5 Ways to Avoid Job Burnout: Tips for Recent Grads

Nowadays, finding a job after college is probably one of the most grueling tasks we will have to endure in our professional careers. If you happen to land a full time salaried entry level position within the first year after graduation, then kudos to you! While you should consider yourself one of the lucky ones — being that most recent grads are unemployed or underemployed — there are a few things to consider once you begin employment.

As most of us are aware (and is the reason why there is a lack of jobs), companies have been downsizing since the beginning of the recession, and as a result, tend to place greater constraints on their current workforce in order to do more with less. This means workers are more prone to job burnout.

Although all of us expect to be stressed at work at some point or another, job burnout is a specific type of stress that can cause substantial health problems if it’s not addressed. According to Mayo Clinic, job burnout is “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” Even though job burnout is chronic stress that develops overtime, thereare five ways to adjust to your new job and its challenges:

1) Set realistic expectations: Come to terms with the fact that you will not start a new job knowing everything. Therefore, the mantra “fake it until you make it,” will not work in this scenario. You’re better off asking questions and utilizing your resources (seeking the help of experienced employees) when necessary. Make the most of your first job by treating it as a learning experience.

2) Take care of yourself: This means getting a good night’s rest, exercising and eating healthily. Incorporating such habits will give you the energy you need to get through a hard day’s work. You might have been able to get away with staying up all night, eating processed foods, and counting a walk to class as your exercise in college – but that simply won’t do you any justice in the working world.

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3) Make time for your hobbies and interests: Realize that you do have a life outside of work, and in order to feel more fulfilled, you need to focus on what makes you happy. Forgetting or neglecting what you personally enjoy puts you at a higher risk for burnout.

4) Take breaks: Eating lunch somewhere else besides your desk or taking a 15-minute walk will help you recharge your batteries and maintain productivity.

5) Set boundaries: There will be plenty of times where you won’t complete all of your tasks each workday. You may try to overcompensate by consistently working long hours, to which your boss will certainly not object, but you must set personal boundaries in order to maintain a proper work/life balance. Learning how to prioritize your workload (accomplish your biggest or worst tasks first thing each day) will allow you to efficiently meet deadlines.

Credit to Harvard Business Review, LearnVest, and EmpowHer for the article.