I have so many clients who come to me feeling burned out in their current job. For some of them it’s not from working too much. Instead it’s from working outside their gifting. For others, they love their job and company, but their employers treat them as machines instead of humans!
Burned out from working too much
For those of you who are in a company or job you enjoy but are feeling burned out from overwork, looking for a new job and sending out resumes is probably not the answer right now.
Doing so would be the same as uprooting your family and moving to a house right next door to a restaurant just because you happen to be hungry right now.
Trust me. You don’t want to trade a burnout with a company you love for a burnout with a company you’ll hate.
Have the tough conversation with your boss
Instead, I suggest having a frank conversation with your supervisor, no matter how difficult or scary it may feel.
Former Wall Street CEO (for both Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch) and now entrepreneur Sallie Krawcheck says,
“The days of the boss as ‘hard-ass’ need to be kissed good-bye. Today the business world increasingly values the kind of leaders who recognize that their employees’ lives don’t begin and end when they are at work. Many of us have families, and pets, and outside interests, and medical needs, and hobbies. Really, it’s well past time to get over requiring face time. And work as an extreme sport, complete with all-nighters and last-minute business trips-it isn’t good for employees, and it certainly doesn’t allow anyone to do their best work; and younger professionals are turning away from it in droves. Why not own the fact that we are all people and acknowledge that all of us need time for our outside lives? It’s just smart business.”
Instead of taking the angle of needing some much needed relief from your current workload, take the angle of how you want to be the best and most productive employee you can be for your boss.
Tell him or her how your current workload is negatively impacting your ability to do your best. Then focus on how you can improve your performance and productivity with just a few suggested tweaks.
Propose a win-win-win situation
Think ahead what tweaks you can suggest to be a win-win-win. (A win for your boss that will make him or her look good, a win for the company’s bottom line, and a win for you and your sanity.)
Some examples of tweaks you can suggest may include:
- Delegating some things to your subordinates.
- Working remotely from home one to two days a week.
- Trading travel to in-person site visits for Skype meetings.
A trial period
Give your boss the option to try what you’re suggesting on a trial basis (typically two weeks). Offer to go back to the old way if it doesn’t work.
During those two weeks, track every single positive impact on the company’s bottom line you notice.
Examples of positive outcomes include:
- Reduction in errors.
- Financial savings for the company.
- More satisfied clients/customers.
- Increase in more qualified prospects.
- Increase in repeat sales from current customers.
- Time used more wisely.
Create a report reflecting these positive outcomes and present it to your boss at the end of the two weeks.
Then once you share your positive results, ask your boss for two additional weeks to see if you can repeat what you’ve accomplished in the first two weeks. If you can, he or she will find it hard to justify saying no to an indefinite continuation of your new approach to your workload.
Consider your next move
Only after you’ve had this conversation with your boss should you consider looking for a new job.
If your supervisor likes your work as much as you like working for him or her, you shouldn’t feel paranoid about broaching the subject. In fact, your boss will probably be glad you brought your struggle to his or her attention.
But if your proposal is immediately shot down and it’s obvious your feedback is not appreciated, then you’ll know it’s probably time to look for something new. But I strongly recommend taking some vacation time (even if you don’t go out of town) to really think about if you should leave your job. And if so, for what other kind of job?
Use this time to also figure out your personal mission and purpose in life so you’ll know what opportunities to say yes to and which ones to say no to. Make sure you’re targeting opportunities that allow you to work in your gifting. Otherwise, you’ll end up burned out all over again.
Don’t get burned out on burnout
When looking for something new, do so with a clear mind. Again, use some of your vacation time to take a step back and get some proper perspective on what exactly you want in your next job and what will be a good fit for your personal mission. It will be worth it!
If you need help determining your purpose and gifting, start with paNASH’s on-demand video course on personal branding. Do this before you update your resume and just start sending it out randomly with no real focus.
Don’t get burned out on burnout. If you follow the suggestions above, you can find a new lease on life which can really get you fired up about your career!