving professions can notice positive results with their consistent effort to help others.
It depends on where you place your attention.
“Try to notice the rightness of your work effort and the positive outcomes rather than dwelling on the stressors, obstacles or negative characteristics of work,” he says.
Before you experience job burnout, your feelings will give you some clues that something is amiss. If you’re not sure if you’re just going through a rough patch or heading down the road to burnout, here are seven questions to ask yourself:
If you answered yes to many of the questions above, there are various ways to address these feelings for a healthier outlook.
“Come to work intending to ‘give your gift’ as an alternative to approaching work fearfully about outcomes or penalties,” Dr. Bea says. “It helps when we lean into the experience with positive energy and a positive belief in ourselves.”
Here are some other in-the-trenches strategies to fight burnout:
If you are struggling over a prolonged period, you also want to consider the source of your feelings. Is it that you are not a match for this particular career? Or is it that the work, and amount, has gotten beyond your control? It may be time to consider a change or talk with a supervisor about workloads or roles.