Office Politics 101: Burning out and wanting out

Q: I’m burned out at the office after five years in the same clerical position. It’s getting so bad lately that I can hardly motivate myself to drive to work. I feel like quitting, but I don’t have any other prospects. Any thoughts for me?

A: Five years is a good run and most employers would not consider you to be erratic if you decided to take a new position either with your present company or elsewhere.

Quitting now, as I’m sure you would agree, would be an unwise move, given that you don’t have a job to go to. In addition, employers are generally more comfortable with employed applicants as opposed to those who are between positions.

You’re obviously bored with your current responsibilities and are no longer challenged with the duties. And, it probably won’t comfort you to know there are many other people working under similar conditions.

I’d like to recommend you become deliberate in your career planning at this time. Your restlessness should be the basis of a clear course of action which will lead you into the next stage of your working life.

Perhaps you slid into your current position and never saw it as a vocation, merely a way to pay the bills. Now, after five years, you realize you must pursue a new direction to achieve success and personal satisfaction.

Take an inventory of your skills and interests. What is your “dream job” and how easily could you turn it into reality? Are their abilities you have developed in your current position that could easily transfer to a more interesting situation?

Would further education — possibly re-training — open up greater opportunities? Do you need to acquire some practical skills such as the mastery of a relevant computer program, for instance?

You may wish to make an appointment to speak with someone in your human-resources department — if you have one — and solicit his or her advice. Avoid whining, listen attentively and be prepared to receive some helpful counsel.

As well, you could speak informally to co-workers regarding your circumstances. A colleague may have some ideas to help you gain perspective and even improve your opportunities for promotion.

Being burned out at work can be debilitating and may even impact other aspects of your life such as your family. Get started immediately on a strategy to improve your career options through deliberate reflection, research, consultation and perhaps re-training.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simongibson@shaw.ca