How to Deal With Workplace Resentment and Job Burnout the Right Way

Updated on May 26, 2020
Kaitlyn Lo profile image

Kaitlyn has a background in psychology and writes articles that teach you how to lean on your body, mind, heart, and on those around you.

Job Burnout Is All About Resentment

Burnout isn’t just about working too much. Many who work very long hours are some of the most fulfilled and motivated people you’ll ever meet. Burnout is often caused by working too long under restricting circumstances. When you feel like you’re working long hours without getting any closer to your goals, then little resentments can grow into full-blown job burnout.


What Is Job Burnout?

According to the American Psychological Association, job burnout is a long period where a person feels exhausted, lacks interest in things, and experiences a downward trend in job performance.

Chronic stress is often the cause of burnout because you’re put in an environment where you’re asked to fulfill expectations or tasks that are beyond your capacity. In essence, you’ve run out of emotional and mental resources to handle what your job requires of you.

Burnout can harm your health (both physical and mental), relationships, sense of well-being, and career. Studies have found that the frontal cortex in brains of people suffering from burnout will thin faster than those without burnout. The frontal cortex thins naturally as we age, but burnout sufferers have thinner frontal cortices than other people their age. Another study of 9,000 employees found that people suffering from burnout are at significantly higher risk of heart disease.

It’s important to identify when you’re feeling burnt out, and know what you can do about it.

Major Symptoms of Job Burnout

1. Failing to take care of yourself.

It’s common for those of us suffering from burnout to self-medicate, drink too much, smoke too much, or not bother to exercise and eat healthily. We may find it hard to sleep properly as well.

2. You feel like you’re working when you’re not.

You’re always thinking, worrying, or stressing about work even when you’re not at the office, so you can't decompress fully before heading back to work the next day.

3. Tired. All. The. Time.

You’re exhausted and drained emotionally, mentally, and physically. When you’re burnt out, you just don’t seem to have the energy for anything.

4. Lack of motivation.

You find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, you drag your feet when you are at work, and your drive is gone. As a result, your job performance plummets, and you find it hard to feel enthusiastic about anything.

5. Feeling pessimistic, cynical, or frustrated.

You feel like what you do doesn’t matter anymore and won’t be recognized no matter what. You feel stuck, pessimistic about everything, and hopeless. While it’s normal to feel negative emotions on the job at times, when the negative dominates the positive, that’s when burnout becomes more likely.


How to Deal With Resentment at Work

Since job resentment is the main cause of burnout and stress, what can we do about it?

1. Change your perspective.

When resentment takes over, it’s easy to start obsessing over it day in day out. This is when you need to shift your perspective. Disappointment, hurt, and even betrayal is part of life. Feeling jealous of your colleagues’ success is normal, but there’s no point in envy when you’re not doing anything to change your situation. Take any setbacks as a sign to change course so you can keep moving forward.

2. Know what’s real and what’s imagined.

When you’re feeling resentful, your circumstances can seem exaggerated: the bad seems much worse, and your worse case scenario much more likely. So the first thing you need to do is to separate fact from fiction to understand how legitimate your frustrations are.

  • Do you feel victimized? Are you sure you have no control over the situation?
  • Do you feel helpless? Are you sure that no matter what you do, nothing is going to make your situation better?
  • Do you feel like everyone is the bad guy? Are you sure you’re not exaggerating or over-imagining evil intentions?

Once you’ve identified what's going on and the role you play in the situation, you’ll feel more empowered to make things better for yourself.

3. Do the things you love.

Resentment often results from not being able to do the things that are important to us. If your job stands in the way of achieving your life goals or stops you from working towards your dream, we'll naturally feel resentful towards it.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quit your job. Even though you’re drained after work, it’s important that you schedule activities you enjoy when you’re not working. When you’re having fun and doing things that make you feel fulfilled, your problems at work just won’t seem as soul-sucking anymore.


More Tips to Help You Deal With Negative Emotions

There are a few other things you can do to help you work through your feelings of bitterness and frustration.

Journal. Talk it out with people who care about you. Even working out your frustrations at the gym will make you feel better. The important thing is not to let your resentment build and fester.

When we learn how to recognize, own, control, and take responsibility for our emotions, that’s when we can make firm steps to take control of your life at work and reach the level of career success you've always dreamed of.

Poll: Job Happiness

How happy are you with your job?

See results

Poll: Fulfillment at Work

Does your company provide opportunities to help you feel more fulfilled at work?

See results

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.

© 2018 KV Lo


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    • Kaitlyn Lo profile imageAUTHOR

      KV Lo 

      2 years ago

      @Karen Ngai: I'm glad you think so! It's important to take a step back regularly so as not to get too caught up in the chase for greater success at the expense of our mental and physical health. :)

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I can definitely relate to some of these feelings right now! I needed this post before I imploded haha. Very useful tips, thank you for this post

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This really resonates with me right now. The effects of burnout are scary, but that makes the tips that much more important!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Being in charge of your emotions help you manage resentment and being able to put one's self together. Burnt do affect big time, destabilising most area of one's life. Great post here.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Just sent this to my hubby! He could do with reading this

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This is such a great article for anyone who is going through a rough patch at work, offering so many tips on how to get things going. Burnouts are never easy and can affect your performance to a great extent.

    • profile image

      Karen Ngai 

      2 years ago

      This is an article with some pretty important takeaway messages. For a person who has just started working it is something that can get forgotten due to stress or just comparison to others.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      So true, burnout can be tough to overcome. but, once you recognize it, then we can overcome it. Just by remembering to LiveFree and LoveOnPurpose.

    • profile image

      Jennifer Prince 

      2 years ago

      I've had this before. It's so hard to stay, and I love your ideas on dealing with it. Great thoughts!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I always say that when you're down and feeling defeated you need to give yourself a check up from the neck up. It's in your head as in the way you view the situation.


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