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Burnt out at Work? Part 3 of 4.

January 8, 2020 | Leadership, Self Help

If you have just joined us, I have been writing down some thoughts that I have shared in-person with groups about workplace burnout. Transforming a presentation into a blog post has also allowed me to expand on some areas and share more experiences.

Recap

To recap, my experience has shown that I begin to experience workplace burnout when I’m not taking time to take care of my workplace wellbeing. I have also been able to break down four areas, which I call the pillars to workplace wellbeing. They are:

  • Setting Boundaries
  • Gaining Perspective
  • Connecting with my Mission
  • Practicing Self Care.

Connecting with my Mission

Some people may be able to compartmentalize their lives. They can go to work, make the money they need to make to support them and their families, go home, and then do it over again the next day. No apparent mission or passion needs to be involved. I, on the other hand, need my work to connect to a higher purpose. I think good leaders should help their employees do this by connecting dots between the company’s mission statement and their everyday work. However, we cannot sit around and expect some else to do this for us. Not all leaders agree with my opinion.

Ultimately, My Responsibility

Since I cannot count on my boss or the CEO of the company in which I work to connect those dots, I believe it is up to me to connect them. One way I have done this is to make a list of my job responsibilities in one column, and then in the other column, I list how completing these objectives affects others. In a third column, I record how not executing my objectives affects others (other co-workers, customers, other folks not directly related to the business, and my family and friends). After doing this exercise, I can quickly see how my work is essential and how it can carry out the company mission.

What if My Company’s Mission is Weak?

When the company’s mission is weak or unclear, I connect to my personal mission. My personal mission is to: Take care of my family physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I have not listed these in any order of importance. However, the work I do is always done to take care of my family financially. Without this job or any way of making a living, I would not be fulfilling my mission to take care of my family financially. In earlier years, I focused more on making more money to buy more stuff and store in my coffers. I understand we need money to buy what we need and we need to save for our future. However, if this is the only reason I have to make money, I quickly realize I will never have enough. Working for a mission for me contributes to my workplace well-being, working for material wealth….not so much.

Personal Mission Can Trump Company Mission

I once worked with a company that provided medical care to Veterans. Most of the people that we hired were there because of a sense of personal mission. They were a Veteran. Their child or parent was a Veteran. Maybe their spouse was a Veteran. One co-worker used to respond with the phrase, “My privilege” when a Veteran thanked them after receiving services. To these employees, it was a privilege to serve them. Other companies in our line of business that, in my opinion, did not treat their employees fairly, still had quality individuals working for their company, and the company didn’t experience high turnover. Why? The employees were connected to a higher personal mission, making them love their job regardless of other working conditions. This phenomenon is a reminder to me that if my purpose is more significant than “the job,” my chances of experiencing burnout are less.

It’s Your Turn

What is your personal mission? How do you live that out in your work?


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