Fired Up or Burning Out?

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun

Thomas A. Edison

Ever been promoted? More responsibility. More visibility. Big title. Sounds great, right? Sure, it could be. If it’s the kind of work that has you fired up, jumping out of bed every day raring to go.

But, what if it isn’t? What if you’re hanging on by a thread? What if you’re burning out with not much time left before you completely fizzle?

With or without a promotion, here’s the question. Are you fired up on the job or are you starting to smoke from burnout?

Take Tom. He’s dangling and smoldering. “Promoted” in January after a layoff, he was given the duties of his former boss plus those of several colleagues. It’s the typical scenario. “Do more with less,” that many face today. Sound familiar?

But why is he dangling? Aren’t promotions a good thing? Is it just about the increased workload? No. As he discovered, there’s more to his story. The answer lies in his point of pain.

Tom’s a company guy. Dependable. Hard working. Loyal. He’s worked for this organization for decades. He knows it inside out! It makes perfect sense that management would put him in this role.

Being dedicated, he didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate in this time of need. Plus, he’s doing what anyone would do amidst layoffs. He’s giving it his best shot. After five months though, he’s paying a high price. He’s shot.

For Tom, his burnout is beyond, “more to do.” He’s no stranger to hard work, long hours, and doing what ever it takes. It’s the type of work that’s pulling him down. He spends the majority of his time doing the exact opposite of what he thrives at. This job just isn’t him. It’s not giving him life.

Yes, to his colleagues, he’s effective. But, it’s taking a big bite out of his energy level. That’s why he feels “burned out” and not “fired up.” He’s got nothing left at the end of the day. The new tasks feel like they take twice the effort and twice the time. It’s the double duty that’s doing him in.

He knows this role wasn’t something he planned on, aspired to, or wanted. In fact, he’s turned it down in the past. Why? He knows himself. He knows his strengths and how he can best perform for his organization. This job isn’t it.

And there’s the good news. He knows exactly what type of job he wants and what type of role he excels at! That puts him in the best position to make a plan before it’s too late. Just seeing his options put the fire back in his eyes.

Have you lost your fire for your job? Do you need to take better care of yourself before you burn out? Often, the answers to what would be best in your work life are found in knowing what you like least. Let your pain be your guide to your solution.

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