How To Know You’re Experiencing Career Burnout (And How To Overcome It)

Unsplash/Thought Catalog

If you haven’t come across the nasty animal called career burnout yet, consider yourself lucky. The term refers to the feeling you get when you’re run down and your job just isn’t doing it for you anymore. Whether it’s your boss getting you down or the physical role taking a toll on you, just know that career burnout is real, and it’s brutal. We’re cluing you into the telltale signs of career burnout, and how to deal with it.

You’re constantly tired.

There are a million reasons why you could be tired right now — your sleep schedule is off, you got into a fight with your significant other, your cat’s sick, etc. But if everything else seems to be in check except for your job and your feet are dragging day after day, that job is likely sucking the life out of you. For what reason, only you can say, but it’s not healthy either way.

You simply don’t care anymore.

You messed up a part of a project — you don’t bat an eye. You overhear your boss say that your company may go through some “changes” and you keep on rolling. If you don’t feel emotionally invested in anything your company does anymore, you’re likely burnt out.

You don’t look forward to new challenges.

Maybe your team was just put on a really exciting project that you would have loved a year ago but aren’t excited about now. Being presented with new challenges is typically a great way to refresh your career goals, so if you’re still feeling blah, your heart just isn’t in it anymore.

You stop contributing in meetings.

Everyone has their own way of contributing to a meeting, whether that’s taking notes, taking the lead on the powerpoint presentation or even just paying attention and nodding every once in a while. Not your style anymore? If you can’t even feign interest in your meetings, let alone participate in them, you can bet you got bitten by the burnout bug.

Unsplash/Trent Erwin

The smallest thing sets you off.

Unless you’re a particularly fiery employee, you most likely don’t snap at your coworkers for clicking their pens every so often. If your office mate’s chewing is suddenly so unbearable that you have to take a walk to calm yourself down, you’re not just on edge — you could be burnt out. Taking a breath may not feel so easy during this time because you simply have run out of the patience required to put in a solid eight hours.

You can’t focus.

What does your workday look like now compared to how it looked before? Maybe you were one of those people who could stay in the zone all day and now you can’t help but scroll through Facebook or look through apartment listings when you should be putting together that presentation. Focus is important when you’re on the job, so if you’re unable to find it…well, it should be clear by now what you’ve may have a case of. Yep, career burnout.

So… what do you do?

First, you have to diagnose the issue. What is it about your job that is actually burning you out? Maybe you’re being underutilized and you don’t feel challenged enough. Maybe you feel spread too thin. And maybe you just don’t jive with the people in your office or the company mission you once were passionate about.

It’s important to identify whether or not your issue is resolvable within the office, meaning whether you can fix the issue while staying employed there. Maybe all you need is some good old PTO to rebound. Some issues, though, are too complicated to fix, so your best bet may be to leave if that’s the case. Just make sure you weigh every option before leaving and understand the general warning signs that your job really isn’t working out.