Battling Burnout

Burn Out, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikecogh.Are you feeling burned out by your career — even if you’ve only been at it for a few years? A month or so ago a reader sent me a link to this article on career burnout for the under 30 set, and it seemed to generate a lot of discussion on Twitter/Facebook — and my link last Friday to the Men’s Health article on how to recognize and cure career fatigue (including some, er, interesting advice, such as “get laid more”) seemed to generate even more discussion. So let’s talk about this — have you felt burned out? What have you done to correct the issue, if anything? We’ve talked about this a bit before in my post about how I got my own groove back after feeling out of sync with my career and life, but let’s discuss more today. (Pictured: Burn Out, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikecogh.)

If your career exhausts you, here are some of my top tips to help start the journey back from burnout…

1) Recognize that your job is not your career, and your career is not your life.  This is a mantra I repeat to myself sometimes when I’m feeling burned out.  Whatever you’re doing right now, it’s just a job — maybe it’s a piece in your overall career, maybe not.  And if you’re really depressed, remember — neither your job nor your career are your life.  Still, try to see the value in your current job.  For example, it helps you meet your financial obligations.  At least ten other people would be thrilled to have it.  You’d be even more depressed if you were out of work.

2) If your job is the problem… Figure out what about your job bores you or makes you unhappy.  Is it a personality conflict?  A particular task that you dread?  Or are you just not excited by anything you do?  If you can narrow down what stinks, it helps you assess what you need to do to make it better.  Would a new job help matters?  Or can you reconnect with this job in a way that would excite you, such as by taking on new responsibilities or working with different people?  You can also revamp your routine, restyle your office, or reengage with your profession again, as I’ve advised before.

3) If your career is the problem… Advice I’ve gotten myself (and agree with) is that you don’t get to say your career is the problem until you’ve held at least 2 or 3 jobs in your career.  Maybe that’s more than you want to invest in a career that you know is wrong for you, but — particularly if you have spent money on education for this career — then you owe it to yourself to try other aspects of the career.  If you’re absolutely, definitely sure it’s your overall profession that’s making you unhappy, figure out what you need to take the next step towards Plan B.

4) If you know what Plan B is… start moving towards it.  Start meeting people.  Come up with an action plan.  What’s the next step?  Is it another degree?  A new job?  A “bridge” job?  One friend knew she wanted to leave the law and work in public relations, and she found her first job doing public relations for a law firm.  Another friend of mine recently decided she wants to open a gourmet barbecue business, and she and her husband have a five-year plan mapped out (starting with trying out lots of different barbecue recipes and visiting big barbecue cities).

5) If you have no idea what Plan B is (beyond “not this”)… you need to assess your finances and your life to figure out how adventurous you can be.  How much debt do you have — and how much can you knock out if you buckle down and save?  How much do you have in savings — could you take six months to yourself to figure out what you might want to do in life (and then enough in savings to hold you over until you find a new job in that career)?  (With today’s economic climate, this probably means having about two years of living expenses.  (In some circles, you’ll hear this referred to as “F-you money” — how much money do you need before you can say “F-you” to your current boss?)  Could you take a job that requires less time of you (but allows you to meet your financial obligations) until you figure out what Plan B is?  If none of these seem likely, I can think of two things you might try to speed along the process of figuring out Plan B:

– Reconnect with yourself.  This is what I was getting at when I wrote about how I took a humor writing class that helped me get my groove back.  You may regain some of the self-respect you may have lost over the years, or you may get in touch with a more optimistic or hopeful version of yourself.  (This kind of gets back to the idea that your job is not your life — make your life outside of work as excellent as it can be by doing the things you love.  It may lead to a Plan B or it may not, but at least you’ll be enjoying your life again.)

