So, you’re burned out at work. You feel exhausted, cynical, and lack any sense of meaningful accomplishment. You’ve come to hate what you do, even though you’re very good at it. Work no longer provides meaningful rewards and you’re afraid if something doesn’t change soon you will forever lose a valuable part of your being. You ask yourself, “Now what?”
I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there myself.
When someone is severely burned out, one of the most difficult obstacles they face is the feeling they’re locked into a situation from which they cannot escape. They come to feel hopeless, even helpless. There is a tendency to concentrate on what they perceive is lacking rather than what experience, talents and abilities they already possess. This is part of the burned-out mindset.
Fear is the ever-present companion of the burned-out mindset. The fear of changing jobs overrides the absolute need to do so. Even if the current work environment is completely toxic, it is often seen as more secure somehow than the unknown pathway of change. This is a false sense of security.
How secure are you in your work if it is soul crushing, if you feel as though you’re dying a slow death? How long can a toxic work environment survive before the business implodes and employees are let go? How secure will you be if you are forced to make a snap decision to quit because you can’t take it any longer but before you have adequately prepared for your exit? How secure is your job if it builds so much anger and frustration that one day you explode and lash out at a coworker or your boss, or fail to do your work properly and you’re fired?
With so many companies going out of business, downsizing to support the bottom line or because of mergers and acquisitions, job security is no longer a given. If you are in a bad or toxic work environment, discover you aren’t suited for the work you do or just plain hate what you do, it is incumbent on you to change your profession or work venue as soon as you can safely manage it.
There is one big reason for doing this — you will never be able to live a happy life of passion driven purpose if you are burned out.
If you are burned out, first know you can change. The inclination you feel to put your head down, grit your teeth and just bear it is normal for someone with the burned-out mindset.
The resistance to change arises because the job or work you know, even as much as you might hate it, seems less scary than change. It is also the choice of least effort, which is appealing to someone who feels exhausted most of the time.
This resistance is fear based. Acknowledge your fear, but bend it to motivate you instead of letting it cement you into place. Fear of the unknown dissipates as more of what is unknown becomes known.
Don’t automatically assume you lack the right degree, you don’t possess the right skills, you can’t earn as much somewhere else, it will take too much time or effort, you’ve invested too much at your current job, you’re too old or there are no jobs out there for you. Your own burned out brain would have you believe these things.
If you are thinking with a burned-out brain you have probably had many, or possibly all, of these thoughts. When you are thinking with an engaged brain (the opposite of burnout) you will realize just how untrue all of those assumptions are. With an engaged mindset, any and all things become possible.
Whether your work environment is the cause or you find you have chosen the wrong career, if you are burned out use these seven suggestions to get you properly prepared for changing jobs or careers.
- Unless you already know your top five or ten core values, complete a core values inventory (CVI). Core value decide decision making is a must to avoid choosing the wrong job or career. You can download a free CVI by entering your name and email address in the top right corner of the screen.
- Make a list of your God-given, unique, set of natural talents and abilities. Everyone has a set. Write down everything you are good at, comes easy to you, seems effortless or fun. Ask others what they see as your best qualities, attributes and abilities.
- With these two lists in mind, begin to imagine your dream job. What would you be doing? Where would you be working? How much would you be earning? Would you start your own business? It is important to gain as much clarity as possible, with as much certainty as possible, of what you are looking for in a job or career.
- Build your resume highlighting your strengths and experience. Hire a professional to help you with this if possible or go online for help.
- Write down your specific job or career goals with a specified timeline that’s reasonable. Post it where you can see it every day. Take some small action everyday which will move you toward your goal. Have a conversation, make a phone call, send an email, make a connection, follow-up on a lead.
- Be relentless in the pursuit of your preferred future. I highly recommend the book 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. He will impart new meaning to the word relentless when it comes to landing the job or career of your dreams. Also, check out his weekly podcast on iTunes which is free.
- Let your BIG WHY motivate you. Every engaged individual has a big why which gets them up each day to face life’s challenges head on. It is their reason for being and doing. Your big why could be to provide a better life for your family, to capture a lifelong dream, to honor your higher power, to help people, to right wrongs or to see what you can accomplish by becoming the very best you can be in what time you have in this world.
These seven steps will prime you for change but they will not cause it. After embracing these steps, you must take action. If you are burned out it is imperative for you to do so. The reason is both simple and profound. Burned out is no way to live this one life.
Are you suffering from a burned-out mindset? Do you feel trapped by your circumstances and unable to change?
Originally Published on Clark Gaither
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