Monthly Archives: September 2008

Don’t Quit Like This: 3 Ways Not to End a Job

Leaving a job can be stressful for anyone, whether you’re pursuing another opportunity or leaving for personal reasons. But, taking the right steps when you quit can make the transition from one job to another smoother for both you, your career, and your employer. Here are three real-life scenarios where individuals left their jobs in less than ideal conditions. How do you think they could have handled the situation better? We’ll provide you with tips on how to effectively handle quitting a job in part 2 of this series.

Leaving without a plan. Ray felt stuck in his job and had been searching for something else for months but to no avail. He didn’t enjoy his work, received little help from his co-workers, and was stressed to the max. After being away from the office for a few days due to a family emergency, he called in on the day he was to return and gave his notice. He decided not to go back to work but didn’t have any interviews lined up either. He’s still struggling to find a job months later, and he’s running out of money.

Jumping ship without notice. Jessie worked for an acquaintance for several years in a position with no room for advancement. When she found another opportunity that provided benefits, better pay, and career potential, she jumped at the chance. But as a conflict-avoider, she didn’t want to face her boss and tell him she was quitting. So, she simply never returned to work and ignored his phone calls. She already had another job and wasn’t worried about it.

Quitting out of anger. Greg was a strong performer at work, constantly completing projects early, helping others with their work, and moving up within the company. But he had a hot temper, and one day, a co-worker made a remark about his work that offended Greg, who didn’t give his co-worker the opportunity to clarify the comment. An argument began and quickly escalated. Greg was so angry he collected his things, told his supervisor he quit, and walked out the door.

Have you left a job in one of these ways? If so, what happened? How has it affected you or your job search? Did you jeopardize your career, ruin your chances at another opportunity, or lose a reference? Let us know in the comments section below. In part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss effective ways to give your notice.

Job Burnout: Part 4 – Beating Job Burnout

We know what job burnout is and what causes it. So if you recognize that you’re in that state, you can finally address your situation. Try using these tips to help you break away from burnout.

Avoid boredom – Jobs and tasks can get boring after awhile if you let them. If a job offers little challenge or becomes incredibly uninteresting after a while, job burnout can set in. To combat this, talk to your boss about a possible role rotation or for new assignments and responsibilities. Also, put the monotonous tasks together and get them out of the way at the beginning of the day. This will free up the rest of the day for you to do things you enjoy working on, as well as prevent the constant dread of anticipating the unwanted tasks.

Don’t overwork – People who have a tough time saying “no” to anything work-related leave themselves exposed to the threat of job burnout. Although you try to project the sense that you’re a team player and take on others tasks, you can quickly begin to feel like a doormat being stepped on. It’s OK to help a colleague when the need arises, but learn to say “no” when you need to so your workload is manageable.

Leave work at the office – Bringing the stresses of work back home only compounds your problems. Take your time away from the office to recharge your mind and focus attaining on a great work-life balance – especially on the relationships closest to you. Joining a community organization or increasing your social life can help offset the constant worries at work.

Exercise and stay healthy – You may wonder why your health is a concern for your work-life, but a major sign of job burnout is chronic fatigue. Exercise and a healthy diet will help you keep your energy supply ample while making it through another day.

Take a vacation – Sometimes the best remedy is to just get away from the work scene for awhile, so remove yourself completely from it. Take a trip if you can afford it, or go on your own “stay-cation.” Everyone – from the president of a company to a secretary to someone who’s self-employed – needs a little time away from work.

Make a career change – If you are truly feeling miserable and everything that you’ve tried has only been a quick fix, realize it may be time for a change. You don’t have to be stuck in a rut at the same job. A career change – or simply switching departments within the same company – can infuse you with new vigor. If you simply don’t know where to start, try a staffing agency. Through taking a variety of temporary assignments, you can experience different fields of work. And if you do find a job you like, many temporary positions lead to permanent work.

Though it may seem impossible to escape burnout, try using these tips and see what happens. Make the effort now to get out of job burnout, and you’ll be happier and healthier sooner than you think.

Job Burnout: Part 3 – Signs and Symptoms

Do you know your burnout level or if you’re in danger of job burnout. The impact to job burnout can grow exponentially and burn you out well before you realize it. By knowing the signs and symptoms in advance of burnout, you can avoid or prevent further damage.

Stress vs. Burnout
While unrelenting stress can contribute to burnout, stress alone isn’t the same as burnout. To be able to tackle your misery head on, it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two to identify if you’re experiencing job burnout or just stress.

With stress, there is an overwhelming feeling and an inability to cope. Stress primarily deals with “too much” – too much piled on, too much to do, too much to handle. The effects of stress often lead to psychological and physical issues, such as heart problems and high blood pressure.

On the other hand, job burnout is about “not enough.” As a result of unrelenting stress, someone burned out feels empty, has little to no motivation, and simply doesn’t care. The effects of burnout translate to emotional issues, such as apathy and depression.