– Start thinking like an entrepreneur.  One of my favorite suggestions here is to start subscribing to the magazine Inc. — even before I knew what kind of business I wanted to start, I subscribed to the magazine and found myself looking at the world with fresh eyes.  Even now, I’m always inspired to hear about how someone launched a multi-million dollar company with no more than $3,000, and I love a recurring feature where they take a snapshot of daily life (e.g., the tennis court) and point out all the different businesses involved backstage.  There are lots of women-centric groups out there if you’re more comfortable with that, too, such as Ladies Who Launch, Savor the Success, or MomInventors.

6) Whatever you do, at least the very least, fake interest in your current job (as the Men’s Health article also advised). Arrive on time.  Be sociable.  Look as professional as possible.  Smile.

 Readers, what have you done when you’re suffering burnout?  How have you battled burnout?

Comments

  1. If you can afford it, take a few days off completely. Put away the computer, the paperwork, the Blackberry/iPhone/electronic tether. Calendar real time off, when you will not think about work. Even contemplating a future scheduled vacation helps (me) with burnout.

    At the moment, I’ve been looking forward to a week away from the grind for three months. It’s coming soon, and I can’t wait. When I finally scheduled my vacation, and started clearing the calendar I went from “I need to get out of here” to “I can do this, and I’m so looking forward to time off.” It was a huge difference in my attitude.

    And I know I will return with more energy, and much less burned out.

    Oh, and sleep. I find that burnout strongly correlates with times when I am sleeping badly. This may be an issue of stress, or family issues, or something else. But making sure you get good sleep helps.

    • I took a week and a bit over Christmas and it was amazing. I hadn’t taken vacation since August and as soon as had come back then I took on way more responsibility to I had just had my head down and grinding through. I am now actively going to ensure I take another week before the end of the (rapidly approaching eek!) fiscal year.

      • I took a week at Christmas and it just made things worse… the year-end crunch was worse than ever and I returned to so much unfinished work. This year I’m going back to working over Christmas week just to ensure that I am caught up and have the opportunity to clean off my desk before a new year.

        • I had two weeks off, but had projects come up that I had to work on before the end of the year. I even left the country for a couple of days, but I still didn’t feel like I ever really stepped away from work.

    • Sleepy in Chicago :

      Absolutely yes to the point about sleep. No matter how busy the agenda, there comes a point of sleep deprivation when I know I am less effective and it takes me longer to complete tasks than it would when I’m rested (think anything involving writing). Is it worth taking twice as long to draft something than it will take me if I go home, get some sleep, and come back in early the next day? Obviously it depends on the deadline, I’ve found this to be a great way to improve my efficiency. Also, I have a firm line about proofing or sending out really important things when I’m that tired.

      Recently took Saturday morning off and got 12 hours straight of sleep. This week I’ve liked my job way more.

      • Sleepy in Chicago :

        Gah. Sleep deprived this am, so I forgot to add — I overall *really* like my job, but after a few weeks of sleep deprivation my mood starts to plummet and I start to dread things I usually enjoy at work. Catching up on sleep makes a huge difference for me.

      • Agree agree agree. It’s amazing how that can change one’s mood. This may also just be for some of us, I’ve found that if I let myself get too hungry at work, I start falling into this funk where I don’t even really realize I’m hungry I’m just depressed and lackluster and idle around from job to job without ever really DOING anything. I discovered that if I give up and go grab some dinner, I’m 100% more focused after dinner. I’ve actually given up and left the office, and then gotten that after-meal second wind and either gone back in or logged in from home and finished my project. (Obviously, helps that I don’t have kids and live alone approx 60% of the time.)

  2. I agree. I have to many EBT’s to do in one month and I am getting burned out alot lateley. The manageing partner keeps giveing me assignments! Fooey! I want to be able to enjoy a nice day off once in a while! FOOEY!

  3. I second this article – there seem to be so many people just looking for the next job, not happy with what they were doing.

    I also wanted to put out there – Banana Republic is having an extra 30% off their sale clothes until 1/11. It took me a little searching, but I’ve grabbed a matching wool suit set – jacket, skirt, pants – for $258 final. The code is at the top, but it’s BREXTRA30. Also worth it for grabbing an extra skirt, etc – the deals are pretty good.

