I’ll admit it: I’m stubborn. That means I am very willing to ignore little problems until they become BIG problems. So it’s probably not a surprise I ignored the career burnout symptoms I was experiencing for, well, years*.
Career burnout is an epidemic for professional women. Every single time I go to a party or a networking event and say I help professional women figure out how to recover from career burnout — especially burnout from BS jobs** — women ask for advice. Sadly, I meet very few who feel fulfilled at work.
Do you have the most common career burnout symptoms that professional women experience?
- You have become cynical:
You want to be positive, but you think everyone you work with is an idiot. You feel like you have to do it all if it’s going to be done right. You generally think everything you do is stupid and pointless. You don’t see how any of this stuff matters.
- You are not as efficient as you once were:
It seems to take forever to do anything. There simply are not enough hours in the day, so you work more and more hours. You never seem to cross anything off your to-do list. And, most days, you don’t really care (see item #1). Ironically, you also spend a good amount of time on social media.
Despite the fact you sleep all weekend and never go out with friends anymore, you still feel exhausted all the time. You have a limited ability to handle anything — traffic, the wrong coffee order, your family. All you want to do is take a nap.
I had all of those symptoms, and more (including 15 extra pounds and stress-related health issues). But I didn’t want to admit I was suffering from career burnout because that meant I would need to do something about it. I was scared of losing my salary, scared of starting over, scared that whatever change I made wouldn’t fix the problem.
But ultimately the fear of waking up in 20 years feeling the same way was stronger than my desire to stay safe in my comfort zone. Shortly after I made the decision to find work that would fill me with purpose, I saw this Steve Jobs quote:
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
I had spent YEARS, not days, saying No. That realization gave me more resolve to make a change. I learned how to recover from burnout, and it was actually easier than I thought.
I should probably warn you that recovering from career burnout probably means leaving the career you’re in behind. If that is so terrifying that you can’t imagine it, then stop reading right now. But if in your heart you know that’s true and you are READY, then these first steps will get the ball rolling for you.
- Get in touch with your personal values and impact in life. I believe you can’t figure out what will drive you if you don’t know what these things are.
- Explore all of the things you love and all the things you’re good at. This was fun! I spent a few days just making lists. That alone made me happier.
- Take all those things you love and are good at, mix and match them and see what comes up. What you will find is that patterns emerge and pretty quickly and new career will pop up.
- Create an action plan. Change can’t happen if you don’t plan for it. Make a list of things you need to do for your new career and when you’re going to do it.
- Get some help. Find a mentor or coach that can work you through the transition. There is so much going on, and there is a reason you’re burnt out. If you could do it alone, you would have. Asking for help is one of the most powerful things you can do to change your life.
I want to leave you with a question:
How many days have you said No, this is NOT what you would do if today were the last day of your life?
If you can’t even remember, click this link and schedule a clarity call — it’s the first step toward making your career burnout a distant memory.
It’s time to move from BS Career to Hell Yes Life!
*Yea, it’s kind of embarrassing to admit I hung onto my pain for as long as I did. But if I’m going to help you in any way, I have to be completely honest.
**Read “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” by David Graeber. It talks about how many professionals believe what they do has no social importance and how that is slowly killing them. I think it is directly tied to career burnout.