One important difference between job burnout and stress is that you’re usually aware of stressful situations, but job burnout can be present for weeks or months before you notice it. When experiencing workplace stress, you tend to care too much, but with burnout, there is a constant pessimistic attitude. This is usually how you can differentiate a few bad workdays from job burnout.

Causes of Professional Burnout
Constant stress isn’t the only attributing factor to job burnout. When you dealt with stress in school, friends were readily available and “the light at the end of the tunnel” (graduation) was always in sight. In the professional world, the next step is hard to visualize. Unrealistic goals – whether set by you or by others – and the inability to constantly achieve them can result in job burnout. Even if employees enjoy the work that they do, they’re at risk when they feel underappreciated and underpaid. Matters out of their control also cause professional burnout including – being pushed around by the office bully, undermined by co-workers, or micromanaged by your boss.

Though these factors can contribute to burnout, there’s no one combination. It’s different for everyone. However, there are some tried and true solutions for dealing with it. Don’t miss our next post to learn more.

Job Burnout: Part 2 – 12 Questions to Diagnose Burnout

Job burnout can be hard to handle. Not only is it emotionally exhausting, it can impact your health and performance as well. So, how do you know when it’s the real deal? Ask yourself the following questions to find out.

  • Are you more cynical, negative, critical, or sarcastic at work?
  • Do you have to drag yourself to work and have trouble starting once you get there?
  • Do you lack the energy to stay consistently productive?
  • Do you no longer feel satisfaction from your achievements or do you question the value of the tasks that you perform?
  • Are you feeling under-compensated for your work?
  • Are you disillusioned about your career?
  • Are you constantly fatigued?
  • Do you lose your temper easily?
  • Are you thinking about a career change?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed most of the time?
  • Do you feel like you have little or no control over things at work or at home?
  • Are you just “going through the motions” to get through your shift?

If you’ve answered yes to four or more of the questions, chances are, you’re bound for job burnout if you’re not already there. In our next blog, we’ll discuss tactics to avoid and deal with professional burnout.

Job Burnout: Part 1 – Defining Job Burnout

The alarm rings again, and you fight to not hit snooze one more time. You’re dreading another day doing the same old thing at the same old job. Have you been finding it harder and harder to drag yourself out of bed and have the energy to go to work? At some point, most people – in every level of a company from a receptionist to a CEO or owner – find themselves victims of job burnout.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”

The term job burnout is described as an emotional burnout experienced in a job or career-path. Sufferers of job burnout can experience chronic anxiety, depression, prolonged stress, lack of motivation, and/or hopelessness – among other serious problems. It’s important to deal with job burnout not just because of your personal happiness, but for your career and financial future as well.

Are you headed for job burnout?  The next post can help you determine if you should be alarmed.

New on the Job and Have Extra Time to Kill?

When you first start a job, you may be anxious to prove that you’ve earned your spot and want to work hard to earn more responsibility. You might even find that you complete your initial tasks quickly and have a lot of spare time on your hands. When that happens, what should you do? Do you sit back and wait for your next project, slow down your pace so it takes you longer to finish, or ask for something new to do? If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are three ways you can effectively use your time at work and prove yourself at your new job.

Offer to help others. If you have some extra time here and there but aren’t consistently without work to do, start by asking if your teammates need help when you find yourself between assignments. You may not know all of the details of the project they’re working on, but you can help out with other tasks, such as filing, answering the phone, or assisting customers, which will give them more time to work on their bigger projects.

Ask for more responsibilities. If you constantly find yourself with extra time on your hands and you’re already comfortable with your initial projects, it may be time to ask for more responsibility. Talk to your supervisor about other tasks or assignments that you could take on as your own. Make sure to discuss how much time you could devote to a new project, what skills you could develop or improve on, and how the team could benefit from you taking on new projects.

Study up. If you’re not quite ready for a new responsibility and your co-workers don’t always have work to share, use your spare time to increase your knowledge of the company and industry you’re working in. If you have access to the internet, you can research the latest news on your company. You can also participate in training the company offers. Learn as much as you can, and pick up as many skills as possible that will help you in your day-to-day job and give you an edge over your competition.

Starting a new job is exciting, but the excitement can quickly wear off if you’re bored or not stimulated at work. Use your enthusiasm to help you improve your skills and further your knowledge by using the most of your downtime at your new job. Don’t waste your time – it will pay off when you earn the respect of your team.

Workplace Goofs

Everyone has done or said something at work at one point that has either made them laugh out loud or turn red from embarrassment. Have you fallen down the stairs in front of your CEO, walked out of the bathroom with tissue stuck to your shoe, or accidentally eaten someone else’s lunch? Or know someone who has? How did you react? We want to hear your stories, so share your or your co-worker’s workplace blunders with us in the comments section below. Then, we’ll feature the top five comments in a future blog post with tips on how to handle the situation.