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Admin Pro Forum

How do you know when you’ve finally reached burnout?

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Question: "I’ll sometimes have weeks when I feel like I’ve totally lost my spirit and enthusiasm, only to bounce back the following week when things at work go well. It seems like every time I think I just don’t have what it takes to keep going with this job, it was just a phase—but I sure do keep experiencing those phases! What are the signals that I need to move on because the point of real, no-going-back burnout has finally come?” — Tula, Administrative Assistant of Budget

See comments below, and send your own question to Admin-Pro@nibm.net.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary M. Mazzaraco July 26, 2013 at 10:31 am


You have expressed my feelings exactly. Working for many individuals in itself is a challenge, when they are not cohesive in their management style, as you stated, things can turn to a no win situation for you. I have found talking to my Director with decisions and follow up from the others is a tremendous help. I accomplished this by cc’ing requests and follow up to him for our department and within the organization. This way he is aware of what I am working on; requests, routine, followup needed, new projects with the progress or completion documented. All accomplished by letting one of the several knowing what I am doing, decreasing why did you do and why did you not do. Another added benefit, there is not the question of I asked her to do or I sent an e-mail with the information why did she not follow through?. Hope this helps


Kris July 18, 2013 at 5:45 pm

This happens to me all to much! I have health issues that contribute to the lack of energy but I hate when I start feeling like this because my mind is severely affected. However, I love the feeling I get when I get things done and when Im feeling down I try to remember my spirit and drive to continue to do what I do..


Barb July 12, 2013 at 11:44 am

This came at just the right time for me. I have been having the ups and downs at work too. Many of you pinpointed exactly what burnout really is. I answer to 8 bosses who are not cohesive in their management style and I feel like i have been beaten up to the point that I am invisable in the office. Make a desicion…it’s wrong; don’t make a decision…why didn’t I handle that. Cant win.

Tula, the best advise I can give, is to keep your head up, do an exceptional job and thoroughly enjoy your time away from the office. Start building your network through social media and volunteer work and someone will see your true value.

We don’t always know what is going on with our bosses, right now the tension is thick here due to budget preparation. As an AA we know the signs of trickle-down effect….oh so well.


Chardel July 12, 2013 at 9:40 am

I was burned out about a month ago-I work 5 days a week as our church secretary-a job I love, with just the minister and me in the office, my husband and I clean the church later on Saturday, and of course, attend worship service on Sunday morning. On top of that we had a major church basement repair going on along with our kitchen at home was being redone. There was not a day that I could take off and just “take off” because my minister was also gone for 2 solid weeks in the midst of all this. Then I was able to get that day away and what an incredible difference only one day made..


Diane July 12, 2013 at 8:53 am

Great topic. I’ve been at my job for over 20 year and although I love my job and my supervisor, I think I’m getting burned out. Some days I just want to call out for lack of energy, but then I get a call from a friend to go somewhere I’m ready. What’s that all about? Four more years to retirement.


Andrea July 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

You will know that you are done when you no-longer desire to do whatever you do in your current position. You will also feel symptoms of extreme fatigue, high irritability, and almost a low-level depression related to the environment in which you work. Some people find that they are disgusted with their company’s morals and beliefs because they witness, first hand, false advertising, terrible customer service, and poor employee treatment and/or favoratism. Then when you begin to wake up and dread going in each day, for about a month, you know it’s definitely time to move on to better places!!!! Everyone should work hard to be in a career where their work is their passion….. And you’ll never work another day in your life!!!


Mark July 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm

That is a great question. I have had many stretches, usually weeks rather than days, in which I can’t wait for the next day off. I just want to be away from here. But it’s happened enough times that I know that feeling will eventually go away. Like you said, it’s a phase, and although the phase keeps coming back, it also keeps going away. I guess to me a key indicator that you’ve reached true burnout is when the phase stops going away. When it’s there every day, for many months, that is when I think it is a problem. But like Sally and Kathy said, for many of us, if age isn’t a problem, the job market is.


Lori July 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I went through the same thing after being at my job for over 16 years, and did end up leaving after the periods of “bouncing back” became less and less frequent, and eventually stopped altogether. My enthusiasm was completely gone, and my spirit was all but lifeless.

It was a hard and painful decision to leave, as I do have to look for another job, but it really was a matter of life and death!


Sally July 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I think the no-going-back burnout is here for you! If you are questioning yourself, it may be time to look for something else. I have two years until retirement and if I were younger, I’d be out of here so fast!


Kathy July 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I think the individual and their resources can only make that call. I was burnt out long ago but can’t afford to leave. Not to mention the fact that I would need to find another job in this economy and who’s to say it would be any better. I would opt for taking on more complex projects and helping others in different roles.


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