Career Burnout: How to Know When You Have Had Enough and How to Search for Your Next Career
Career burnout may be an overused term these days and while some tend to use the term burnout very loosely, experiencing career burnout can wreak serious emotional, physical, and psychological havoc on a person. Identify the signs of career burnout and create an action plan to get back on the right career path.

"It's not necessarily about what career you pick. It's about how you do what you do. - Cory Doctorow

Signs that You May be Experiencing Career Burnout

  • When someone tells you that they love their job, you get really jealous and wonder why they have it together and you are stuck in your miserable job.
  • You constantly check the paper and Internet for job postings. You fantasize on a daily basis about doing something else.
  • You are always checking your watch and the time always seems at least an hour earlier than you think it should be. You dream about all of the other things you wish you were doing.
  • You think that if only you had a better job, the rest of your life would be better.
  • You get the "Sunday Surl." This is a condition that for some starts on Sunday morning but for the really bad, this can start as early as Friday night. The "Sunday Surl," a name my mom and I came up with which stands for the surly attitude we use to get when were anticipating the work or school week ahead, is a sure sign that something is not right and the earlier it starts, the worse it is.
Signs that You May be Experiencing Excessive Career Burnout

  • You have feelings of hopelessness and you feel stuck in your current situation. If you have reached this stage, you know you need to seek some help and support. It is never too late to have your dream job and it is never too late to change your relationship to work.
  • Your lack of desire to work begins transferring to all areas of your life and you begin to notice you no longer desire to do things you used to love.
  • You lack energy and wish you could stay in bed all day.
  • You begin to use alcohol, drugs, or food as a way to soothe your pain.
  • You fail to see your strengths and begin beating yourself down with negative self-talk.
  • You are intensely irritable and every little thing bothers you or sets you off. You feel like you are always on edge and you expect the worst to happen. You lose perspective and assign all of the negative feelings you have about your job to all of the other areas of your life.
  • You have incessant headaches that seem to be getting worse over time and your stomach always feels like you ate a huge bowl of 5 alarm chili.
  • You have trouble sleeping or all you do is sleep.
  • You find reasons to stay home from work or you are consistently tardy. While you are at work, your productivity has decreased dramatically.
What You Can Do

  • Seek the help of a professional counselor or coach and determine what course of action to take.
  • Tell yourself that your current job is a temporary situation and you have the skills, ability, desire, and drive to choose a better path.
  • Create an action plan that includes discovering your life purpose; researching the market; assessing your skills, strengths and abilities; set up informational interviews; write a new resume that highlights what you have to offer rather than just a list of what you have done; and remind yourself that it is never too late to have your dream job.
  • Find out if your company has any job development resources.
  • Communicate what you are going through with the important people in your life. They cannot help you if you do not tell them what is happening.
  • Begin growing your network. Tell people, as long as it does not jeopardize your current situation, that you are looking to move in a different direction and ask for some feedback and resources. A career transition will not happen in isolation. It will not happen by posting your job on a job board. It is a job in itself and in order to execute an effective career transition, you need to get others involved. Assume they will want to help you and then ask for help. People love being asked to help.
  • Remember that although this job may not be your ideal, it is a means to an end and it has taught you some valuable lessons if you are willing to take them. It has prompted you to move closer to your dream and in the end, it may be the catalyst to living the life you always imagined. Take advantage of everything it has to offer and do not compromise your integrity in that position. Everything you do reflects on the type of person you are and if being successful in another career is important to you, being known as someone who showed up on time, took their work seriously, and gave 100% effort is only going to help you.