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your emotional center caves in and you have nothing
left to give, you are suffering from…
on a workday morning and find you're unable to get
up or go back to sleep? You lie there a few moments
trying to remember what woke you. "The agency.
I have to go to the office. To heck with it. I'll
call in sick. Why can't I get sick like other people
One by one, you tick off
the important tasks: Getting the sales report ready;
account staff brainstorming; hoping you don't have
to deal with a specific client today; meeting with
that other important client; and finishing the proposal
before calling the new prospect.
Besides, if you miss today,
the stuff will just pile up. You'll have twice as
much to do tomorrow. You throw off the covers and
your day has begun.
You seek to splash the
lethargy away as you step into the shower, hoping
to rediscover your old, vital, energetic, smiling
self. But what finally leaves the house is an unsmiling
figure—bent, tired, lips and shoulders grimly
set to get through the day.
It's not going to be a
great day. It'll be irritating. There will be too
much work, too many interruptions, too many details,
and too few rewards. You may find yourself yelling
at your colleagues and even being short with your
clients. It'll be a day of fatigue, and at the end
of it, the long, dull evening stretches—what
is left of it, once you finally leave the office.
Just another day flowing into another.
Your family, friends and
associates have become flat and stale. Now that you've
gotten where you are, you begin to wonder what you've
really won—what all the fuss was about.
Does any of this produce
a shock of recognition? If you can put yourself in
this picture, you may be burned out. Well you wouldn't
Psychologists have been
telling us for years that burnout is common in the
workplace—among account executives, graphic
designers, and other industry professionals who become
so involved in advising others that they don't see
some important warning signs.
There are many signs of
impending burnout. Simply feeling fatigue does not
mean anything. If, however, you find you are suffering
from at least three of the following symptoms, you
may in the first stages of burnout.
Fatigue. You are aware
of a chronic tiredness that never seems to leave you.
The things you usually do to get over it just don’t
work. You take the weekend off, but still have to
drag yourself back to the office on Monday.
and Pains. You may have trouble with
lower back pain, or have more headaches, upset stomach.
You feel a general stiffness and tightness throughout
Self-Medication. You find yourself
taking more drugs and medicines in an effort to get
to Make Decisions. You wish you didn’t
have to decide anything. Even deciding where to go
for lunch seems to be overwhelming. You try to avoid
deciding anything—you are immobilized.
Harder to Keep Up.
Maybe if you push harder, you can catch up and get
some relief. Instead, this just makes it worse.
and Low Motivation. Nothing is happening
for you. Your job isn’t fun any more. It seems
you are doing the same things over and over and getting
nothing from them.
Time Away from the Office.
You need more days off. You often find yourself
running late for meetings. Maybe you forgot one or
two appointments. You are mentally absent—just
not plugged in.
Prone. Because you are not aware of
your physical surroundings, you bump into chairs and
tables or step on your dance partner’s toes
more than usual. You may become involved in an automobile
accident, or at least have a few near misses.
Your Sense of Humor. Things just don’t
seem funny any more. It’s difficult to see humor
in situations, especially when it’s about you.
You find yourself doing an inordinate amount of worrying
that something is going to happen. Something is going
to happen to your job, your marriage, your health.
Trapped. You feel more controlled
by your work and your family than fulfilled by it.
There are too many have-to’s and no time for
yourself. It feels like there is nothing you can do
about your condition.
of Failure. Feeling that somehow you
have failed yourself, or failed others. You are no
longer able to distinguish between failure and a lack
Guilt about not spending enough time with your family
or on all of the things that have to get done on your
job. You aren’t meeting your own expectations.
No matter what you choose, you feel guilty.
Self-Image. You don’t like being
who you are right now. Not only do you not like what
you see on the outside, but also you don’t like
what you are on the inside.
You don’t like people very much right now, any
more than they like you. So you cut off relationships,
even those that could sustain you.
and Griping. You find yourself doing
more and more complaining and grousing to the people
about what is happening in your world. You are very
and Resentment. You do more blaming.
You lose your cool a little more often. You feel resentful
about how life is treating you.
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