Sometimes, having a job is not all it’s cracked up to be. Just look at the findings of ComPsych’s survey of 2,000 employees. It reports more workers than ever claiming signs of job burnout.
According to the survey by the Chicago-based employee assistance program provider, one in four employees reports their toughest challenge is just being present at work these days.
Nearly two out of three employees report high levels of stress with extreme fatigue and a feeling of being out of control while about half of all workers say they take off one to two days annually because of stress.
“We’re seeing a growing trend of employee burnout,” says ComPsych chief executive Richard Chaifetz. “It’s a product of the sputtering economy – companies continue to be slow to hire, and prolonged employee stress invariably turns into decreased performance, unfortunately.”
Certainly many workers today are feeling the impacts of reduced staffing levels or hiring freezes in a struggling economy. But even increased workloads and other demands are scarcely as traumatic as feeling trapped in a job with nowhere to go.
It’s a fact that job mobility has been restricted by the current economy. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the median job tenure for all workers 25 years old and older was 5.4 years, compared to just 4.7 years a decade earlier.
And, while that might not seem like a big jump, it’s significant because of how it affects the individual psyche of workers. If you have a job you don’t like, it’s easier to handle it if you know you can find another job or transfer to another position with your current employer. Take away that option and workers often feel trapped in their jobs.
If you think you are suffering job burnout, here are five ways to make constructive steps to climb out of that:
Try to identify what it is about your job that is so stressful. You may be able to handle it better if you know what your triggers are and how to recognize them. A slight change of attitude toward these stressors can go a long way toward piece of mind.
Get physical. Exercise can work wonders. If you have an on-site gym, use it regularly. At the very least, use it when you feel stress building up. Even a long walk on your lunch break can help you clear stress and return refreshed.
Find an escape. Hobbies are great relievers of stress. Paying close attention to anything other than your job is a wonderful escape from the stress of work. Make sure to shut down your cell phone and eliminate other distractions when you engage in your hobby.
Plan a vacation. Even making plans for a two- or three-day getaway can make you feel like you have more control over your job. The anticipation of the trip and the visualization of things you don’t get to do in your day-to-day existence is remarkably calming.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. If you just feel the stress building toward your breaking point, discuss it with a friend or seek counseling. An outside perspective can often be beneficial to defusing the threat of stress buildup, but you have to open up to someone first.
All jobs have built-in stress, but it’s how you handle that stress that prevents burnout, Chaifetz says.