  4. I’m feeling the opposite of burned out at the moment! After graduating last summer I gained a place on a graduate training scheme for a well known international fashion manufacturer and retailer. I have extensive experience having managed my own business before, but have only been given menial tasks to do – photocopying, filing, tidying up, making displays of product and even cleaning. I understand that the organisation is very hierarchical and they are ‘putting me in my place’ but 5 month in I’m desperately bored. I relocated to take this job, and am finding it hard to meet people outside the office. How can I demonstrate that I would thrive with greater responsibility? Or should I start looking for another job, closer to my home city?
    Thank you in advance!

  5. Following up from the weekend thread–1L, if you still want those recommendations for Spain, hit me up at the email above :)

  6. Anyone else notice that that Men’s Health article took a strange sexist turn toward the end. Go to the interns area and look at the 22 year old girls? That’s skeevy.

    • Yes, several readers commented on this when Kat originally posted it. Needless to say, women who are burned out are not advised to start flirting with the men in their offices.

    • Yes a little skeevy, but I think it’s important to remember that MH does not write for the Corporette audience. I could see Cosmo, for example, giving women the advice to look cute and flirt a little at work.

  7. karenpadi :

    I agree with this advice. For me, I don’t know what Plan B is yet but I do know that I won’t be a full-time lawyer until I retire. So I’ve kept my living expenses low, paid off high interest student loan debt, and now I’m working on paying off my mortgage. I don’t want to be in a situation of having “golden handcuffs” where my living expenses are so high that I can’t leave.

    For me, it’s easier to not allow my job to become all-consuming if I have substantial savings (6 mos to 1 year expenses). I also make sure to work out, get massages, and pursue goals separate from those at work.

    I have a few things that I do to “reward” myself for sticking around that I tell myself I would stop if I left law. I have a housekeeper and a gardener, an annual jewelry budget, and I allow myself to “throw money” at certain problems–even if I could do it myself for less.

    I also discovered that a vitamin B12 deficiency runs on my mom’s side of the family. My Goodness! I re-named B12 the “anti-burnout” vitamin. I feel much better and have more energy. B12 has low toxicity so I didn’t worry about getting a formal diagnosis before taking 500 mcg/day (something like 100x the daily recommendation).

    • I like your lifestyle and your plan, but i totally love the annual jewelry budget!

    • ExcelNinja :

      This. We have a gardener and auto-delivery of veggies/fruit. I order a lot of stuff online like toilet paper, so we don’t have to waste time running errands on the weekends/evenings. And my escape is travel, so I make sure to plan at least one major trip a year, with a few smaller weekend trips interspersed in non-busy times.

      This year is a big year because I’m up for my 5-year sabbatical (actually was up for it last year and asked to postpone) — I’ll be going to Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, and maybe Hawaii :D I’m SUPER psyched and it’s definitely keeping me sane during the work day when unnecessary drama erupts or I have to work late because someone else didn’t plan properly!

  8. Diana Barry :

    I only feel burned out when I don’t have enough work. Easy enough to recognize, hard to fix.
    Other things contributing to burnout = jerky partners, commuting, working on cr*ppy things.

    Right now, I am burned out with work (not enough work plus commuting is a PITA when pregnant) but my husband is also starting some new companies, so I am helping out with that and it is keeping me more engaged.

    • Diana Barry :

      Oh, plus I am brainstorming on how to transition into my own shingle/firm, so that is keeping me occupied too.

    • Ugh, I hate commuting when I don’t have enough work to justify (in my mind) coming in–and not allowed to telecommute until I’ve been at this job longer. I cannot imagine being pregnant while dealing with those frustrations.

