March 16, 2011, 5:00 am

Are You A Burnout?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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le penduI know I will upset a few people today. This is why I will make the statement up front like a bandaid that you rip off in one shot without hesitation:

I DON’T BELIEVE IN BURNOUT

50 years ago, most people were working physically. Then back pain was created and there were tons of people off work paid by disability insurance. I’m not saying that back pain doesn’t exist, it does. But there was a lot of abuse back then. This is the same thing happening today with burnout. I have the feeling that as soon as there is small pressure involve, we burnout. You go see the doctor, you take some pills, you get a few weeks off and all of a sudden, you are fragile and entitled to another burnout. Really?

Society seems to have accepted and almost glorified burnout. People who burn out are good people who were working too hard. People with great hearts and generous… too much of a great heart and too generous. Really? I don’t buy that. I think that people who burnout are people who let things get out of control. People who preferred complaining to acting.

Find a balance and do what you love – You will avoid burnout

I don’t sleep much, I work a lot at my day job and I run a business. On top of that, I am an involved father and husband and even find time to go golfing all summer long. Some people will tell me that I am about to burnout that it can happen to anybody and especially people like me. Well I tell them that burnout doesn’t exist!

What’s my secret? I do what I love and I have found the perfect balance in my life. I think that most people burnout because they either:

A) Do things they don’t like

B) Don’t have a balance between work, family, hobbies and time off

C) Most importantly; they keep complaining about their situation without caring to change anything

I think this is how you get to the burnout point and this is why I will never finish as a burnout; because I know when to work, when to have fun and when to stop.

Tricks to avoid burnout

How can you avoid something that doesn’t exist? It’s easy; you just refuse to CREATE IT! People create their own burnout like they would build a house. They start with a solid foundation (not liking what they do in life) and add storeys (by not liking their work, their relationships, their habits) and finish with a solid roof to protect themselves (they convince themselves that they can’t do anything, that this is life).

The trick to avoid burnout is simple: do what you love. I already hear you telling me that it’s easier said than done, that some people don’t have a choice and blah blah blah. To those people, I will tell them to read a very old post I wrote when I quit my first job with no experience, no money and no backup plan behind me. Everything is possible, trust me.

Another of my tricks to avoid burnout is to take time off as soon as I feel tired. I take days off work, I stop writing on my blogs for a few days, I open my Playstation or I go hit a few balls at the driving range. Anything to prevent me from thinking about my day-to-day; about what isn’t going right at the moment. Then, when I come back to reality, I take action and do something to make it right.

If I have to leave you with something today, here it is:

Burnout doesn’t exist, you are the only one who can create it!

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Comments

I definitely agree with you!
“The trick to avoid burnout is simple: do what you love.”
– This reasoning holds for school also. I too often hear students at university complaining on work load, teachers, workloads etc. but that is simply because they don’t study what they like. They are often studying something for the quest of money or simply because their parents told them that this what they should study for a good future…
– good post Mike!

Sweet post and exactly what I believe as well. Many people are SOFTIES today compared to what can be. You look at people in other countries, doing manual labour, living off a handful of corn a day, a few sips of dirty water, and you see how easy we have it. Around here, burnout and stress are created in people’s minds, just like you said.

Amen Brother!

Sorry, but you sound just as bad as Tom Cruise declaring that mental illness doesn’t exist and people just need to get a grip.

I’m happy for you that you’ve never suffered burnout and that you’ve had the freedom to make certain changes in your life, but that’s not true for everyone. I don’t disagree that a LOT of people are milking it … a lot of people have only themselves to blame. But that’s not everyone.

And quite frankly I don’t think intolerance on either end of the spectrum is reasonable or smart.

by: The Financial Blogger | March 16th, 2011 (1:37 pm)

@KH,

Comparing me to Tom Cruise is a bit pushing it, don’t you think?

The only person who can change something in your life is yourself, no one else. I don’t beleive that “life is the way it is”. I think that life is the way you make it. I’ve made tough decisions in the past and I’ve suffered to consequences as well. But, at any time, I was able to make decisions.

I might be a bit intolerant, you are right. It may be because I’ve never been closed to a burnout…. but I don’t see how this could happen on the other side…

Cheers,

Mike.

I agree that burnout only exists because one does nothing about their situation. I totally enjoy what I am doing, however there are times when I face obstacles or other problems! It is like anything you must take action to resolve it. If I didn’t i would fail not burnout!.

Funny… As I was reading this post and reading that “burn outs didn’t exist” I thought to myself that the only w ay to avoid burnouts was to do something you loved, then I read the same thing! 🙂

I also think balance is important. You must be able to balance your obligations with some fun every now and then. I think Tim Ferris from “The 4 hout Work Week” said it best – take mini-vacations throughout the year not one long vacation.

It creates balance and allows you to unwind and refresh. Great post.

I see parallels between burnouts and [romantic] relationships gone bad.

So from my perspective this is a bit like saying that bad relationships don’t exist. Or that to avoid bad relationships, you simply need to refuse to create them. Or that you can fix any relationship by changing something. This may be theoretically true but it’s not very realistic.

It is likely that burnout would never have happened if instead of being in love with your work you simply “had an arrangement” and “didn’t really have a commitment”. In short burnouts, like broken hearts, are more likely to happen to idealists than realists.

Great freakin’ post! I am currently in a mid career crisis at the moment. I love that I am able to help people being a physician, but as you can read in the news or gather from talking with any physician, the liability and stress attached to the job can take a toll on anyone. I also own my own business (outside of medicine), and I freakin’ love it! Very much considering to do it full time. We’ll see what I decide in the near future. Love the article, and keep stuff like this coming! Take care.

by: The Financial Blogger | March 17th, 2011 (8:21 am)

@Early Retirement Extreme,

I really like your parallels with relationships gone bad! I guess the whole principle of “not letting things go” can be applied on many aspect of your life!

It’s so important to schedule time in for oneself on a regular basis. Waiting for the next “big time off,” creates a dichotomy that’s hard to sustain…its you vs. your job or your sucky job vs. your freedom and that just wears us out when we can’t even find little regular bits of happiness and satisfaction when doing things on a daily basis.

I am busier than I have ever been and was feeling quite downtrodden about my graduate school program. I asked my mentor what to do- he relayed the same message: “Schedule properly.” For me, treating school like a job and “clocking out,” for some personal time has made even the doldrums of graduate work that can sometimes be overwhelming less of a chore. Even if you’re just using your job/schooling as a key to a better life and more freedom temporarily, you don’t have to build an animosity towards it- just find some balance! Get through the cr*ppy stuff with the goal in mind (stick to it) and know that it doesn’t have to consume your life!

Doing what you love can be overwhelming if there is no balance. So to me, your post is pretty complete! There were times in my life as well when I told myself “do something or you’ll get sick” and guess what? I did something! And guess what? Never had a burnout… Maybe the thing is sometimes we don’t realize we are letting things go…

[…] Financial Blogger talks about: Are You a Burnout? (I already tweeted this early in the […]

I get a different take-away from your post. Not that burnout doesn’t exist, it obviously does. Rather, it is easily curable.

I was burned out, not from stress at all, but from boredom. I had a wonderful job that I loved–so there’s the “do what you love” part. But believe me, after 18 years of it, it becomes mind-numbingly boring.

So I cured the burnout–I retired. There, burnout cured!

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