By Linda G. Ritchie, Ph.D.
The atmosphere of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent times. Finding personal fulfillment through our work has become more of a challenge. Progressive occupational stress leading to job burnout has become a painful reality for many people. This is especially true during times of high unemployment when the workers who are still employed are expected to carry to load of those who are no longer with the company.
Experiencing job burnout can be an awful experience. After all, many of us spend most of our waking hours on the job – more hours, in fact, than we spend with our families and friends. When this enormous part of our lives becomes so stressful, along with worry, self-esteem issues, anger, depression and withdrawal, a major personal crisis is generated. Our first impulse is to deny that job stress is finally getting the best of us. We persevere and keep doing the same things every day, working even harder as if that might be the answer to finding relief. But the cycle is futile. More work is not going to alleviate the problem of working too hard and it further depletes our emotional reserves
Think of a burnout crisis as a gift, one that helps inform us that something is out of kilter in our lives and we must look deeper within to find answers to its resolution. Without the burnout crisis, we may never feel prompted to finally answer some critical questions about our lives.
o What am I trying to accomplish with my work life?
o What are my key interests and does my work fit with them?
o What are my key skills and does my work use them?
o What are my core values about life balance, about family, about money, about the treatment of people? Is my work in synch with these?
o Am I overworking? If so, why?
o Where is the balance in my life between work and play?
o What does work accomplish for me and what is it preventing me from accomplishing?
While these are questions that everyone grappling with occupational stress should reflect on, we often don’t have the self-discipline and structure to sufficiently explore them. A trained professional can offer a very focused exploration of work life issues which can enable you to get your work life stress sorted out and back to thriving in your chosen work and in your life.
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