  9. I am clerking in a small federal court. There are maybe 12 people in the whole building. The career clerk has made it clear she does not like me and does not want to like me, and goes out of her way to make my life miserable. I’ve been intentionally given wrong information, called late to things when she was the one supposed to give people the heads up, belittled in front of other people, told to wear jeans and then everyone showed up in suits. I have been cried at, screamed at, and stonewalled on important things. Some of it is petty and I can handle that but some of it effects my job. I am at my clerkship for another year and hate coming in every day. I like the work itself but I have no idea how to deal with my co-worker. I have tried killing with kindness and just ignoring the behavior and neither showed any results. The career clerk is brilliant and has been here over a decade so complaining to the Judge won’t get me anywhere. I would appreciate strategies for keeping myself sane for the next year without having to include other people. She has been a problem in the past and HR in the main courthouse (not mine) had talked to me to make sure things were going “okay” but at the end of the day, she isn’t their employee, however it is comforting to know other people know she is mean. I could really use some advice!

    • Also a clerk :

      Eek–sounds like a nightmare. A lot of this you can’t really do anything about (e.g., screaming) but on the information issues (e.g., dress code), I suggest a “trust but verify” approach. Double-check things she tells you, ask other people about dress codes, etc. Also, if the “things” you’ve been late to are on a docket, take it upon yourself to check PACER for upcoming hearings, etc. Definitely don’t complain to the judge (unless he or she asks you directly about any problems) but keep doing excellent work and focus on building an excellent relationship with the judge. You’re a clerk, too–you have the right to talk to him/her directly about cases, ask intelligent questions, and engage in all manner of casual conversations. In the long term, your relationship with the judge–not her–matters. (And unless your judge is totally clueless, he/she probably has an idea about what’s going on and will filter any comments from Ms. Meany accordingly.) I know it’s not the biggest help on the day-to-day stuff, but if you focus on the future, it may be bearable.

    • Can you start to view her as an social studies case study? When I was a legal secretary, I had a horrible co-worker who sounds shockingly similar to your clerk. I had a roomie at the time who was getting her LCSW license and we used to dissect the co-worker’s behavior. It really made all the difference to mentally catalog her actions for later analysis instead of taking it personally. Easier said than done, I know, and it actually enraged the secretary that instead of reacting to her, I watched her as if I was watching a film (which made it kind of fun. I’m petty like that)
      Good luck!

      • As much as I hate to do this myself, have you considered confronting her about it? Prep yourself to be incredibly reasonable and calm, and the next time she is awful say something like “Is there something I have done to offend you? No matter what I seem to do, you continue to mistreat me” and go from there. She will likely adamantly deny it, but dont back down or say “oh I am sorry…” Hold your ground while taking the high road. I have found that calling someone out makes it very hard for them to continue to be nasty, since now they know everything they are doing is out there and not “below the radar” as they thought. That and start to take notes. I have a terrible memory and find it dificult to recall examples when challenged, which makes people think they are in the right. So, when I think that it may be important, I start taking notes so I have the support ready for my position.

        • This.

          These people act this way because they can and because they think it is acceptable/normal for some reason. Also, notes are your best friend. It sounds SO much better to say “on January 9 at 3:30pm you told me this coming Friday was casual day and attending work in jeans was acceptable. On January 13 at 8:30am when I arrived in jeans per your instructions I discovered it was not actually casual day.” Than to say “this one time, at band camp, you told me to wear jeans and everyone else was wearing a suit!”

          Also, just for me, I never ever fall into the trap of dressing casually for the office. In fact, my old office even had a policy that specific Fridays were casual day, but the attorneys were required to dress normally if there was any chance of them meeting a client. Since clients basically felt free to walk in anytime…Plus, there is never a problem with wearing slacks while others are wearing jeans but there is a problem with wearing jeans when everyone else is wearing slacks.

          Finally, there’s this thing called the “annoy-a-tron” go to the think geek website and search that term(to avoid link moderation), I like the standard $9.99 version. Hiding that somewhere near her computer will have her going NUTS in very short order. I finally had to come clean when I saw my neighbor co-worker (and friend from law school) rush out of his office carrying his computer like it was going to explode. There’s also a pen that gives an electric shock, be careful with that one, it’s actually fairly painful. What the hell, if she’s going to make you miserable, the least you can do is return the favor. Just don’t get caught!!

