How Job Burnout is like a Nagging Injury

I love playing tennis.

how to get over job burnout

Just showing up to the courts puts a smile on my face, and I feel completely energized by playing (even when I lose).

Maybe you have something you do or a place you go that has this kind of impact for you.

So you can imagine why it seemed like the sky was falling the day I got a twinge of pain in my elbow…

Job Burnout can be Triggered by Repetitive Stress

I had tennis elbow

If you haven’t had it yourself, just understand that it can get so bad that you can’t even shake hands much less lift your tennis racket.

It’s the quintessential nagging injury.

Job burnout is like playing a sport with a nagging injury such as tennis elbow or turf-toe.

Nagging injuries are usually triggered by overuse and repetitive stress.

See the correlation with job burnout?

Job burnout is just a minor irritation at first.

It’s doesn’t prevent you from showing up to the office at first.

You can still find a way to get through your work day.  You just keep pushing.

Then you gradually start finding yourself just surviving your day at work versus thriving.

Maybe you start avoiding conference calls with your team.

Then just like when you can’t even lift your tennis racket or run the 100-yard dash anymore; you get to where you can’t even stomach walking into the office door.

Job Burnout Creeps Up on You

Tennis elbow usually gradually appears.

Then you’ll find if you keep playing, the irritation grows and starts to really affect how and even if you can play the game anymore.

Likewise, job burnout creeps up on you.

In fact it can be difficult to even know when you’re burned out because of the slow burn.

If you keep pushing through the burnout (and ignoring the pain), it gets cumulatively worse.

Just like in sports, if you can notice it early you start doing something about it.

Avoid the Temporary Fix for Job Burnout

It can be tempting to go for the temporary fix for job burnout.

But the temporary fix doesn’t offer a sustainable solution for your job or career.

Temporary fixes can be like going into the office later, taking out your job frustrations at the gym, and even spending most of your day at the office fantasizing about what you’ll do “one day” when you move out of your current gig.

All can offer short term relief from your job burnout but don’t really address the source.

By addressing the source you can move beyond your job burnout and ignite your career for the long term.

What to do if you have Job Burnout

how to treat job burnout

The good news is that just because you’ve got job burnout, you don’t have to let it ruin your hall of fame career.

In fact, just by following a few steps you can reignite your career from burnout.

Try these for starters:

  1. Notice – What are you doing when you notice it most? Often time there are certain activities at work that really bring it on like report running, staring down your computer for hours, and cold calling.
  2. Rest It – Create the space and take a temporary hiatus. Take a complete break from work for a few days or just try working from home.  See what comes up for you when you show up to your same job but try it from a different location like your home office or the local coffee shop.  Sometimes just changing locations can make a big difference.
  3. Change your Routine – It can be easy to change up your routine even just a bit.  Try changing the time of day when do those activities what cause you the most frustration at work.  For instance, start the day with your most difficult activities at work or leave them for when you have a hard stop like before a meeting or the end of the day.
  4. Listen – Usually burnout has a hidden message for you. What’s it telling you?  Is the message about how much you actually like your job but find that too much of good thing is not working? Or is it time to make a change in how you do your job?
  5. Sign-up – There are lots of free resources that can help.  If you’re not signed up for the weekly burnout ignition tips, then do it here.  You’re going to get weekly ideas for career ignition sent right to your inbox (free).


To Reigniting your Career!

Ben, The Burnout Specialist