Career Corner: How to Tell the Boss You’re Burned Out

man experiencing burnout at his desk

American culture prides itself on people who push themselves to the limit. So you risk facing a lot of criticism for saying you need a break. Just look at some of the reactions Simone Biles got for prioritizing her mental health over competing in the Olympics. Many bosses are unsympathetic and consider taking a break to just be laziness.

If you have been bottling up your own feelings of burnout, it is likely because you fear your boss replacing you if you confess the truth. However, you might have more leeway than you think nowadays with the pandemic. The Wall Street Journal tackled the topic and offered advice on how to broach the conversation with your boss.

The first thing to bear in mind is to focus on what can help you rather than how you feel. It is okay to have a lot of negative emotions about your work, but blurting all that out to your boss likely won’t be received well. Save the emotional details for some time with a therapist, and keep the conversation with your boss focused on what they can change for you.

The Wall Street Journal shares how one individual was pushed to the limit with increased expectations for the quarter. She suffered through that period but got the job done. However, in hopes of preventing such circumstances from becoming the norm, she spoke to her boss and explained what a toll that had taken on her. Her boss was receptive in realizing that subjecting one person to twelve-hour days for months was not healthy and it needed to change, something that was accommodated.

Such an example shows a good tactic of using a moment of success to leverage that you are not lazy, but simply pushing yourself too hard. And the request for change was something concrete in not putting that much work onto one person again.

Don’t wait until your health and performance start to slip before you say something. Speak up about your burnout before it becomes part of your routine.

For additional strategies to consider, check out what the Wall Street Journal says about burn out by clicking here.


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