    • I agree with what was said above. I’ll add that if you will want a letter of recommendation from your judge that you should draft it before your clerkship is over (so the career clerk does not draft it).

      Remember that your clerkship is just a stepping stone, and hers is the end game. In five years, she will still be bullying term clerks and you will be just getting started with your career.

  10. The post is helpful for those needing a big transition. However, I think there’s a second big group of us including me: those who love their job/career, just suffer from what I’ll call the American System Problem of chronically not having enough time off. I have 10 days vacation per year and am mid-30s- it just isn’t enough to sustain your own rejuvenation let alone raise a family. Yet, I enjoy my work and have no interest in quitting/switching jobs. It’s just a chronic frustration and complaint.

    As for solutions, I don’t see one big one, but try little things- managing it day to day is important- not overdoing it too many days in a row, running an errand when you need to, etc. Also delegating/hiring help at home for other stuff. Negotiating more time off has not been successful. Would like to hear others’ ideas. In the end, I am just tired a lot, which is not an ideal way to live, but there aren’t alternatives that appeal to me more than my current scenario under the American System if one isn’t super wealthy. Other ideas for mitigating typical American worker tiredness, that don’t involve a dramatic change? I suspect there are lots of us in this situation. And, I have been on the other end trying to get into this one for a long time, so appreciate that it is so good despite the chronic frustration with lack of leave.

    • karenpadi :

      Agreed. I don’t have any formal vacation (just a billing goal). This is no way to live. I work at a great firm so I really try to carve out time to go on vacation by banking billable hours before a planned holiday so I’m not worrying about hours while I ‘m away. I try to plan trips to countries where Internet and cell service are not reliable (but this is getting harder and harder).

      On a daily basis, I only check my email on nights and weekends if I’m expecting something, and I take off early every so often (playing hookey feels so good). My theory is that if I don’t get “vacation”, they don’t get my nights and weekends.

      • ExcelNinja :

        What’s your strategy for leaving early? I moved to the U.S. last year from a country with much, much better mentalities around vacation and work-life balance, and I’m finding it hard for me to adjust. My superiors all have young families and all work what seems to me like crazy hours, non-stop. The first half of the year is supposed to be our slow time, for example, and I received an email from a superior last night after midnight. DH and I don’t have kids, so I feel really guilty saying “hey, I’m going to cut out early today because it’s slow” – it never seems slow for my bosses, and seems like they should be the ones who should be out of there first because they have kids…

        For example, yesterday I had SUCH a slow day. I really could have left after my last meeting ended at 3. But instead, I sat in my office and looked busy until 5:15 and even then, three of the five people in my department were still working away.

        Oh, and I of course always ask if there’s something I could pick up to help the team — but my job is focused on long-term planning vs day to day stuff, so the answer is almost always no.

    • healthcare anon :

      I’ve noticed that too, particularly since becoming a full time working mom (I was lucky enough to work less than 30 hours a week the first ten months of my son’s life). I think it’s harder on women in general as well, particularly when you become a mother. I read an interesting article about this in working moms magazine, about the common feeling many professional mothers have that they are “frauds” and will eventually be “caught” (i.e. not perfect at home, with the kids OR at work).

      I’m tired a lot too (currently sipping espresso!). I try to cycle and/or run three or four days a week to manage my stress, and am lucky enough that my manager was a working single mother and works with those of us that need the flexibility. I only work four days a week, but those are long days and make my extra “home” day just seem to fill up with errands and/or sleeping rather than quality time with my kid.

      I love my job, and truthfully, I’m not depressed like I was working part time after my son’s birth (jury is still out on whether it was hormones/reduction in income/lack of stimulating work). But more of a work-life balance or more options for that like our counterparts in Europe would make my entire life a lot more sunny.

