I’m going to share with you a phenomenon that I’m experiencing  right now –  New-Job Burnout.

I didn’t even know that such a thing existed until I googled it! Apparently its quite common in young professionals, especially in their 1st year of work. Basically, it is a condition that occurs after long periods in a stressful work environment and is often caused by:

  • Unclear description of your role or responsibilities on a project/ in a team
  • Poor communication within your department/ dysfunctional department
  • Lack of autonomy and micromanagement from supervisors
  • Poor match between the job and one’s values.
  • Poor job fit — Skills, work hours, physical demands, etc.
  • Extremely high levels of mental or physical activity is required long-term, sometimes without breaks during the day.

Most of these are especially common in your first job as you might not be in the right position or field just yet. I’ve experienced first hand how sometimes, it can be really difficult as a junior to know what is expected of you and in a less-structured work environment, its easy to feel a bit lost.

Common Symptoms of Burnout include:

  • Insomnia or excessive sleep or both in one week
  • Long lasting fatigue or run-down feeling
  • Frequent illnesses such as colds and flu
  • Teeth grinding.
  • More missed days of work.
  • Confusion, disorientation, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate.
  • Anger directed at people that are making demands, i.e. boss and family. Rising levels of anger over time.
  • Self-blame for fulfilling the demands of others against one’s will..
  • Sarcasm and cynicism.
  • Negative attitude, becoming worse over time.
  • Irritability and agitation.
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed.
  • Loss of the ability to organize and set priorities.
  • Decreased work output.
  • Explosive episodes of unprovoked anger.
  • Tension headaches and migraine, increasing in frequency.
  • Indigestion, stomach ulcers.
  • Weight loss or gain.
  • Feelings of loss of control, paranoia or helplessness
  • Panic attacks or fits of crying
  • Road rage.
  • Interaction problems with friends and family and colleagues

If you’re starting to experience these then you should consider addressing the problem right away before you ‘hit the wall’ so to speak.  It surprised me to have to admit that the stress was affecting me so much. I live a very healthy life – I exercise regularly, eat healthily, drink lots of water and take vitamins, but all of this just wasn’t enough. It turns out that the number one reason anybody burns out, is that they’re not giving their body and mind the time it needs to rest and recuperate energy. This is extremely important to maintain a healthy balance.

So how can you prevent Job Burnout:

  1. Take breaks – make sure you take a lunch break and a coffee break every few hours
  2. Take Vacations where you do nothing but relax
  3. Be assertive with your time. Its alright to put in overtime to get the job done, but don’t let this become the norm and ensure your supervisor acknowledges the extra time you’re putting in.
  4. Have a weekly ritual that’s just for you to spend time on you – get your nails done once a week or devote one evening a week to having a long, relaxing soak in the tub
  5. Leave the office at the office. I am very guilty of this one – get home and turn on your laptop to check emails? Don’t do it! They can survive without you for a few hours!
  6. Don’t take on too many extra-mural commitments. Although its great to be involved in things out of work, limit them to one or two activities at most. This way, you will be able to devote enough time to each of your commitments, and avoid feeling guilty when you can’t get around to everything you’ve committed yourself to! (again – I am guilty of this one!)

I’ve been put off for a few days to recover and rest but hopefully will be back on my feet again soon. One thing I am definitely going to do is take more breaks!