The Threat of Burn Out

Burn OutIn my last post I talked about millennials and I thought to myself, why not continue that conversation and be a millennial in the business world talking about real issues that come across my desk or others desk.  It can be nice to know you are not alone in feeling one way or another.  It is also okay to not agree with me at all, that is the best part of the world we live it – our experiences make us who we are and shape our opinions and no two people should be the same.

So this week I wanted to talk about something that has been really getting to me lately and I am sure it happens to everyone who is in their second year on the job or anyone in general at some point in their career. That thing I am referring to is Burn Out or the threat that it could happen.

Burn out is not always easy to see coming, I know for me it had been creeping up on me for a while I just ignored and kept going at the pace I was going.  I think often times we as millennials feel that we have to overcome the stereotypes of not being willing to work and we take on ridiculous amounts of work which isn’t right either.

What I realized this week as my work life started affecting my personal life; as well as, my energy levels when I got home –  that I had a problem that I wasn’t dealing with.  I was on a path towards burn out because I was doing what I felt like was a job and a half.  Now I am not trying to toot my own horn or talk about how long I would work but there were days I would get in around 8 and not leave until after 8.  I know this happens all the time in the Big 5 and other industries but it is not the norm for the company I work for, they believe in work life balance, so I knew something was wrong.  I also knew because for 4 days in a row I had no energy to get out of bed at my normal 5am time to work out and go run and to me that starts my day off on the best foot.

As I let the little tasks that I was being asked to take on get to me, I began to dread doing them which made me not look forward to work because I always wondered what little task that I felt was not in my job description would come next.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am all for being a team player but what my issue was that my role was not expanding I was just being asked to do two jobs and expected to get my objectives, projects, and task done for my official job.  This became the issue because I would be staying 2-3 hours after everyone else had left to complete my normal job assignments because the day had been filled with the other tasks.

Finally, I was at my breaking point, as my manager was referring to another task, I nearly broke down at the thought of another task being added to my “responsibilities”.  I told her how thin I was being stretched and that my capacity level was to the maximum.  I explained that I wanted to be involved and that I wanted to help in every way that I can but not without her realizing the additional responsibilities I was carrying on to make everything continue to run smoothly in the space and with the team.

It is really hard for me to ask for help or to say enough is enough because I have always been the do it all girl and do it the best that I can but to do that I was breaking my neck and ultimately making myself unhappy.  I can see now why my generation job hops so frequently (no I am not leaving my position because at the end of the day I love the company I work for, the team I work with, and the work that I do I find meaning).  But I just mean that it is easy for my generation to leave jobs for a better sounding one because of one little thing, that is not me and will never be me.  I still find a thrill in engaging projects it is just when I am doing tasks that don’t make me think or challenge me it is hard for me to stay engaged.

But what I found out was that my boss did realize how thin I was being stretched and knew she wasn’t using me the way she wanted to but because of the way our team is right now we have to chug along, we know we need additional resources but at this point it is about getting done what we can, doing the best we can, and understanding not everything is going to be perfect and that is okay.

I am really fortunate to have a manager who I can have open conversations with, not everyone feels that way so I know I am very lucky.  I am lucky to work for a company that gives me the opportunities like I have been given to date in my career, so early on.  I am looking forward to this next step in my career and how our team develops over time.  After that conversation with my manager, I no longer feel that I am heading towards a burn out, I just want to make sure that I am utilized to the best of my abilities because for me it is about challenging myself, if I am not challenged that is when burnout will happen for me.  I will gladly work on challenging problems until the sun comes up because I am engaged and excited about problem solving.

Has any other millenial felt this way?