After fifteen or twenty years in the workforce it is not unusual to find your career stagnating. The causes include a stressful work environment, changing job requirements or simply losing interest in your profession.
Grappling with job burnout is overwhelming especially knowing your career will last for another fifteen or twenty years. Not to worry, now is a good time to pause, diagnose your situation, and start taking action to proactively manage your career.
Over the past six years I have coached hundreds of business professionals and identified 7 factors contributing to career burnout and corresponding helpful tips to regain control of your career.
1. Pressure to Succeed
You have put pressure on yourself to succeed as defined by others, but you have never felt completely satisfied in your career choice, instead questioning the benefit you provide. After years of doing something you don’t love, often for companies that held unrealistic expectations, you have a diluted sense of worth. In turn, you are uncertain about your value and cautious about finding the career you want.
2. No Longer Feeling Challenged
You are no longer learning and feeling challenged. In many cases, your career has lulled you into complacency. You have been a good soldier, performing as expected and, thus, allowing others to control your destiny. In doing so, you have not actively managed your career. But when something (such as a significant management change) forces you to finally look around, you discover your job has become something you never wanted it to be.
3. Losing Sight of Your Identity
Scratching and clawing your way to the top can result in losing sight of who you are. Your eagerness to be successful can be blinding. Without a good early role model you can quickly latch on to how others in status positions behave. You begin to sacrifice yourself in order to fit in and be part of the club.
4. No Longer Feeling Appreciated
Have you ended up in a career or job where you no longer feel as though you have any control over how your job is performed? Do you feel as though you are drifting in the swirl of corporate despair, neglected and shunted to the side by your boss? Are you struggling to make yourself relevant?
5. Feeling Stuck
This is characterized by the inability to make progress on decisions that affect you. You have become emotionally paralyzed and your life feels stuck. It begins when you lose sight of what you want and others become your focus. You feel the weight of every personal decision and the impact on those around you. There is a slow simmer that is happening inside. The frustration is mounting, and you feel like you are losing bits and pieces of yourself.
You might experience this if you enthusiastically imagine lots of potential career options but, like a kid in a candy store, can’t quite decide which one you want. Ultimately, you are overwhelmed with all the choices and every day you come home with a new exciting possibility. While this is encouraging because you can see the opportunities, it is frustrating for you and those around you because there is a lot of talk and little action.
7. Low Job Satisfaction
By all accounts you have a great job. The title. The money. The office. The prestige of working for a respected company. But still, you are not feeling fulfilled, and it’s wearing you down. During your ascent through the company, you collected all the trinkets of success, but you lost sight of what really gets you excited. Now you know what you want to be doing, but you haven’t yet found the path forward. Something or someone (the organization) is holding you back.
If your current situation is not working for you, you do not have to accept it as your fate. You can set forth a new vision. It takes not only awareness of where you are today but self discipline to start taking a series of small action steps to initiate the change you want in your career and life.
For more helpful tips you can check out my book Amplify Your Career and Life: 4 Steps to Evaluate, Assess and Move Forward.