How to Cure Burnout at Work
My first job was cold calling at a startup. It was good, I worked 16 hours a day every day, except the weekends, and was committed to the mission of the company.
After a couple months though, things got a little tiring.
I started losing motivation for the job, so, to get a break, I went on vacation to hang out with an old friend from high school.
He’s the same age as me, we graduated the same year, and yet he made TWICE what I was making, had a much cooler job, and it seemed like he loved it.
So, I asked him how.
How did he go from graduating the same day as I did, to getting a raise that doubled his income in six months, and moving to a job he really liked?
He told me that having passion for his job came in waves. When he started the job, he was doing things he liked, but then he started getting bored and burned out.
Some of the things he was doing, that he used to really like, he started to resent.
Instead of taking a vacation, or quitting like some people would do, he decided to ride it out, but realized he needed to make some changes to get rid of the burned out feeling first.
He decided that the major cause of his loss of passion was the long hours he worked, so instead of staying late and coming in early like his coworkers, he started coming in on time, and using the saved hours to do things that relaxed him: golfing, reading and watching movies.
As his work hours decreased, he got happier and more passionate. He used the newly acquired passion to work harder than his coworkers who were coming in early and staying late.
Best of all, his burned out feeling was completely gone after a few weeks.
After six months of doing this, he went in for a mid-year evaluation with his boss, and ended up getting a promotion that doubled his salary.
It turns out he was unhappy because he was giving too much of his time to the job. The passion he felt when he first started went away because he was using it too often.
So, when he gave less time, he performed better, and now he loves his work again.
He’s getting paid what he deserves, has more responsibilities, works less hours, and he’s happier. Plus, he has more time to work on the other things he’s passionate about.
If you’re feeling burned out at work, or you’re trapped in a cubicle and feel like you’re never going to get out, maybe pulling back isn’t the answer. Maybe the answer is to put your head down, do your job, and work less hours so you have more time to work on other things while you let your passion recharge.
What about you?
How can you apply this lesson to a project you’re working on?
Alex Berman runs Following the Rules, a site that shows you how to live a richer and more fulfilling life right out of college. Check out his free guide 20 Life Changing (And Cheap) Experiences to have in the Next Three Months and start dominating your bucket list.