There are countless times in my career that I can recall a job mentally crushing me and all I had to offer.
The sound of the alarm, no matter the time, would feel like a 4 a.m. wakeup call from a drill sergeant, perhaps named Burt, yelling “wake the hell up!”
I would mutter some very unkind words to my alarm clock, or “Burt,” and drag myself out of bed wishing that me whining as an adult about not wanting to go to work would be as cute as it is when a five year old doesn’t want to go to daycare—(humph, little do they know that daytime naps will be a thing of the past and they actually have it made.)
But, I digress.
The sound of the alarm got to me. Not because my bed was super comfy or I was extremely tired, but it signified a wakeup call: I just didn’t like my job anymore. It’s great to be the go-to person, which many of us are. When you build a strong personal brand everyone wants to work with you, talk to you, and get the answers from you. It can be both a good and bad thing.
The good thing is that your name is golden. It’s easy to get answers because people actually like you. They’ll go out of their way more for you than the “other one” in your department they can’t stand. They know that you’re the best. The bad thing is that often being good comes with nothing more than just the fact that you’re good—and your reward is more work.
It’s frustrating because you’re always the one expected to save the day when sometimes you just want to be saved. Or you work with a bunch of morons who are excused for their lack of common sense because everyone knows that they don’t have any to begin with. Yet, you’re not allowed to mess up or be human.
Throughout my career, the honeymoon always ended like a brutal divorce leaving me mentally exhausted with not much left to show of the once amicable beginnings. Some of the honeymoons lasted longer than others. But it was inevitable that the “issues” would pop up eventually. Crazy boss? Check. Competitive coworker? Check. Haters? Check. Salary discrepancies bigger than Kim Kardashian’s man made booty? Check.
If this sounds familiar, here lies the real issue: Your job is putting you in soldier mode and every day is a battle. There comes a time when you have to take a step back and shout back at Burt. “No, I will not be your bitch,” or however you choose to address him.
Who is Burt? The butt kicker.
You see, it’s not your alarm that’s the problem. It’s him (whatever issues Burt represents.) He’s the one you dread facing each morning when it’s time to start a new day. It could be that you’re no longer challenged, fighting with your coworkers, or just struggling to prove to your clueless manager that you deserve to be paid fairly. All the fighting is taking a toll on you.
And it needs to stop.
Your sanity is more important than any fight you may win or lose. Look out for signs that you need to take a step back. It may show up initially in small forms like having continuous bad days that you need to “sleep off.” But then it can easily get bigger and bigger. You may start internalizing your day because you’re tired of complaining, stop going to the gym because you can’t gather enough energy to do anything more than decide on which two cupcakes you’re going to eat before going to bed (yes, I speak from experience), or lash out at the people you actually care for because you’re tired of being tired.
Now, I’m definitely not holding a cupcake intervention, but we all can agree that these are never good signs—and it can possibly affect your health.
It’s so easy to drown in the vortex of negativity, especially if you’re surrounded by it every day—even worse when it trickles into your home life. A toxic relationship of any kind will make you drag not only in the morning, but in all areas of your life. Taking the time to purge toxic energy is just as important part as building your career.
Instead of focusing on what’s not going right in your career, see what you can do about taking action towards making it better. Sometimes it may mean it’s time to “divorce” your job. Or sometimes it may mean that you need to work on you. It’s easy to lose yourself when battling a negative situation.
Rediscover what makes you tick. Think about your strengths and how you can do more to focus on those qualities rather than your burnout attributes (the skills that you’re good at, but take a lot of energy from you as well.) For example, you may be great with numbers, but the thought of staring at a spreadsheet all day makes you want to throw yourself down the stairs as a welcomed distraction; this would qualify as a burnout skill.
Is the root of your unhappiness coming from not doing what you like or not liking your circumstances? Once you can pinpoint what’s making you drag, literally and metaphorically, you can work on ways to make it better.
Don’t be Burt’s bitch. Here’s to pleasant mornings waking up without him.
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