In early 2019, the World Health Organization announced that burnout is now a diagnosable medical condition with symptoms including feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance, negativism, or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy. For ambitious individuals trying to advance their career rapidly, the risk of burnout is even higher. A study conducted by the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence found that nearly 20 percent of “highly engaged” U.S. workers reported experiencing some form of burnout.
Taking on a heavier workload or more responsibilities is often a tactic to advance your career, but it can also increase risk of burnout––which isn’t ideal for either you or the organization. We talked to Booz Allen’s Chief Diversity Officer Marlene Aquino, Fannie Mae’s Vice President of Talent Acquisition & Staffing Programs Teresa Green, and the Leadership Center for Excellence’s CEO & President Karen Coltrane about how they took on more responsibilities while mitigating––or recovering from––burnout. Here are their tips:
1. Check in with your personal values
If you’re looking to take your career to the next level, taking on a heavier workload is sometimes a rite of passage. Before you add more to your plate, “check in with your internal values system first,” Teresa advises, reflecting on when she agreed to more responsibility at work right after maternity leave. “I took the leap, but I didn’t excel initially.” Don’t be afraid to make a decision that’s best for yourself at a given point in your life or career.
2. Delegate and assess your goals
Are there recurring projects that don’t excite you like they used to? Try Karen’s suggestion of “delegating and giving others the opportunity to step up.” Karen added, “a lot of times, I think burnout happens because perfection is a core value of some people’s lives. I try to challenge that and question whether the task at hand is even in line with their long-term goals.” Give a junior employee a new opportunity to shine, while freeing up some time for you to do tasks that keep you feeling fresh and motivated.