Burnout is a very real thing and is, unfortunately, all too common in the modern workplace. It’s defined by the World Health Organization as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout can lead to lack of effectiveness at work, feelings of exhaustion, and even depression.
If you’re starting to feel like you’re burnt out, it’s time to tell your boss. But how do you do that in an appropriate and effective way?
Be open and honest.
Be completely transparent with your employer about what’s going on. Refer to the situation as “burnout,” rather than explaining it in uncertain terms or ambiguous language. Explain how you’re feeling and how it’s affecting your work and your fellow employees around you. You might even go into how it’s affecting your life outside of work — perhaps you’re having trouble sleeping or getting sick more often.
Offer solutions, not just problems.
The key is to offer some solutions to your manager or supervisor, not just the problem itself. If your workload is too heavy, try seeing if offloading some of your work onto fellow team members could make a difference. If your schedule isn’t working for you, talk with your manager about adjusting it. Often, these simple steps are all that’s needed to get your burnout under control and start feeling better again. And your boss will appreciate that you’ve come to them with a plan for moving forward.
Ask about time off.
If burnout is serious enough, it’s worth taking time off. Make it clear to your employer that you’ll need time away from the job if you’re really struggling. It’s time to use that paid time off or vacation time.
Think about making a change.
In some cases, especially if your manager isn’t receptive to your concerns or unable to make workload changes, it’s time to think about making a major change in your working life. If some time away from the job doesn’t cut it, it’s time to start thinking about hunting for a new job. In many cases, finding a new position with a company that suits your work/life balance.