Burn out. It’s real. It sucks. It feels like that time when my cat launch attacked me (yes this is real thing) and bit into my arm, and I just let him because I no longer cared. I no longer felt the pain. (And eventually he gave up because what’s the fun in catching your prey if you can’t play with it?)
Working an office job is cozy. I have benefits and a steady paycheck and I can even close my door when I don’t want to deal with people anymore. I don’t deny that I have it pretty good. Even my parents are jealous of my perks sometimes, but I remind them that I live in DC in an 850-square foot apartment with a roommate because even with a cozy job with a paycheck that’s all I can afford. That’s DC.
But that doesn’t mean the job doesn’t get to me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t question the hours of boredom. That doesn’t negate the building indifference I feel towards my project list. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. It’s the first job I’ve ever had that truly satisfies me (okay to a point) but that doesn’t mean the stress, bureaucracy, inefficiencies, etc. don’t get to me.
Because there are aspects of my job that I hate. Yes I realize hate is a strong word, but when I get an email about something that automatically makes my blood pressure skyrocket and sweat stain the material against my armpits then I think it’s valid to use the word hate. These aspects of my job cause undue stress, and the fact that they cause this much stress just stresses me out even more… to the point of burn out.
Yep that’s how every professional job I’ve ever had has ended. After about a year or two, I push myself too hard (or the job pushes me too hard because surprise, surprise I’m a pushover), and I burn myself out. I start resenting what I do, and then I start looking for other jobs, and then eventually I leave. Fortunately I’m smart about it. When I used to work in the restaurant industry and reached this point, I just up and quit. Not one of my prouder moments but hey it happens to the best of us.
I once wrote a post on this blog on how to prevent burn out. I still think it’s good advice. So maybe check it out? See if it works for you. (Side note it’s not currently working for me but that’s partly because I’m stubborn, and I’m not following my own rules.) I’ve given up. There is nothing I can do about my workload. Let’s just say the forces are against me right now (this isn’t Star Wars – all forces are evil).
I can’t rid of the projects I hate. And I can’t solve the workplace inefficiencies that make my work life miserable. But I don’t want to screw up my job. And I don’t want to screw up my career. This may not be my 10-year plan but it’s a good stepping stone. So in the mean time I have found a solution to my #workwoes.
(I know it sounds like “laid off” when said really fast, doesn’t it?)
Yep, that’s right. LATEOTT (aka Light at the End of the Tunnel). Every time I even think about venting about work-related stresses, I think of LATEOTT. I even have a post-it taped to my computer screen now that reads LATEOTT. My daily reminder that one day these stresses will dissipate, that one day someone else will take these tasks I hate away from me, and I will be able to focus again on the things about my job that I love.
But until then I will have LATEOTT. And when work gets too overwhelming, I will run down the halls screaming, “LATEOTT! LATEOTT!” Everyone I work with will think I am crazy, but maybe waiting for LATEOTT will make me so. As a white privileged American this is what I must do to survive the daily grind. I must bow down to the presence of LATEOTT and pray that it will one day save me. And all my penance will be rewarded.
So until that day, I will press my buttons and fulfill my quota, and at the end of the day I will look at that post-it, turn off my office light (because I have to save energy, too), and smile.
One day LATEOTT. One day.