Is it Temporary Unhappiness or Complete Job Burnout?

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Every job or career option looks more glamorous from the outside than it does from the inside.

Only when you are actually involved in carrying out the day to day responsibilities, the true nature of the work is revealed. The world tends to show us success at the pinnacle rather than the struggle to achieve every inch of ground on the way up. It makes a more popular story.

Reality can be a bit discouraging, but that's not necessarily a reason to throw in the towel. Still, there is no glory in being a martyr and enduring a job you've clearly outgrown or that no longer brings you fulfillment.

How can you tell if you're experiencing normal job angst or actually suffering from job burnout?

Here are six clues:


You no longer find satisfaction in completing your tasks

Your job should always be a challenge to you, but in a good way. If you no longer see a new exciting goal on the horizon, find satisfaction in completing your daily tasks, or find meaning & purpose in what you do, you may have outgrown your job.

When every day looks exactly like the one before and the future looks like more of the same, it's definitely time to shake things up. This could be an expansion of your present job responsibilities, changing positions within your organization or it could mean seeking something new and different somewhere else.

Don't allow yourself to settle into a thirty-year rut. Doing so will have negative impact on your mental, emotional and even physical well-being.

You dread Monday mornings

If the very thought of waking up on Monday morning starts your head pounding, sinks you in depression or gets your heart racing towards a heart attack, it's time to re-evaluate.

Instead of ignoring your feelings and growing numb to the situation, you can use this discomfort to re-evaluates yourself and your career path.  Take stock on your skills, talents, interests and values to see which direction do they point toward.  Then slowly start to explore new possible opportunities in that direction.

The feeling of dread today will result in feelings of regret somewhere down the road when you look back at your career path and see all the missed opportunities. 

Your job situation is starting to impact your other life areas

You should expect temporary dips in mood, lack of enthusiasm and momentary disinterest in your work.  That is normal. Not every day will be a beautiful and joyful day at work.  But when this becomes a trend and these feeling become constant, and most importantly they start to permeate the other aspects of your life, then its time to seek a solution.

When your energy and enthusiasm for life have waned, it's a red flag to indicate something is wrong. Constant exhaustion, depression and loss of interest are glaring signs of burnout. Noticing the negative impact of this on your family, relationships, or attitude and energy outside of work is warning sign that something needs to change.

Don't blame outside forces for something you have control over. Be the master of your own destiny. Find whatever it is that lights a fire inside of you and start to slowly move toward it.

You are no longer motivated to do a good job

Are your best efforts no longer the best you can give? Are you just doing the minimum possible to get by? Are you just putting in the required hours in order to get a paycheck?

If you can see your job performance slipping and you simply can’t find the motivation to improve, it's a safe bet your boss and co-workers see it as well. Don't wait for someone else to tell you it's time for a change.

If a little time off will help you recharge and recoup then make sure to ask for it. If deep down inside you know the time off will not help you, maybe it time to find something new you can put your heart and soul into and happily give it everything you've got.

Your job is the only thing that gives your life purpose and meaning

If your work and job performance have become an obsession for you, one you can't shake even during your supposed down time, your brain may be starting to fry. Life is not about work.  To have a great life experience you need to pay attention to and nurture other aspects of your life as well.

It is healthier to take a whole life approach and make time for yourself, your family and the other interests you have.

When you can't shake the demands of the job, when your whole life revolves around your work, you are right on course for eventual burnout.

Your career path was imposed on you by someone else

If you are living out someone else's dream job or following the path set out for you by someone else, you are probably going to go down in flames rather than rise up in glory. Everyone has their own interests, passion and unique abilities. When you are constantly asked to do tasks or work on projects that are not aligned with who you are and what you truly want, you will be in constant pain.

It may take a few false starts to find your true calling. If you recognize that you're living by a different playbook than the one that sends a spark through your soul, you are doing yourself a disservice to ignore the warning signs.


Passion and enthusiasm for your job or career is a noble and necessary cause to pursue. It can lead you to achieve your highest potential and bring you ample success and satisfaction. Temporary setbacks and occasional dips in mood or motivation are a normal part of any job and a career and need not be a cause for concern.

But be careful. Burnout is tricky. Burnout can slowly sneak up on you. You need to be aware and mindful of the subtle signs because burnout is both a symptom and a diagnosis. It's vital to recognize burnout for what it is quickly and deal with it in a productive manner.


By Rafael Tomik – Career Transition Coach –


Book your FREE Career Clarity/Planning session with me. My favorite thing to do is solve challenges, eliminate overwhelm and simplify the processes of career transition. In our session together we look at new possibilities and opportunities, what's working and not working, obstacles holding you back or any questions & concerns that you may have. Then we create a 3-step plan that you can use to move forward with more knowledge and confidence. To book a clarity session Click here.

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