Burnout, according to Dictionary.com, is fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity. Burnout can result in some serious consequences including depression, anxiety, and physical illness. To test if you may be experiencing burnout, here are 4 questions for you to ponder.
1. Is my work impacting others in a positive way? Vicktor Frankl, the famous author of Man’s Search For Meaning, wrote “Meaning is not inherent in the work itself, but in the perceptions and understanding of the worker.” I recently heard a story that I believe illustrates Frankl’s quote. When two janitors from NASA were interviewed on what they did for a living, one said “I pick up garbage and clean.” The other janitor said “I am a part of the team that puts astronauts into space. The second janitor was able to connect his work to the overall mission of the organization.
How do you perceive your work? Do you feel that you are making a positive difference in the world?
2. Am I using my strengths? Some positions may start out utilizing your strengths but then after a while, you may find yourself tasked with other activities that actually drain you. “Weakness,” as the author Marcus Buckingham writes “are the things that quietly corrupt our work and life.” You may be very good at performing an activity but if it drains you, it is a weakness, not a strength. To be fulfilled in a career, you need to be focusing your time on activities that strengthen you at least 75% of the time.
Are you utilizing your strengths a majority of the time?
3. What is my mindset? We all have bad days at work but if you are having more bad days than good, you could be experiencing burnout. A good observation is to see how you feel about returning to work after the weekend.
Do you look forward to going to work or do you spend the weekend dreading Monday?
4. Where is my energy level at work? Where would you rate your energy level on a scale of 1-10? If you notice you are consistently lower than an 8, you may be experiencing burnout.
Another question to ponder is “Am I just getting through the week so that I can recharge over the weekend?”
Life is too short to spend 40+ hours a week at a job that drains you. If you aren’t using your strengths, or feel your energy is being sapped, you may need to rethink your employment situation. There is nothing like the feeling of doing the work you’re meant to be doing, being in your zone of genius, and making a positive difference in the world.