After all the highways, and the trains, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive, said Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.” Do you no longer feel that you are getting satisfaction from your job, or are you questioning whether you are in the right job? Are you contemplating looking for a new position? If so, you are probably suffering from burn-out and not necessarily from a bad job. It is caused by the way that you react to both positive and negative stress in your job. Stress is part and parcel of any job, so it is important to be able to identify the stress — causing factors and turn them into positive experiences.
Here are some suggestions on ways to eliminate burn-out and stress.
1. Remember the good times
Think of the times when you felt a sense of professional achievement and identify the factors that contributed to that success, such as selling the big deal you had been working on for so long, winning promotion or creating new ideas.
2. Avoid negativity
Henry Ford said: ‘If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right’. Using positive language creates an image in our minds that the subconscious soaks up. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed 350,000 executives and discovered that the top 10 per cent performers held a higher sense of optimism. So, instead of looking at your new sales target and saying, “That’s unrealistic.” It is better to say, “If I break this down into manageable, smaller targets I can see how I will achieve this.” Backbiting colleagues, gossips and office politics can, given time, have a negative effect on you. Counteract negativity by focusing on the positives aspects of your work — the “neg-heads” will soon realise that you won’t entertain their bemoaning.
3. Get out more
Allow time to get out of the office and go out for lunch or coffee instead of sitting at the desk where you spend so much of your day. Turn off your phone, Blackberry and laptop and take some “me-time” away from work. These may seem like frivolous acts but you will return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
4. Change your daily routine
The monotony of performing the same tasks daily can be frustrating. Take a different route to work, reorganise your desk or ask your boss for a new challenge — perhaps taking on the responsibility of running the next team meeting or training new starters.
5. Finally, ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help, we are all human beings not human doings. All of us go through tough periods and you will earn the respect of your managers and peers if you ask for their advice and support. In my experience, what comes around goes around — one day you may be the one that someone turns to for help.
To use a cliché, knowledge is power. Now you know what you can do when you are burnt-out and avoid letting things slip out of control like Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. It is not the situation that you are in now that matters; it’s what you do about it.
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins spent several years working within the online recruitment media. He is now a freelance writer specialising in all issues regarding careers, workplace issues, recruitment, interviews, and hiring trends.