Top 10 Causes of Job Burnout

Causes of Job Burnout

Sunday night you start dreading going to work.  You have a feeling of impending doom.

You have to force a smile before you walk into the office.  You feel like you’ve been hitting your head against a wall. It’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, you feel hopeless.

At some point, it happens to every leader.  Job Burnout.  But you lead an important team, and you just can’t afford to not be at your best.

There are many causes of job burnout. Knowing the cause can be the first step to changing the conditions or situation, so you find your passion and drive again.  Here’s a list of possible causes of Job Burnout to help you identify the cause of your Job Burnout.

1. You feel pushed to produce beyond your or your team’s limits.

The stress is unbearable.  Examine whether you need to:

  • Learn to say “no.”  Watch your colleagues.  They probably say “no” more than you realize.  Give yourself permission to say “no”
  • Learn to negotiate assignments and assignment deadlines
  • Learn to schedule tasks in the future.  Most tasks really don’t need to be done immediately
  • Ask for more staff and/or resources
  • Renegotiate the scope of your responsibilities

2. You’ve been given unreachable goals.

Try:

  • Renegotiating your goals with your boss or the Board
  • Asking for more time
  • Asking for more resources
  • Partnering with another leader or department
  • Asking for help

3. You promise too much and barely keep up with your work.

Examine whether:

  • You’re addicted to adrenaline
  • You’re trying to please everyone
  • You’re doing more than everyone else
  • You defined too large of scope for your job, the team you lead, or your department
  • You are picking up the slack for a poor performer (within your team, for a peer, or your boss)
    • Sometimes you have to let a team, peer, or boss fail, so that you create change readiness for the organization

4. You give too much and don’t get enough back.

Try:

  • Giving less
  • Asking for more
  • Delegating more
  • Finding a new job (although I always say, you take yourself with you.  Which means, you take your problems with you, so you may need to do some deep work on yourself to prevent this from happening on a new job)

5. People at work drain you.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I let people take advantage of me?
  • Have I created appropriate boundaries for other people’s behavior?

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6. You haven‘t gotten the promotion you want or you don’t get the assignments you want.

Ask yourself:

  • Are your expectations reasonable?  If they are, establish a step by step plan to achieve your goals
  • Do I need to move to another department or find a new job?

7. You’ve lost interest in the work you used to enjoy.

Try:

  • Finding ways to expand your scope of work or take on new projects
  • Delegating the work you don’t enjoy
  • Looking for ways to reconnect to the joy you once felt in doing your work
  • Looking for a new career

8. You’ve developed feelings of depression.

Try:

  • Talking to a therapist
  • Talking to your doctor
  • Looking for the root cause and eliminating it

9. You’re feeling angry and you are withholding communications from your boss, peers, or staff.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you trying to punish?  Why?
  • Am I really just punishing myself?

10. You’re having personal problems unrelated to your job.

A happy person is a productive person; an unhappy person is an unproductive person.  Try:

  • Looking for ways to change what you are unhappy with.
  • Adding some joyful activities to your life
  • Asking for help

You will most likely experience job burnout at some point in your career.  Managing job burnout is an important career management skill. 

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