Burning out is such a real thing. It is something that many people experience when they work at a job that they dedicate themselves to and feel like they get nothing in return. You bust your butt day after day and have little time for yourself. If getting up in the morning to go to work is one of your biggest struggles when it didn’t use to be then maybe you could be getting burned out. So, is your job burning you out?
Imagine being the manager at a store. You arrive before sunrise and nearly every day, you leave after sunset. You put in fifty-plus hours a week and your phone always blows up with texts and phone calls from your employees. Whenever your phone rings you don’t want to look at it, you just know it’s someone calling off or someone else needs your help. You just can’t do it anymore.
This is where I was and how I was feeling back in 2019, after working at the same place for almost five years. In the beginning, I felt so excited each day to go to work. But, as the years went on, my job would go through multiple different employees, including managers. Eventually, I became a manager. I wanted the job, I wanted to prove I could handle it all. With that, I began to believe that I had to do it ALL by myself. However, I struggled with job delegation.
It wasn’t long before I began to realize I was burning out.
The joy I felt at work, quickly turned into annoyance. Going to work became a chore and not something I loved to do. I loved my staff and the work I did, but I didn’t love breaking myself. That’s what I was doing. I was giving everything, spending less time with my family, and sleeping less and fewer hours. The job was no longer feeling rewarding. I regularly had to drop everything to go in and fill in if someone called off and we couldn’t find a replacement. If a replacement couldn’t be found it’s the manager’s responsibility to go in and everyone knew that. They knew that if they called off, I would go in. I wouldn’t let my crew suffer if I could help.
There were days I would return home after a ten-to-twelve-hour shift. If my phone rang, I would start to prepare myself to go back in. Customers and employees would always say, “I feel like you live here. Every time I’m here, so are you.” I had a customer ask if there was a bed in the back just for me.
Eventually, I began to get angry at everything and I mean everything. The way someone would look at me or not look at me. If someone sighed, I would ask them what I did wrong or if there was something I needed to do for them. I would be up by 3 AM but I wouldn’t go to bed until 10 PM or midnight. I was constantly running on less than seven hours of sleep.
My husband would tell me I was killing myself, but I didn’t see it that way. I saw myself as being the best manager I could be. I was giving my all and my crew knew I had their back. Sadly, that was my main focus, my crew. People around me could see I was burned out, I could feel it but ignored it.
Any of this sound familiar? Is this a story you’ve heard before? If so here are four signs you should look for that could be telling you that you are burned out.
You Aren’t Excited About Work Anymore
One of the first signs of burnout is a lack of interest in what you are doing. Work that used to give you energy now sucks the life out of you. Even when a job is done well you feel no enjoyment out of it. You aren’t happy that it was done well, and you might only be happy that it is over.
If you are struggling to be happy with things that used to bring you enjoyment and energize you, that is a big red flag. Realize that not being excited for the work you do, is normal sometimes but if it’s all the time, then you need to question why you keep doing it.
You’ve Stopped Making an Effort
You’re no longer excited about work. So, what comes next? If you don’t feel excited about things, you will begin to put in less effort until eventually, you put no effort in at all. At a certain point, we give up. You just stop caring. Why should you keep putting your best forward when it no longer matters to you? You finish the work because it needs to be done, but it isn’t done to the best of your ability. Now, you do the bare minimum to get by without causing problems.
You Are Beyond Exhausted
I know from experience; exhaustion is the key thing that made me realize I was burned out. I am a mom of three, but when I worked at this job, I had just had my second child. I remembered being tired with my first but not like this. I had no energy to do anything.
On my days off I would stare at laundry baskets and messy rooms. I would just lay in bed or on the couch and fall asleep with my toddler running around and my newborn in his crib. I would fall asleep waiting for dinner and my husband would cover me with a blanket because he knew there was no getting me awake.
If you begin to feel fatigued or just physically and emotionally exhausted start trying to figure out why.
That Sickness isn’t all in Your Head
Burnout doesn’t manifest physically in everyone, but for some, it can cause physical problems, such as:
- Increased illness
- Chest pain
- Gastrointestinal pain
I experienced migraines so bad, they would make me pass out or throw up. My migraines were happening every 3 or 4 days and sometimes they would last 2 to 3 days at a time. The stress I was causing myself caused all sorts of aches and pains in my body. It wasn’t just a physical illness. I began to not be able to control my emotions, I would scream or cry over little things.
You’re Burned Out. What do you do Now?
So, did you recognize one or more, maybe all of the signs of burnout from work? You’re probably wondering what you do now. Don’t ignore these signs. When I realized I was burned out, I made the decision to put in my two weeks notice. For some of you, this might seem like the best option. For others, this might not be a possibility, but there are a few options that you can do to try and manage job burnout.
- Take relaxation seriously – listen to music, meditate, go for a walk, read a book, or visit family and friends
- Find a passion – Find something non-work-related that fuels the fire in your belly. This could be a hobby, sport, or even volunteering somewhere nearby.
- Unplug – In a world surrounded by technology and social media it is hard to just be by yourself. Put the phone away at dinner and set aside an hour or two to just be without it.
- Sleep- Less than six hours of sleep a night is a big reason people get burned out. Try to go to bed earlier or sleep in later if you can. Possibly, find a way to get better sleep.
These options might work for you. If they do, fantastic! The whole point of this is to identify that you are burning out and what you can do to help it. The best course of action for me was to completely leave the company I was working for. Companies will always find a replacement for you. Believe me, the company will go on without you. Don’t feel guilty about protecting your health. They’ll find a replacement. You must decide if you can fix the burnout or if you just need to relieve yourself of the position you’re in.
Today I work here, at Keystone Alliance Mortgage and the burnout is gone. Since stepping into this company my family and friends have told me how different I am. How much happier I look. I get to be an employee during my scheduled hours and when I leave for the day, I don’t worry about my phone going off. If it’s from a co-worker or one of my bosses, it doesn’t cause me to be flustered. I smile and reply if needed. I went from being just another employee to being part of a team. I don’t think there is a better cure for being burned out.
What about you? Is your job burning you out? Let us know!