On Burnout.

I think I’m actually burning out, like in a bad way. And looking for a new job might not be the answer. I mean, that’s what I thought for the majority of this year, as I started to think about sectoral changes and doing something completely new. I thought that was the answer to my issues with my current job. I had this huge five year plan that I had started thinking about which focused on a career in  the healing arts. That all seemed very solution-focused, and practical. But back then, 6 months ago I was able to think about this rationally.

Something new has been happening to me this month– it’s not usual ups and downs, and it’s incredibly irrational.
  • My body is exhausted all the time.
  • Work used to make me angry but it was primarily directed at my boss and frustrations with unethical non-profit practices, lack of leadership and lack of efficiency. Now I find that I’m angry all the time at work.
  • The smallest error someone on my team makes triggers me into major anger and irritability. There have been three incidents this week when I have snapped at people, one in writing which has turned into something else. That is not me at all.
  • I’m also forgetting things in a way that I have never forgot things before. Usually I’m highly productive and a huge multi-tasker and really efficient. Now I am totally completely blanking on things like I have never blanked on before. As in completely not remembering some tasks and to-do’s even after I write them down.
  • I’m avoiding all situations where I have to interact with all staff. I called in sick recently to avoid people.
  • I feel the usual stuff- undervalued, under supported, frustrated, under-compensated.
  • I’m starting to think that I come across as an emotional, bitchy stress-case.
  • I crave quiet days at work where no one talks to me.
  • My heart rate has increased.
  • I’m go into phases of deep despair, because I feel like I’m losing hope in social justice, community-based work- the work that I’ve been doing for years now and that makes me really really sad because if I don’t believe in the work that I’m doing then why I am here. As in, I thought that this was my life’s purpose.
  • I’m bitter, jaded and frustrated.
  • I feel like we can’t make social change because we’re up against these giant systems.  And the gap between the haves and have nots just becomes wider and wider in my eyes as I see it played out in my work. As I start to realize that the people I work with will only get so far in life and will continue to struggle and middle-class people like me will rise farther up the ladder (until we plateau).
  • I feel isolated at work- I can’t talk to anyone about how I really feel.
  • Work is starting to keep me up at night and taking up mental space into my weekend, like this weekend. This year I finally got work-life balance, as in by Friday at 6pm I usually left all my troubles (and there have been many) behind and didn’t think about anything until Monday morning. My weekends have been fabulous, and nourishing.
  • I do not want to interact with people at work any more.
I’ve started reading up on burnout and I don’t think my symptoms above are a case of having a bad month. But, the good thing is that:
  • I’m aware of my behaviour.
  • I’ve just emailed a therapist to deal with this.
  • I read somewhere that I should give myself two weeks off and if I still feel this way after the two weeks then I know that this is not just a funk or heightened stress, but possibly really burnout. And I’m going on vacation for two weeks over Christmas.
  • My sister suggested that I start reading up on burnout, and read books like What’s the point of revolution if we can’t dance.
  • She also suggested recognizing for myself what it means for me to make real changes, and hold on to those.


Let’s hope this work week ahead goes okay. And then I hope it all passes because right now, the future feels a bit dark.


6 thoughts on “On Burnout.

  1. Pingback: job performance « thebitterbabe

  2. Pingback: On finding compassion for your mother. | anotherthirtysomethingblogger

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