How To Avoid Career Burnout: Seven Ways To Keep Yourself Safe
### Career Burnout is a real issue and some companies are taking it seriously. Consider the dating site Bumble. Their CEO has given the entire staff this week off to help them avoid burnout.
> “As vaccination rates increase and restrictions ease, we wanted to give our global teams a paid week off to rest and refresh after what’s been an incredibly challenging time for everyone,” a Bumble spokesperson said in an email to NBC News.
On April fifth of this year, LinkedIn gave their employees around the world [a week off](https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/02/success/linkedin-paid-week-off/index.html) .
We’ve been taught that hard work is good, and it is. But we haven’t heard enough about how to rest and the value of doing so without feeling guilty. I know something about this. Eight years into my career, I hit a burnout wall. And it was ugly.
Never had I felt such sheer exhaustion. The last months on the job, I drove home at lunch, went to bed, slept for 90 minutes and then pulled myself together to finish my work day.
Little did I know that Career Burnout had arrived. At the time, I didn’t know it had a name. Now I do.
The truth is, my body just stopped.
It was a lot like being the unskilled rider on a champion horse. Your horse just stops and you have no reason why or how to fix it.
My body said, “Absolutely no more!”
And this time I listened. Here are some of the gory details:
-I had completed a grueling two year MBA program that I self-funded. (I was broke, so I felt I could take no time off.)
-The good news was I was recruited by a high-profile consumer products company. And for the next six years worked pretty much 24/7 and climbed fast. I was rewarded with recognition, promotions, and raises.(Just what my inner demon loved…read on.)
-Never one to rest on my laurels, two weeks after I earned a huge corporate promotion, I jumped ship and joined a Texas start-up where the expectations were sky-high.
Two more grueling years came and went. Then, I started hearing an inner voice that said, “You hate this job.” But I didn’t listen…
Looking back, those eight demanding years required all of me and I willingly gave it.
Even the doc at the campus infirmary where I went complaining of fatigue told me I was the “type” corporate America loved to get their hooks into….and he was right.
I now recognize my inner work demon was insatiable and that I was seeking perfection: the wittiest presentation, the perfect memo, the “smart” executive summary on a complicated research report, key observations at senior management meetings, etc.
I fed that inner demon daily. I let him be in charge. And he nearly killed me.
But then one day it came to a grinding halt. I had no more energy to give.
I was down for the count for almost three years….In the beginning, I was listless. I slept a lot, had zero appetite for anything resembling work, my friends and family were worried…..what was happening to me?
I really don’t remember a lot about that dark time except I knew I was tired and lost.
I also discovered that God works in mysterious ways.
Eventually I started to feel some motivation.. I bought a back pack and found a desk at a University of Texas library where I would go most weekdays. I started to doodle and then write.
After a couple of months, I came home from the library I was taking a break in and sat down in my favorite chair in my den. Suddenly my brain began connecting the dots. I began to visualize. Customer Loyalty is earned one stage at a time and I needed to “invent” the stages. Next, an image flashed in my mind on how to present these stages in whimsical illustrations. I was furiously writing all this down before it escaped me.
That model turned into keynotes, workshops and my break-through book,_Customer Loyalty: How To Earn It, How To Keep It. _I’ve been preaching the gospel of Customer Loyalty ever since.
While I was blessed by this epiphany, I learned a big lesson. Career Burnout is a real physical and emotional condition that can cripple us.
Don’t let it creep up on you.
Here are some tips that I hope you will find helpful:
-Trust your inner voice. Listen to it. That whisper can become a sledge hammer if you give it no mind.
-Pace yourself. Expect career twists, turns and setbacks.
-Practice patience. As my mother always said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” (This one is hard for me!)
-Expect failures…they come in all sizes. Learn from them. They are your best teachers.
-Exercise, meditate, pray. Make time for yourself every day. This is where breakthroughs can happen!
-Ask for help. For the longest time, I never asked.
-Most importantly, only give your gifts to worthy people and causes. As Maya Angelou wisely taught, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.