How to say goodbye to job burnout in 2020
You don’t have to be miserable at your job—really. Here’s how to get your career mojo back and start the New Year with a new perspective!
If you're finishing off 2019 feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your job, you’re not alone. According to a recent report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40% of workers said their job was very or extremely stressful, and 75% of felt that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.
Time to fix that.
In between updating your resume and seeing what jobs are out there, here’s what you can do right now to make your current situation more bearable until your new awesome gig comes through.
Fire and rehire yourself
You know the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” or, “You always want what you can’t have?” You are likely to find a new appreciation for your job if you think you no longer have it. Seriously. Try this exercise from Lisa DiVirgilio, marketing director of the Chicago-based human resource management system, Kin HR.
“Fire yourself. Go home, and pretend your job is done. Everything you've been working on, both good and bad, is over,” says Divirgilio.
Think about the things you would have done differently if you were rehired for the role and provided a fresh start. What projects would you set out to accomplish? What goals would you set? What projects or tasks would you discard since they weren’t providing value? Write down your answers.
Step two: Rehire yourself the next day, and act like it’s your first day at a new job. “Ask for a meeting with your boss and explain your new objectives,” says Divirgilio. “You don't have to tell him the practice you just put yourself through, but he will be sure to notice your new initiative, innovation and motivation.”
Consider this a much needed “reset” to drag you out of the day-to-day drudgery.
Reflect on the past
“The best way to reignite passion for your job is to revisit three key moments: the interview, your worst day at work and your favorite day at work,” says David Mitroff, CEO and founder of the San Francisco-based business development firm Piedmont Avenue Consulting.
“Re-evaluating how you felt during these occasions, and why you feel that way, can explain why you feel burned out,” Mitroff explains.
Your excitement during the interview will remind you why you wanted the job; your least favorite day can help you respond better in the future; and your favorite work memory will help you focus on what you like about your job.
“Understanding these three moments is the first step in re-positioning yourself to feel excited about your job for the new year,” he says. Cheers to that!
Focus on what you can control
“People tend to feel burnout when they don't feel control over their circumstances,” says Leigh Steere, co-founder of the Boulder-based management-training tool Managing People Better.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the fact that Jim from marketing always sends emails after midnight (and expects a reply!), or that your boss always gives you a new project at 4:59 p.m., or the fact that someone keeps microwaving fish in the office kitchen. But you’ll feel better when you focus what you can control.
“One part of feeling energized is having clearly articulated, measurable goals that are within your control to achieve. Those last few words are particularly important—within your control to achieve,” says Steere.
Steere gives the example of someone who hopes to be promoted. She notes that you can’t control the final decision, but you can control the steps you take to show your value, such as getting feedback from your manager on what you must improve, and learning what you need to do to be considered for the role.
“Advocate for what you want and need, instead of simply getting caught up in the flow of other people's requests and stress,” says Steere. “If you know what you want and need, you can make better decisions about what to say yes and no to.”