You just can’t seem to make it work. It feels like there is always something wrong, and there will never be a way for you to be effective. Maybe it is a nagging feeling that you’re just not meant to be doing this even if you’re moderately successful. That’s when it may be time to leave – leave your job or leave the industry. At some point, you’ve got to stop pushing the square peg through the round hole. Deep down, you know it, even if you don’t like the answer.
Burnout is defined with exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. At some point, you have landed in a place of exhaustion and not even realized you were there. You no longer felt like you had the energy to fight, but you weren’t even sure what you were fighting for. Feeling ineffective is at the heart of burnout, and you feel like you’re always ineffective. For you, it always feels like failure or not enough. This leads to a pervasive cynicism that the job or even the industry will never get better.
When you’re out of options, when you’re feeling like it can never get better, you’ve lost hope, and it’s time to find it or get out.
Holding back all the evils of the world, hope can be powerful yet beleaguered. Hope allows us to continue with the belief that it will get better someday. But what about the case where hope is gone, or, equally challenging, when hope drives you to continue to fight a fight that you were never supposed to be in?
When you can no longer find hope where you have been looking, it is time to look somewhere else. Another job or another industry, someplace where hope may have taken residence. That may mean leaving what you know for something unknown, but when you’ve already searched everywhere, it’s time.
There are also times when hope drives you to fight the same fight day after day, but it’s not the right fight for you. You can do it. You can continue to slog your way through, but it’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s not that anyone is directly saying it, but it’s just something you know. You’d be better someplace else or doing something else.
The Last Resort
When people are feeling burnout, the desire to change jobs or industries is often the first thing that people feel. It’s an escape. However, it’s not always the best answer. Too often, burnout follows them on a six-month delay. Knowing when it is the right time to change requires separating the challenges of the day to day from the deeply-held thoughts and feelings that there has got to be something easier, better, and more suited for you.
While there’s no one answer as to when you should consider a change of roles, companies, or industries, the sign posts that lead the way out of burnout point towards something unresolvable in the current situation no matter how much support you receive, self-care you do, or even how well you manage the demands. You simply won’t be able to feel like the results you are getting are right or enough. When you see those signs, then maybe it is time for a change, so you can leave burnout behind.