    • Amen. I don’t have any solutions, unfortunately, but I can empathize. Being chronically tired, even when making an effort to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, makes even the easy stuff hard. And yeah, I have days when I feel like a total fraud and like I’m falling short in every way. Rationally, I know that’s not true — but it’s difficult to accept that there’s only so much of me to go around and I can’t be awesome at everything.

      There’s another side effect of overwork that contributes to burnout, at least in my experience. It’s that you don’t have the time and space to let your mind wander and *really* think about your career goals. It’s hard to think about what you’re working toward if all your focus is going toward just keeping up.

  11. I have a similar problem – I am a federal gov attorney and am feeling burned out/frustrated because all the stereotypes about the government are true in my office – very little work gets done, nobody really cares, no accountability for people that don’t do work. I want to be proud of my work and feel challenged, but am just left feeling unfullfilled. I like the 40 hour weeks but can’t decide if it’s worth it at this point!

    • Gubmnt Job :

      Yes, it is worth it. I commend you for your work ethic and I don’t know you but already like you. However, law firms are awful and Fed Gov is a paradise in comparison. So don’t leave — unless of course you would be willing to hand off your job to me.

  12. Anon @ 4.36 :

    Hehe that was my issue, then I went to global company hence the lack of time off tradeoff now! It 150% solved those frustrations- I work with interesting, brilliant, fast-paced people around the globe and love it and am challenged- but miss those government vacation and sick days! (esp as pregnant this year). The grass is evenly green on both sides? I plan to stay in private sector but if my work group (bosses) weren’t super flexible and I didn’t LOVE what I do in my area of passion, I would go back to gov instead- corporate has to have the right conditions. In gov, I found that some higher level positions (policy/project lead in exec offices etc) had the higher pace/quality, yet you had to rely on the under-layer for everything so not a total fix. Thanks for the reminder of WHY I chose the other side. It’s been 2 yrs since I switched, interesting to reflect. No regrets, just wish could take a vacation:)

  13. What about burnout from job hunting? It took me years to find my last job… and the new employer’s legal department (including me) was downsized after I was on board for less than a year.

    So for the past 6 months, I have been looking full time (except for some brief stints of temp work)… and its starting to feel increasingly pointless. My background isn’t particularly appealing to non-government employers, the government doesn’t seem to be hiring and I am running out of contacts, it seems. But, not looking is not an option… yet looking is a waste of time.

    Struggling to stay motivated and keep positive right now. Has anyone else gone through this?

  14. Nonbillable :

    For those of you who may have burned out in a law firm and then left for in-house or government or some other alternative, I’m curious to hear whether the change helped. I’ve been struggling badly with motivation and being engaged for months now and I feel like the billable hour is a big part of that. I am sick of tracking every 6 mintues and worrying every time something nonbillable takes up much time. I’m very interested to hear whether stepping away from the almighty billable hour helped anyone else or whether it just resulted in a different set of problems!

    • Former MidLevel :

      I didn’t burn out, per se, but I loathed billing when I was in BigLaw. It really does help your mental sanity to get away from the billable hour–and the Blackbery’s flashing red light of death (or whatever the equivalent is on newer smartphones).

    • I hate billing my time, always have. I did leave private practice and worked for a state government office for several years, and hatred of billing had a lot to do with the change, but it was too difficult to make it financially on a state salary after my divorce. It was great while my kid was small, though, 6 weeks paid leave each year. I’m back in private practice now, making lots more money, but still hate billing. So burned out. Miss my government job sometimes, even if it was kind of boring.

      • Backgrounder :

        Ditto on advice for the billable hour….I, too, get anxious about billing every six minutes and am always anxious about meeting utilization numbers and billable hour targets. Blech.

        Love the phrase – “Blackbery’s flashing red light of death!!!!”

