An unkempt apartment was the first sign to Adam Dachis that he had "job burnout," a real condition the Mayo Clinic identifies as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion.
Dachis, a writer for Life Hacker, experienced work burnout from his first job out of college, which included long hours and high stress.
“I didn't really realize what it was doing to me until my parents came to visit, saw the disastrous state of my apartment, and made me aware of what I'd been trying to ignore. (I'm usually a very tidy person, so even a small mess indicates a problem.) After leaving that job I learned more about burnout, how my life was a perfect (and extreme) example, and what I needed to do to change it,” Dachis said in his article for Life Hacker.
Americans on average work 1,800 hours a year, which is 350 hours more than the average worker in Germany and slightly more than the average Japanese worker, according to Proactive Change.
For Dachis, his dirty room was an indication. According to the Mayo Clinic other signs include becoming cynical or critical, losing motivation at work, being irritable with co-workers, customers or clients, lacking satisfaction from achievements, feeling disillusioned about the job, using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better, changing sleeping or appetite habits, and experiencing headaches or backaches.
“When you're truly burnt out, there's very little you'll do that isn't necessary for survival,” Dachis said. ”You not only lose interest in the work that burnt you out in the first place, but in nearly everything else that you do. Fun won't be fun, every little thing will bother you, and you'll be unhappy without fully understanding why.”
Finding out the source of the burnout is key. Generally, it consumes most of your thinking. Dachis had to quit his job in order to recover. The recovery came as he cut out the things causing it. He concentrated on his schedule: what was healthy in order for him to have enough time for himself.
He also suggested applying for jobs you don’t think you are qualified for, as well as jobs that you feel overqualified for, because they may offer the flexibility and control you need.