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Home / Career Corner

Career corner: Managing your burnout

Burnout at work is real, and it’s happening more now than ever. This may be due to the high stress and change we have faced over the last two years. I heard from a reader this week who is experiencing burnout in the workplace, as you may be too. The most important part of the burnout experience is how you manage it.

For many people, the urge is to quit their current job. The thought of one more painful day at the office is the last thing you want to think about. Quitting sounds gratifying. You can take time off to relax, before walking in to a better, higher paying job. The job market is hot now, right? This sounds easy.

But, if you’re like most people, your job helps to pay your bills. You may be okay without income for a period of time, but eventually, you’ll need that steady paycheck again. When someone quits working, they picture that it will be very relaxing. However, for most people, it’s just the opposite. Until you have a new job, you’re often on edge, wondering when the job search will be over. This experience is compounded by loved ones who will ask how the search is going.

The most relaxing time off is between jobs. When you find a new job, set your start date far enough out that you may have time in between. This will be the most relaxing time you’ll have. You’ll be free from work, and you’ll be free from worry.

Most people don’t quit jobs before they’ve found another job. When you go to a job interview, quitting is a difficult thing to explain to your future hiring manager. They may very well assume that you were fired from your last job, or best-case scenario, they may assume that you’re a poor decision maker.

In addition, when you have no job and you’re interviewing, you feel more pressure to accept a job offer. For example, if it has been three months since you left your last job, you may feel panicked. You’re running out of money, and you wonder what another three months with no job might look like. This can push you to take the next job offer, even if it pays less or seems to be a bad work situation. In other words, if you feel pressured to take something, you may end up in a worse situation than you are in today.

Take control of how you want to handle your burnout. If it’s time to find a new job, great! If you feel that you are too busy or too stressed to look for another job, consider your options. If you have vacation saved up, this can be a great time to use it. Take time off to apply for jobs and recharge. Focus on your search, so you can create a positive path out as quickly as possible.

Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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