Tired of your job?
That's what the team members on the following pages did. Their true stories of burnout survival reveal that by identifying the problem, you too can love your work again.
I lost my balance
I couldn't enjoy the time I had away from work. I'd be happily involved in some outside activity then remember that tomorrow I had to go back to work. Then my fun would be over.
I wondered what had happened, what had changed. My position in this profession that I always loved was suddenly just a job. Every day for years, I looked forward to work. Every patient, diagnosis, and injury offered an opportunity to learn, use my skills, and become a better technician. I couldn't understand why I had lost that excitement.
I'd read articles and online posts about burnout, but I couldn't believe it might be happening to me. Then these feelings tainted everything. I couldn't sleep. I'd wake up every morning at 3—not on purpose—and e-mail my sister or friend about what I was going through. It was cathartic to put my angst in a message and send it away. Afterwards, I could go back to sleep. But the lost sleep took its toll on me.
Back then, I rarely took a sick day or a vacation day. I was the only technician at my practice, and I knew everyone counted on me. I always prided myself on being conscientious and responsible, but I finally reached the point where I needed time away to relax and evaluate my situation. So I took a vacation.
The first few days I just relaxed. Then I analyzed what was happening in my professional life. I dissected every part of my work week. By examining each day and each aspect of my job, I pinpointed the root of my burnout. I realized that being an effective technician also meant being a normal person with interests outside the workplace. When I returned to work, I was ready to make a change. Soon I started enjoying the job I always loved. And I still do.
Focusing on other aspects of my life renewed my passion for my job. I love my work as a veterinary technician, but I also enjoy being a musician at church and working as an emergency medical technician. I learned that to feel balanced, I need to spend time in all of these roles.
The most important thing I learned is that I must address the signs of burnout before they overwhelm me. Now, if I'm sick, I call in sick. If I feel a situation is spinning out of control, I deal with the problem or take time away to regroup. Because if I'm not feeling up to par, I can't be an effective technician for my patients or my practice.