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VOL. 46 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 15, 2022

Burned out? Find a soft landing before you jump

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Burnout at work is real, and it’s happening more now than ever, perhaps due to the high stress and change we have faced over the last two years. I heard from a reader this week who is experiencing burnout in the workplace, as you might be, too. The most important part of the burnout experience is how you manage it.

For many people, the urge is to quit their current job. The thought of one more painful day at the office is the last thing you want to think about.

Quitting sounds gratifying. You can take time off to relax before walking in to a better, higher-paying job. The job market is hot now, right? This sounds easy.

But, if you’re like most people, your job helps to pay your bills. You might be OK without income for a period of time, but eventually you’ll need that steady paycheck again.

Those who quit working might think it will be relaxing. For most people, however, it’s just the opposite. You’re often on edge until you have a new job, wondering when the job search will be over. This experience is compounded by loved ones who will ask how the search is going.

The most relaxing time off is between jobs. When you find a new job, set your start date far enough out that you might have time in between. This will be the most relaxing time you’ll have. You’ll be free from work and free from worry.

Most people don’t quit jobs before they’ve found another. Quitting is difficult to explain to your future hiring manager. They might well assume that you were fired from your last job or, best case scenario, you’re a poor decision-maker.

In addition, you feel more pressure to accept a job offer when you have no job and are interviewing.

For example, if it has been three months since you left your last job, you might feel panicked. You’re running out of money and wonder how another three months with no job might look. This can push you to take the next job offer, even if it pays less or seems to be a bad work situation.

Worst case: You feel pressured to take something and might end up in a worse situation than your previous job.

Take control of how you want to handle your burnout. If it’s time to find a new job, great! If you feel that you are too busy or too stressed to look for another job, consider your options. If you have vacation saved, this can be a great time to use it.

Take time off to apply for jobs and recharge. Focus on your search so you can create a positive path out as quickly as possible.

Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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