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Avoid career burnout with these 5 dos and don’ts


career burnoutIf you Googled “career burnout” and managed to find yourself reading this, chances are that you’re probably experiencing it—at least to some degree. They are many widely-accepted beliefs about career satisfaction and career burnout. It just so happens that most of them—“be your own brand,” “establish a healthy work-life balance,” and so on—are little more than institutionalized clichés. We’d like to offer 5 Dos and Don’ts to help you rethink the way you approach career wealth.

Avoid career burnout with these 5 dos and don’ts

Do focus on substance—not style.

“Be your own brand” is one of the most ubiquitous career success clichés. It’s also one of the most toxic. Why? Because it suggests that you should spend your time shaping what others think of you instead of honing your craft or creating something substantial.  

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once said, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” There’s a lot of truth to this. Look closely at people who have made a lasting impression. Look at those who have built something substantive, timeless and meaningful. Their legacy didn’t come from primping an image.  

Don’t rely on the company to take care of you
Many of us are lucky to work with people who share a same common goal and are surrounded by colleagues and administration that look out for us and help us develop our skill set. Many more don’t have this support. Even the best companies aren’t paternalistic—and even if they wanted to be, they know that this not a self-sustaining model for success. Here’s where you come in: Don’t expect the company to take care of you and for goodness sakes, stop waiting for them to make decisions for you.

Instead, figure out how you can use your passion and creativity inside the organization and how you can pursue better opportunities within (or outside) the company.

Do take note of how the politics work—then avoid them like the plague
We told you not to spend your energy branding yourself. Why then are we suggesting that you take note of the office politics? The answer is twofold: First, because no workplace is immune from them. Second, because hard work alone is not sufficient; you also have to know how to successfully negotiate the social structure.  

Your main focus should be on honing your talent (first), knowing how to navigate the politics (second) and staying apolitical (third).

Don’t buy into the work-life balance hubbub
The dash between “work” and “life” dates the phrase because it subscribes to the notion that “work” and “life” are distinct from one another.

Albert Camus once said, “Without work, all life goes rotten…” He makes a good point. Work is an inextricable part of life.

Work is life. Life is work.

Without one the other becomes meaningless. Camus also said, “but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” He makes a good point about that too. That’s why we need to ensure that our work lives are aligned with our passions. We can’t tell you how to make this happen. What we can tell you, however, is that if we are not living while we are at work, there’s a good chance that life will stifle and die.

Do think critically, ask questions and remain inquisitive
To avoid the office politics and keep your job, you have to sweetly and naively say “yes” to everything. Wrong. Being a “yea-sayer” has costly limitations. Why? Because it paints you as someone who accepts blind obedience over critical thinking.

The most valuable employees ask questions when they don’t understand something so that they can complete the task with passion and creativity. Healthy workplace environments brought you on because you had something they needed; because you have a talent and perspective they don’t.

We’re not suggesting you pull out the trumpet or that you become defiant. We’re simply saying to choose your battles wisely, ask questions, share your measured perspective and remain a critical thinker.