Burnout is a real thing, and it is not fun. For some people, burnout is a badge of honor, but it should not be. Pushing yourself past your limits on a consistent basis while identifying that you need a break or change and ignoring your base instincts to take one can have lasting impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Before you find yourself in a spot where you are spinning out of control, look at the elements of your life and identify where the biggest stressors are originating. For many people, their job is the main culprit. Just because you have a need to make a living does not mean that you must subject yourself to a career that fills up your finances but drains every other part of your life.
Career changes are more and more common especially in a post-pandemic world. If you are curious about making a change and are just waiting for the right time, it is not coming. There will never be an optimal, perfect day or moment in time where the right time appears out of thin air, you must create it. Before you make your final decision think about some factors that will be beneficial to you not just during the initial transition but also in the search process leading up to it. Especially if your reason for seeking out a career change is a toxic work environment, be sure that you have identified what has made it toxic for you personally so that you can avoid falling into another less than desirable situation.
You Cannot Hide Your Feelings
One of the biggest signs that it is time to get a new job is disengagement. Often, once someone has reached a state of disengagement they are past the point of salvation regarding the specific topic. You need to stop, look, and listen within your own mind and body, as well as your surrounding for signals that you have become disengaged.
If you find yourself going through the motions, without emotion, that is disengagement. When this becomes more of the rule and less of the exception your productivity will likely suffer as well and your mental and emotional health. If the first thing you do when you begin each workday is start the countdown until it is over, you are not setting yourself up for success. Consider as well how this disengagement might be trickling into your life outside the office as well.
It is completely normal to vent or rant to a spouse or friend at the end of a particularly tough workday, and in fact, venting is an important element of managing emotions, but pay attention to their responses. If the people who love and know you best have started to voice concern about your well-being coming off a vent session, do not ignore that. Additionally, consider their feedback, if you voice a specific complaint about a person or element of your job, and their feedback has a tone of suggesting that perhaps more is wrong this one-off incident that can be a sign of the need for change.
You Are Easily Triggered
Being on edge, or easily triggered is a classic sign of burnout. Regarding your job, if you are noticing that even the smallest things are setting you off and leading to thoughts or actions that make you feel out of control, it is time to look elsewhere. No job will ever be completely free from stress or irritation however it is important to know the difference between a healthy level of stress and a dangerous one. As mentioned before though, no reaction is often stress in disguise. We all operate differently and while one person’s sign of burnout may be an audible outburst or throwing things off their desk, another’s may be silence and neglect.
You Are Not Fairly Compensated
Part of any business plan is going to be managing the payroll piece of the budget. With managers notorious for watching the dollar and trying to get more for less as a facet of their job, do not let your employer get you at a discount for an extended period. Gone are the days where discussing your salary is taboo. In today’s world, talking about your earnings and the perks and benefits associated with your employment is a smart way to be sure that you are getting compensated fairly.
Having said that, be able to recognize when you are not, and when that fact determines your future with the company. If you are happy and fulfilled and the money is the only missing piece know how to ask for a raise in a way that best sets you up for success. However, if money is just another element of your job that feels intolerable, say sayonara. You spend too much of your life working to not be earning top dollar for your contributions.
What to Do About It
At this point it should be obvious if now is the time to make a move but admitting that fact and taking the steps to make it a reality are two different beasts. Do not let intimidation deter you though, just create a workable plan of action. A well thought out list of must-haves for your next gig is a great tool for your job search and the fact that it will be personalized means that you can sort through options more efficiently. Below are some questions to ask yourself and what the answers might lead you to.
- Do I work better in autonomous roles? If the answer here is yes, think about jobs that take you away from an in-person office and into a more independent environment. Long haul trucking comes with travel and autonomy, but you might not have arrived at this career opportunity had you not identified your preferences first. You can review a guide on if long haul trucking is right for you to move forward within this industry or not.
- Do I need control over my schedule? If you need a flexible schedule and control over it, that will narrow down your search significantly. Be in tune here with what the role demands though, for example, it might be unrealistic to identify a desire to work in the accounting sector but not be willing to put in extra time during the height of tax season.
What salary does my budget demand? You can tailor your job search to your budgetary demands, or you can tailor your budget to your earned income. Either way, you need to know in advance of seeking out a new job what you consider an acceptable earnings range for yourself. Do not forget to consider factors like hours worked, and potential perks that might make up for a gap in base salary.