How to Tell if You’re Burnt Out or in a Bad Job

Career Advice

Mondays can be hard on everyone. Maybe your weekend was so fun that you wish the fun would continue. Maybe you have more work at home you would like to complete. Maybe you are just dreading going to work every week. It is often hard to decide whether you are heading toward burnout and in need of a break, or if it’s time to find a new job. It’s important to decipher the difference, because burnout will follow you wherever you go.

Here are four issues to look for in your work:

1. You hate every single meeting.

You’re bored and no one is interested in new ideas. The meetings are stifling and you die a slow death by PowerPoint. Every. Day. Some days everyone hates ever meeting. And some meetings are worse than others. But if you dread every single time the conference door swings open, that’s a sign of a workplace problem.

2. The company mission and leadership are out of whack.

When you don’t trust the leadership to make right decisions and you do not agree with the direction of the company, work simply becomes about the paycheck.

3. It’s painful to talk to your coworkers.

Relationships are challenging due to either strong opinions/personalities or apathy towards each other. Whatever it is, communications for every task are draining.

4. Only under-performers are noticed.

Over time you may realize your work goes unnoticed. And when you consider who’s getting all of the management attention, it’s generally those at the low end of the productivity scale. Soon you find yourself coming dangerously close to doing the bare minimum. This type of environment is toxic to the progression of your career.

If you sailed through the four points above, a vacation may be enough to get you out of your workplace rut. Here are four signs that you’re simply burnt out.

1. You overreact to minor workplace annoyances.

People are annoying – from loud chewing to pen tapping to arriving late to meetings to draining the water cooler and not replacing it; sometimes, the workplace can feel like a war zone full of tiny landmines. But all of those things are actually normal things that everyone has to deal with. If you think it’s hard to deal with the minor infractions, it might be time to step back and take a breather.

2. Your performance is slipping.

When the simplest tasks are sending you into a tailspin or tasks that were once easy for you are now challenging, it might be time to step away.

3. Your relationships outside of work are suffering.

Sometimes, it’s okay to put in the extra hours and focus on your job, but if you are constantly obsessing over your emails, meetings, or action items, and your friends and family feel like they are on the backburner, it’s time to take a breather and re-prioritize.

4. You are exhausted.

You don’t have any energy for meeting up with friends, working out or do something fun. You tend to rely heavily on caffeine for energy and alcohol or sleep aids to wind down and shut off the constant work thoughts.

It can be hard to figure out what’s at the root of your work issues – you or the job. Sometimes, it’s a combination. In that case, try to make sure you have at least two weeks to break and recharge between leaving one job and starting the next. Recharge and enter the next stage of your career ready to contribute and grow. If your problem is burnout, not a bad workplace, it’s an issue that will follow you. Don’t ignore the signs that you’re in the wrong job or that you’re headed towards burnout. Both can sabotage your career.

Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.

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