What if it's More Than Burnout?

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

If your job is overwhelming, you might feel exhausted, depressed or anxious. You might attribute these feelings to job burnout, which can be caused by overwork or stress. But what if these feelings stem from work-related trauma? What if these feelings are a result of some deeper underlying situation you might be experiencing at work?

Work-related trauma can occur if you have a bad boss and feel constantly berated and devalued as an employee. Some even refer to it as post-traumatic stress disorder. Whether you realize it or not, bad situations at work and can result in anger, trouble sleeping, depression, disconnection and physical ailments. For example, if you work for a nonprofit company or a business that tries to impart social change such as helping poor, sick or elderly people or assisting needy children, pets or others who are experiencing hardship or pain, the constant roadblocks or failures may outweigh the successes and bring you down and might make you feel depressed.

How to Combat Work-Related Trauma

One of the ways you can combat work-related trauma is by seeking support at work. Some companies may have programs that can help you cope with difficult emotional situations. But what if your company doesn't have anything formal in place? Chances are, if your co-workers face many of the same situations as you, they might also be experiencing work-related trauma. Consider relying on each other for support. Organize meetings where you can talk about your shared experiences and what is worrying you. Sometimes, just talking with someone else who knows what you're feeling can make you feel better.

When you work in social-impact organizations, it can seem like there's a lot of red tape stopping you from helping others, or maybe the people you are trying to help are the ones standing in your way. Rather than focus on the negatives, try to see the positives. You most likely enjoy what you do or you wouldn't be trying to help people, and you probably wouldn't work in your field. Think of the good aspects of your job, such as the times when you achieve success and are able to help those in need. While in your group meetings, try to brainstorm at how you can be a positive influence in the lives of those around you and how you can continue to help the people your organization serves.

Job burnout is common among people who are overworked and stressed. If you're feeling something more severe, it may be more than burnout. To deal with work-related trauma, use self-coping mechanisms, and rely on those around you for support. If your company doesn't offer a wellness plan, speak to your coworkers, and don't be afraid to ask them for support and encouragement.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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