How to Deal With Job Resentment the Right Way
Job Burnout Is All About Resentment
Burnout isn’t just about working too much. There are many many of us who work very long hours and are some of the most fulfilled, motivated people you’ll ever meet. Instead, burnout is often caused by an adverse emotion that comes from working too much under certain restricting circumstances.
When you feel like you’re working long hours without getting any closer to something you desperately want, resentment towards your job will grow and become the driving force to feeling burnt out.
What Is 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 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. Not motivated
You find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, 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, and 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.
Poll: Job Happiness
How happy are you with your job?
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: Fulfillment at Work
Does your company provide opportunities to help you feel more fulfilled at work?
Questions & Answers
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