How to Prevent Burnout at Work

Updated on June 11, 2020
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Kieron Walker lives in New York. Prior to becoming a help desk specialist, he handled auto claims for a major insurance company.

Don't let work become dull. Take control of the situation with these helpful tips.
Don't let work become dull. Take control of the situation with these helpful tips. | Source

Job satisfaction is the term used to explain how meaningful a person's occupation is to them over the course of time.

No matter how long you have worked somewhere, there is always the chance that one day your job will not be as fulfilling as it used to be. You may not get the same thrill from your daily tasks that you once did. It may even feel like you are just going through the motions.

Your first thought may be to see how everyone else is doing, but your co-workers are still plugging away as usual. At that point, you start to wonder what is wrong with you and how did it get to this point. Where did everything go wrong?

If you find yourself in this position, the following tips could help to re-light your career flame.

How to Prevent Burnout at Work

  1. Be passionate about your job.
  2. Set long-term and short-term goals.
  3. Continue your self-development.
  4. Give and receive feedback.
  5. Take control of the situation.

1. Be Passionate About Your Job

The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

The first step in being satisfied with your occupation is being in a position that you enjoy doing. Sure there will be good days and bad days, but nothing is worse than waking up each day to go to a job you cannot stand. The daily frustration not only leads to stress and anger, but can also lead one to give up on the hope that happiness and work can co-exist.

For some people, finding passion is nothing more than taking a deep look at their current position and figuring out the job duties they enjoy the most. Once these are apparent, the person can focus on becoming an expert at these tasks and may eventually be called upon to mentor others on how to do them better. Paying more attention to the things you love about your job will eventually overshadow the things that you do not enjoy doing on a daily basis.

However, there are some people that go to work each day and have absolutely no joy in anything they do. If you are in a situation similar to this, it is up to you to find out not only what field of work you are interested in but also what types of tasks you enjoy doing. Taking a career or personality test at your local career center or community college may help you figure out what types of jobs align with your personality. Books, such as What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles, can also help you determine your talents with concerns to your passions in life.


2. Set Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

Once you have found the job you love doing, the best way to stay in love with it is to continue setting goals for yourself. These can be formal goals that you and your manager come up with during your annual review process, or informal ones that you decide upon for yourself. Whatever the situation may be, nothing beats the feeling of clearing a benchmark that you set for yourself.

When setting up your career goals and aspirations, make sure that you create a mix of long-term and short-term ones. People who only have long-term aspirations tend to lose motivation over the long haul because it can take so long to reach their achievements. If possible, break apart a long-term goal into the steps it takes to get there, and celebrate each time you achieve one of those steps.

Another thing to consider is making sure that your intents are realistic. Nothing is more discouraging than setting the bar unrealistically high and falling extremely short in accomplishing a task. This not only leads to a feeling of frustration and failure, but could also prevent you from wanting to challenge yourself again.

What type of goals do you already have set up for your career?

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3. Continue Your Self-Development

Whether you have been in your career for two months or twenty years, you should never stop looking for ways to improve your skills. It is easy to become discouraged with a job once it becomes routine, and the best way to keep it from becoming monotonous is by continuously seeking to improve yourself.

Depending on your profession, this self-improvement can come in the form of taking additional certification courses or just asking your supervisor what else you can do to be more effective at your job. As you start to build upon your initial talents and knowledge, you will generally become more confident in what you do. You may even be moved into a position of higher authority or asked to become a mentor for less experienced co-workers.

Ultimately by working on bettering yourself as an employee, your increased knowledge and skill-set will better your company or organization. Your employer will also see that you are invested in your occupation, and may eventually begin to give you more satisfying responsibilities as a result of your ambition.

Here are a few ways you can work on improving yourself:

  • Take additional courses related to your field of work
  • Get a mentor in a position you would like to be in one day
  • Take on additional work responsibilities
  • Read professional journals and articles related to your job
  • Network with other professionals in your line of work

Focus on Building Relationships with Co-Workers

Many times when people are unhappy with a situation, they look within themselves for the reason why. When it comes to your job, the reason for not feeling fulfilled may be from not looking outside of yourself enough. Finding a way to build stronger, more meaningful relationships with your co-workers could ultimately change the way that you view your job.

There are very few situations in which people work alone. Even those that do tend to have a certain set of people they interact with or do business with on a daily basis. Taking the time to build a stronger bond with your fellow workers gives you a greater reason to do well at your position.

Once you realize that the organization is made up of people you are familiar with, you can set out to achieve company-wide goals for everyone's benefit. For many people, the only thing better than achieving individual glory is accomplishing a group goal. The sense of team pride and joy is contagious, and keeps everyone motivated to make it happen again.


4. Give and Receive Feedback

Lack of effective communication is one of the major reasons why people become and stay frustrated with their jobs. This problem can work in one of two ways. First, workers may not receive adequate feedback from their management which can lead to a stressful, unappreciated feeling. For many, the only time they receive feedback from management is when something has gone wrong.

However, employees are also to blame when it comes to communicating with management. Many times, workers may have a concern but never bring it to the attention of their supervisor. This could lead to a situation where frustration builds over time until it eventually reaches a breaking point. In many cases, the negative situation could have been avoided if both employee and employer took the time to talk about how to make improvements.

Taking the time to talk to your manager or supervisor about how things are going with your job can help build a positive relationship and prevent job stress. It will also assure that your upper management has a better understanding of where you are coming from, and can lead to increased feelings of mutual respect.

5. Take Control of the Situation

Staying satisfied with your job is not a difficult thing, but it does take initiative. Whether it be re-discovering your passion in life, signing up for work-related courses, or taking the time to talk more with co-workers and management, the amount of success always falls back on how willing you are to improve your current situation. It may take a while to notice the changes, but you will feel better knowing you tried.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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