  15. I’m struggling with this now as well. For a long time I was dissatisfied with my job (some of which I straightened out after a frank conversation with the partners). Then starting last spring I began dealing with significant and unrelenting stress from the lengthy illness then loss of a very close family member. I only get twelve vacation days, but I missed approximately 3.5 weeks of work in traveling to my relative whenever things looked bleak. I don’t regret the time I spent there, and wish I’d been able to spend more time, but I’m in the hole as far as vacation time goes and really really need some time off that is not spent in a hospital with the threat of death hanging over it all. I’ve been really resentful of my co-workers and the partners, who have all taken one-week+ vacations between Thanksgiving and New Years. Even though I rationally know that I was allowed to miss more time than I’m actually allotted, subjectively I keep thinking it’s not fair that they all got real vacations.

    I’ve planned a trip for president’s day weekend, but that’s a long time away and I don’t think three days is going to do it. I did try calling out sick one day after a particularly hard night dealing with grief, but my boss asked if I could do a research project from home which ended up taking the whole day anyway.

    • ExcelNinja :

      I’m so sorry, JT. Sounds like a really rough year :( Can you take stress or medical leave with a note from a doctor, even if it’s just a week? I realise this may be unrealistic in your industry/company. You are still grieving though, and maybe your employer would understand.

  16. Love this post…my “name” is pretty much a direct result of #5! I’m not sure what I would do what I didn’t practice law, but I know I need to figure it out and save some serious money. I’m also notoriously bad at actually setting work aside (I suspect I’m not alone in that here!)…and to top it all off, my job is a nightmare lately. A lot of management changes (I’m in-house), and my role changing as well. That particular change may be good, but it may suck, and I’m completely exhausted by it all.

  17. Great advice and helpful links. I love my work as an event planner, but the hours and stress of work, joined with day to day life of having a family wear me out. I need to take regular time that allows me to realize how much I love my life, rather than burning out from exhaustion.

  18. This is such a common problem for women in their 40’s. I am 45, have at least 10 friends that are all going through midlife evaluation. I recently read a book called Halftime… moving from success to significance. It helped me identify more long term goals but now how do I get there? That’s what I am hearing from more and more women. We have raised our kids, or almost raised them, we have worked the grind, put in the time, now what? I know this discussion list is mostly younger women….but to those out there that are in the 40’s…. are you searching too?

  19. I’m under 30, worked hard in school, landed the dream job, and now (in less than three years) I am feeling completely burned out. In my line of work, your career is your life, i.e. work-life balance does not exist. Most days I don’t eat anything until I get home from work, and that is after a 12 hour workday that is extremely stressful. I can feel it impacting my health. I can’t imagine doing this pregnant or with kids, but I don’t have a plan B.

  20. This is timely for me… I’m not even 30 and already totally just done with public accounting, at least the track I was on. I got my CPA and worked 4.5 years (5 tax seasons) for a public accounting firm. The first three were good, then mid-4th set off a chain of traumatic events that developed into severe depression… Was finally pulling out of it (after getting cheated on, mom had cancer, last grandparent died, house flooded, got evacuated due to wildfire really just one thing after another before I recovered from the last I I couldn’t keep up) when they let me go last week… At least I only had to track my time every 15min, but hated that part. I know I’m good at what I do, just beat my head against the wall instead of taking medical leave or resigning on my terms to recover… just humiliated and my good progress is setback instead.

    I have savings for almost a year, so I’m taking some time to figure out where I really want to be for a couple of months. Tax season…. getting yelled at for only working 70 hours a week when they wanted 80 was brutal. I want time to run and enjoy some daylight hours of freedom again. And time to spend with my puppy that I got as soon as tax season ended… I like accounting and I really am good at it, but spending all my time pleasing others and no time for myself isn’t worth it. Burnout/depression/perfectionism just did me in… Already decided that all I really want is a happy family and here I am single no prospects and almost 30. Income from working myself to death isn’t worth it. I can live comfortably enough on half what i was making… People need CPA’s but burnt out ones aren’t so nice to be around. Am I ready to start my own firm and operate on my terms and being selective about the clients I choose work with? Maybe…

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