It can happen to anyone, in any profession. But, arguably, it is a condition that plagues physicians more often than most. The diagnosis? Job burnout. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of job burnout before it does collateral damage to you or to those around you.
To quote Ellen Glasgow, “the only difference between a rut and grave is their dimensions.” But how do you tell the difference between a rough couple of weeks and a real need for a change? Here’s what to look for to determine your prognosis:
You dread Mondays—all of them.
If the thought of going to work makes you feel sick, sad, or suicidal, it’s probably time to leave. You don’t have to love every minute of every day or be best buddies with every coworker, but if your life revolves around watching the clock, your practice or facility isn’t working for you and you probably aren’t providing the best patient care. It’s time to move on and explore other environments to practice medicine.
The stress is killing you (literally).
If fresh stomach ulcers are blossoming in your gut and headaches and heartaches are becoming common ailments, your body may be sending you a signal that you’re allergic to your job. Stress is common among physicians, but if stress from your work environment, workplace culture, administrative issues, or other outside pressures is eating you alive, it’s time transition to a new environment that will give you a little more peace.
You and the new management just don’t get along.
New management has been hired, and you feel he or she will either destroy the organization or drive you insane. The new boss just doesn’t understand the mission of the facility, the approach to patient care or delivery, or the employees who work there – or doesn’t seem to care – and after many months there appears to be little evidence of that ever changing.
You say the word “if” a lot.
If you had chosen a different major, if you had moved, if you had gone into management—guess what? “If” doesn’t matter. The past is dead, and all you have is control over today. Stop “iffing” and start working on your to do list. Promote “if” to a position of “I will.” Explore the possibilities of what your current skills can do for you, or what you need to attain in order to make the ‘ifs’ a reality.
If you know your job is no longer working for you, it may time to learn about your options. You never know what might be out there unless you search, and your dream job could be waiting.