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 Take Steps to Avoid Burnout in Your New Job

By Joe Stein

Last year in these pages, I wrote about the steps you can take to avoid burning out while conducting a job search. Most of these tips focused on your time management skills to ease the stress of looking for new work.
What is often overlooked is how to manage the opening weeks and months of your new job to avoid this same type of burnout situation. It is quite understandable that a new employee desires to make a positive first impression and make an immediate impact in his or her new role. This, however, needs to be balanced with ensuring that you place yourself in a position where you will have long-term success.
Since each week of WNYJOBS is filled with pages of open positions, it seems a natural progression to assume that, as a reader, you will be receiving an offer and starting a new job soon. So, let’s take, a review, of some of the steps you can take when starting a new job, to make sure you make an instant positive impact while avoiding burnout.
- Take Notes and Be Sure to Review Them – One of the biggest areas of stress is around the idea that you need to remember so much in your first few week on the job. It is easy to become frustrated by the thought of how you are supposed to remember everything. During the first few weeks, you will be introduced to many people and, of course, will receive training regarding policies, processes and systems. So often when I see new hires struggling, it is because they are trying to remember everything and they easily become overwhelmed. Bring a notepad (and pen!) and take notes. Write down what your trainer is telling you, step-by-step. You will probably find that the Trainer appreciates you taking the time to do this. When I have spoken to a frustrated Trainer, it is usually because they believe a new hire is not paying close enough attention and not taking notes. When you get an opportunity, write down who you have been introduced to, what they do, and perhaps a brief description of them so it will make it easier to recognize them. Then, just quickly review these notes on a periodic basis until you find you have committed your key points to memory. What is not written down is often not remembered.
- Stay Organized – When a person is not organized, they typically will expend more time and energy on activities (and feel the stress of it!). Take a few moments each evening to review your appointments, and make a reasonable and achievable “To Do” list with the proper prioritization of the tasks that need to be completed. This will assist in allowing you to “shut off” your mind at bed time and help you get off to a good start in your new day.
- Get Enough Rest – It is very tempting to squeeze more out of each day by reducing the amount of rest you receive each night. Studies on the subject show that a proper amount of rest is a key to both physical and mental health. Reducing your sleep will just leave you exhausted for work and make it more difficult to focus, learn, and remember. - Do Something for Yourself – Work into your calendar some activities that will recharge your batteries. This can come from a variety of sources, so pick what seems to work best for you. Examples range from walking your dog, to watching a movie, or going to the gym for a full workout.
- Stay on Diet – Of course, it is to your benefit to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. A key to focus on in this area, however, is to make sure you are taking the time to eat (i.e., a lunch) and not working through everything. You will also want to avoid eating on the run (i.e., in the car) in an attempt to save a few minutes.
- Don’t Volunteer for Everything – It will be a key to know your capacity and limits. It will be very tempting to want to put your hand up and volunteer for every project (or want to fix everything immediately if you see things that are wrong). You will need to have the self-confidence and self-awareness to manage yourself in this area. By doing this, you can most likely avoid an awkward situation where you have to speak to your Manager about taking on too many assignments. No one is expecting you to work day AND night when you start a new job (at least they shouldn’t expect that).
Starting a new job can be a whirlwind of activity, new experiences and (unfortunately) stress. It is important that you strike the proper balance between focusing all your time and attention on the role, and finding room for yourself along with family and friends. You and your employer will be better off in the long run if you do!
As always, best of luck in your job search!
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJOBS.com readers. It is not meant to provide advice with request to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.