Work burn-out: Fighting this phantom menace

I guess all of us experienced, at times, an emptiness which threatens to destroy our neat concept of ourselves and the world. This emptiness is not defined simply by the absence of purpose or the lack of interest in anything (or the apparent interest in everything), although this appears to be a manifestation of such mind-numbing state. We stop caring about anything and focus on that ever-increasing lump of inexplicable emotions weighing down our chests. What’s frustrating about it is not just the huge amount of energy needed to get out of this vicious cycle, but the inability to put a finger on what exactly it is.

Burn-out. It defies definition. It sucks you into an indecipherable mess, and the more you thrash about, the more you sink into that nothingness, where you recognize so little, if none at all, of what it is. This would relatively be alright if you’re single, with no kids and wife to think about. But it does happen even to the best of us. Here are some of my thoughts on how to fight work burn-out.

There’s more to life than work. Ok, you’re a workaholic like me. When I was rushed to the hospital (rather, I rushed myself to the hospital), I realized that what they’ve been saying is true – no dying person ever wished to have spent more time at the office (but I never regretted having spent that much time at the office). Have other interests other than work or business, which could be your family, a hobby, favorite pastime, organization or anything else – except your work. Excessive work, without perspective and a healthy dose of breaks, will burn you out. You need a healthy “distraction” in moderation. So little time. So many things to do. So many places to go. Life is short and we only live once. Don’t waste it.

Take a break. Even a machine breaks down without regular maintenance checks. Go on vacation. Go to Boracay or the nearest beach. If you can take a break with your kids around, bring them to Enchanted Kingdom or Ocean Park. Or you could just spend the whole time at home updating your blog, unless your dayjob is blogging. The important thing is to take your mind off work. This is almost impossible, I know, but you have to do it. Take a break, yes, but don’t give up.

Find someone you can trust. You don’t really know who to trust in the office. What you said may and will be used against you (sounds like the police, huh?). So, while you may trust your officemates with your work-related deepest secrets, you must have an external person to whom you can bare all, figuratively speaking (or otherwise).

Go soul-searching. Decide what you want in life. More money? More time with your family? Do you prefer spending time on the field rather than in an office? Do you like to volunteer and help others? You decisions will be easier if you know what you want.

Have fun; be happy; cut clean. Still, after all the soul-searching in Boracay and you’re still in a rut, there’s something awfully wrong. If you’re no longer happy with your work, what’s the sense of making your life miserable? Get out while you still have the dignity. Move on, but cut cleanly. Unless you relocate to some distant corner of the earth, you will definitely bump into your former boss, partner or officemate. It’s a small world. Don’t burn bridges.

Pray. This sounds funny to many (it would, in fact, have sounded really funny to me years ago). Prayer gives you strength, plus it puts you in meditation. This should be on top of the list, but, unfortunately, this is the last one I did (just like in this article). I should have prayed first. Don’t make the same mistake.

Simple and common sense tips; difficult to follow.

One comment

  1. I would love to take a break but work won’t let me. Now I’m sick and there is a possibility that I won’t get regularized because I’ve been sick twice. Oh well…

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