Get Me Outta Here! I’m Feeling Trapped and Defeated

In today’s workplace we are faced with uncertainty.  People are feeling the burn.  From the North American Workplace Survey, half of employees feel overworked and burnt out.  Economic variables, work overload, and the 64% of managers who expect their staff to be “on” and “available” after hours has increased everyone’s stress levels.  Disruptive or harassing co-workers also give rise to people disliking their work environment, or providing more fuel when considering leaving their job for another.

What are the signs when we are experiencing burn out? What causes it, and why is important to recognize the signs? Finally, how do we keep motivated, engaged and productive in a fitful movement of the workplace?

Four Discoveries That Affect Your Happiness and Health

Signs of Burnout

  • Fatigue
  • Disinterest in work
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Cynicism
  • Emotionally drained
  • Feeling increasingly helpless & hopeless
  • Unable to meet constant demands
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleep disruption
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach ailments
  • Headaches
  • Excessive and prolonged stress

Recognizing signs that you are in an unpleasant work environment, headed down a path of unhealthy living, or even symptoms of depression, can ward off further health conditions or prevent a breakdown.

Causes of Burnout

  • Unclear expectations
  • Lack of control
  • Lack of direction
  • Dysfunctional work group or team dynamics
  • Chaos and work overload
  • Boredom or monotony
  • Imbalanced work-life mode
  • Unmatched personal values to employer values

A variety of factors cause us to lose our positive attitude or productive edge.  Know that when you don’t have the energy to perform at peak levels, you can burn out quickly. Without supportive relationships, harboring feelings of self-doubt and failure worsen as times goes by.

Risk & Results of Burnout

  • Intolerance with co-workers
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Loss of motivation
  • Monotonous or habitual actions
  • Complacency; lack of creative team or organizational contribution
  • Excessive stress
  • Spillover from work to your personal life
  • Anxiety
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol

Health issues are often a result of job burnout and overwork.  Learn and know your trigger points, and understand when you need to take a break.  Don’t ignore any warning signs or symptoms.

Handling Job Burnout

  • Self-assessment of your stressors
  • Consideration of your true passions & interests
  • Take a walk
  • Increase your support network
  • Eliminate stress where possible
  • Engage in exercise
  • Check your attitude
  • Does your current job still match your skills & talents?
  • Get more rest

Consider options in managing your work and personal life.  We don’t have to “be the best at everything”.  Take care of yourself, especially if you are a caregiver, or in the healthcare, education, emergency responder or justice profession, these are demanding roles.  When you take care of you, it creates the best version of yourself.  If you are performing at your best, you can more easily see the best in others.  Make adjustments to your life if necessary and find ways to cope with job stress and feelings of burnout.  Demanding too much on yourself mentally and physically reduces your chance of a happy, healthy life.  Feeling little or no control over your work has significant consequences. If life seems overwhelming and bleak, your stress seems insurmountable; you may want to give up.  Find the energy to care, take small actions that make a difference in relieving life’s demands, and begin to find a reasonable balance between your personal and work life.  Seek social interaction. Re-frame your job responsibilities, re-evaluate priorities or seek professional help.  Once you feel hopeful again, your emotional, mental and physical exhaustion can be diminished, and the power of recovery can be within reach.

©Karen Casanovas, Senior Associate for The Growth Company. Share your management advice or direct questions to  For more information or leadership training courses: or follow her @KarenCasanovas, @thegrowcomp, or follow TGC on Facebook: TheGrowthCompany, Inc. Ms. Casanovas also posts organizational strategies, communication and conflict solutions on:

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