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Millennials at Work: How to Avoid Burnout in the Workplace

Hannah Greenwood

Hannah Greenwood

millennials at work

millennials at workMillennials at work and many others all have an idea of what work burnout is but what are the tell-tale signs you or someone else is experiencing it?

By definition, if you’re feeling emotionally exhausted, detached or ineffective due to an overwhelming workload, work that leaves you unfulfilled or lack of community in the workplace, exemplified by poor employee communications – you are in the burnout stage. The average working person knows burnout is possible if they don’t set boundaries and make time for self-care but many of us fail to find the proper balance that will not affect success in all aspects of their lives. According to ComPsych’s 2017 StressPulse Survey, workload is a primary source of stress for 39% of employees. Does this differ between the seasoned and younger generations?

In a popular article for Buzzfeed, Anne Helen Petersen lays out the causes and implications of why millennials at work seem to burn out in different ways than their generational predecessors. Health professor and writer Rajvinder Samra wrote in a response to Petersen’s article: “Specifically, millennials respond to emotional exhaustion… differently to baby boomers. When feeling emotionally exhausted, millennials are more likely to feel dissatisfied and want to leave their job than baby boomers…”

new-hire onboarding and trainingMillennials don’t take burn out lightly. We know what we expect from a job and how it should make us feel – accomplished, wanted, valuable, respected – and if we start feeling otherwise, we won’t hesitate to look elsewhere. In my experience, burnout typically occurred when I didn’t feel passionately about my job or if, every day, I left work feeling incomplete. As millennials, who typically value work that is meaningful and allow you to make a difference, this can wear on your energy and self-worth.

I want to give you the tips to properly avoid burnout because burnout does not always equal being exhausted physically – it is something we must focus on internally to keep employee communications and employee engagement alive.

Set your limits

Any millennial can agree that we have set expectations going into a new job so when you are first starting out, make sure you set your limits! Don’t be afraid to let your employer know that you are feeling overwhelmed and/or need a mental health day. When you set these boundaries, your boss will respect that and in turn, you will be more successful at work.

Focus on what you’re passionate about

Finding your ‘dream job’ may seem like a long shot but once you hone in on what you love to do and what you’re good at, a pipe dream may seem much more attainable. When you solely focus on money and neglect to think about if this will truly make you feel happy and complete, you will set yourself up for burnout.

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Enlist the help of your coworkers to build community

One of the reasons for burnout is feeling that there is not a community in your workplace. When you don’t have a work family that you can trust and rely on, asking for help may not be an option. Start the conversation in your workplace and delegate the necessary tasks. This will force you and your co-workers to get to know each other and work in unison. Eventually, the energy in your workspace will change, if done with care. Your new company’s HR department might even notice some positive indications of employee communications.

Quit before it gets worse

If all else fails – quit. That’s right. Do NOT allow yourself to continue to burn out at a job that you absolutely hate. Realize your worth and take this as a lesson for when you start job searching. Everyone has their limits and you need to recognize when you’ve had enough.

Overall, we need to have more conversations about burnout and how to effectively avoid it from happening. Millennials at work, especially, have created an emphasis on self-care and learning how to listen to our emotional and physical needs. When burnout is in its early stages, it is up to us to find ways to combat it. Whether you set your limits, find a job that fuels your passion, build a community in your workplace or just… QUIT your job – these all help stop the exhaustion and build strength within. Be well, everyone!

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