You might love your job, and if so, you’ll probably have a pretty good life overall. That is because most people spend a lot of time at work, and if you spend time doing something you enjoy, you’ll probably have a high contentment level on a day-by-day basis. By contrast, if you don’t like your job very much, you’re likely going to run into some issues before long.
There’s a definitive difference between not liking your job very much, though, and experiencing severe burnout. Burnout occurs when you’ve reached a level beyond ordinary frustration or doldrums. Let’s look at a few of the burnout signs that you should never ignore, especially if you’re experiencing them chronically.
You Constantly Feel Exhausted
If you’re looking for burnout signs, constantly feeling exhausted must be at the top of the list. If you occasionally have to work a double, that can certainly tire you out, but exhaustion refers more to a feeling that’s emotional and physiological as well as merely physical.
Exhaustion means you feel drained, as though you can’t go on for much longer without completely checking out mentally. It’s when you can barely drag yourself out of bed to answer your alarm clock.
Occasional exhaustion from a job you like will bring with it an exhilarated feeling, as though you’re putting in some hard work, but you’re still enjoying the experience. If you’re approaching the burnout level of exhaustion, you won’t have any of those accompanying positive feelings.
You Don’t Care Whether You Finish Projects or Not
At work, you will probably have various projects or goals, regardless of what it is you do. You might assign yourself those goals, or your bosses might give them to you.
Either way, when you check off one of those objectives, if you like your job, you should feel satisfied and content. You ought to feel like you earned a little downtime. You should have no trouble ordering a special dinner for yourself that weekend at a restaurant or having an adult beverage after work to celebrate.
If you’re approaching the burnout stage, you won’t care whether you finish a big project or meet some critical milestone. If all you can think is that you’ve got the next task staring you down, and the next one after that, you’re getting into a hopeless mindset, and that’s not healthy.
You’re Pushing Too Hard with the Caffeine
Many people indulge in some caffeine. It’s in coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, and so forth. It’s okay to have a little bit of it, such as one cup of coffee to start the day.
If you’re ingesting way more of it than you used to, though, and you can’t get through a day without overloading yourself with it, that’s a problem. It means you’re pushing yourself too hard, and you need to take a step back from the situation. Probably you’ll need to cut back on your hours or take a vacation.
Remember that even though caffeine is legal, it’s still a drug, and it’s highly addictive. If you’re totally reliant on it to get you through each workday, that’s a potential burnout sign, and you need to make some changes.
You Can’t Concentrate
Concentration is a critical part of any job. If you can’t focus, you’re going to make mistakes. That’s going to get you in trouble with your bosses, regardless of your profession.
If you’re a bus driver, for instance, and you lose your focus because you’re so sick of the job, that could mean running a red light or hitting a pedestrian. If you find that day after day, you can’t bring yourself to focus on the job at hand, that’s a burnout sign, and you might need a career change.
You Are Getting Sick a Lot
Some people get sick more than others, but if you find that you’re ill almost constantly, that’s definitely a burnout sign. Some people might not realize this, but stress weakens your immune system.
If you are sick all the time, or you can’t shake a nagging cough, fever, or other troubling symptoms, you need to take some time off so you can recharge. While you’re away from work, you can think about whether you want to pursue a new job or career path instead of going back.
Some people ignore burnout because they feel like they have no alternatives. There are always other job possibilities, though, if you’re creative and determined enough.