Beat Retail Burnout

Beat Retail Burnout

If you're committed to a successful retail career, you must be someone who thrives in a competitive, people-oriented environment. That kind of environment can be very stressful, and people can only stay in the pressure-cooker for so long before they start to burn out.

If you're in retail, ask yourself:

  • Do you have trouble getting out of bed to go to work?
  • Do you never really feel able to unwind and recover from work?
  • Do you treat coworkers or customers as interruptions?
  • Do you have no energy or fun at work?

If so, you're experiencing burnout. Feeling stressed, tired, disillusioned and unmotivated is common in the high-pressure retail industry.

Caution: Flammable

Once upon a time, you loved the excitement and challenge of retailing. If you're burnt-out now, it may not be your job itself, but how you handle stress at that job.

If you're a hard worker -- and retailers work hard -- you're at risk for burnout. Why? Because you pour yourself into the job. You spend more time at work than others. You take your work seriously. You care about what you do, and you put a lot of energy into making it good. But when that energy is gone, sometimes stress takes its place.

To handle burnout -- and avoid it -- you need to change the stress you feel into either a neutral or positive force in your life.

Burnout Don'ts

Some ways of coping will only aggravate the problem. For example, pushing yourself to sell more product each month by working longer and longer hours is a mistake. Trying to outperform your job stress is likely to discourage you. It may even make you want to quit altogether.

Here are some other negative stress relievers to avoid:

  • Bad-mouthing coworkers or clients.
  • Letting conversations or self-talk turn into pity-parties or gripe sessions.
  • Dwelling on things you can't change.
  • Using drugs, alcohol, tobacco, television or overeating to help solve the problem.
  • Bottling the stress up inside.

You're sold on the need to deal with the stress, but how? Battling burnout is easier said than done.

Overcoming It

Fight burnout the healthy way. Here's how:

  • Have realistic goals. Changing your goals doesn't always mean lowering your standards.
  • Do your job or some part of it in a different way. Change your routine. For example, drive to work differently, wear a funny hat or necktie, conduct meetings differently, etc.
  • If possible, negotiate with your manager for more variety or control over your tasks at work.
  • Look for humor in the workplace. Don't be cynical or sarcastic, but appreciate how silly or absurd life and retail can be.
  • Exercise. It doesn't have to be strenuous to reduce the effects of stress.
  • Reward yourself. Rewards don't have to be expensive, but they must be a meaningful break from your routine.
  • Do something every day that is not time or deadline-related and that benefits only you. Here are a few examples:
  • Prayer or meditation.
  • Listening to or making music.
  • Drawing or doodling.
  • Reading something other than work reports.
  • Doing puzzles.
  • Daydreaming.
  • Step back and try to look at your job from an outsider's point of view. Imagine how others might handle your responsibilities.
  • Focus on the positive. Try to eliminate words and phrases such as, "hate," "can't stand it," "no way," etc. Make a list of those negative words or phrases you use most often. Pay attention when you want to use them, and replace them with more neutral words or phases.

If you're miserable where you are no matter what you do, a change of jobs may be in your best long-term interest. Sometimes just looking at other options can relieve some of the "I'm trapped!" feelings burnt-out retail professionals experience.

Don't Give Up

There is no "one size fits all" in relieving retail burnout. Not every strategy works equally well for everyone.

Remember, it's hard to change familiar attitudes and behaviors, even if they make you miserable or were imposed upon you by the job. Behaving or thinking differently can be awkward at first, and you may not notice any difference right away.

Essentially, overcoming burnout comes down to control. You can't control or change the environment (other people, work schedules, rewards, etc)? But you can get yourself out of there. Need some help taking the first step? Join Monster for free todayAs a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of retail jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Let Monster help you get unstuck.