Business Magazine

Watch Out For Your Burnout Strengths

Posted on the 20 May 2011 by Shrinkingthecamel

Watch Out For Your Burnout StrengthsI always thought that posting about someone else’s blog post was lame and redundant, especially when all you are doing is repeating and summarizing the original blogger’s idea. Wouldn’t I rather be original and unique? 

Well. Yesterday that all changed after I read my friend Claire Burge’s post on her journey through career burnout, Three Things to Do When Your Career Hurts You.  This is one of the best stories I have read recently on career. I can’t say what struck me most about this piece.  Maybe it’s her blunt honesty. Or her insightful self-awareness. Or her persistance on the journey. Or her poetic writing voice, which must be heard in Clarie’s sweet South African accent. Or the fact that I imagined the movie version of this story, starring Keira Knightly.

Claire was feeling what we all feel at some point in our careers: a bland sense of malaise, showing up at work but not wanting to do anything, and not knowing why. Not one to sit around in her own stink, Claire made calls to 37 different industrial psychologists to find a resource to help get her career back on track. It was number 38 that helped her break through.

They got together and evaluated Claire’s career based on four criteria:

1. Her beliefs2. Her core values3. Her personality4. Her skills: burnout and motivating skills But there was something new here that caught Claire, and myself, completely off guard: Burnout skills? I’ve never heard of that before. Burnout skills are the actions at which you excel, that people identify as your strong points but which drain you of motivation. They are unable to energise you and therefore deplete you without refueling you.  Apparently, Claire’s entire career had been built on her burnout skills. And she was withering away. Now she’s transformed her work into her energizing skills, and she comes home at the end of the day to her husband and says this: “It didn’t really feel like work today.” The movie ends with a scene of Keira Knightly sitting in a Dublin cafe, laughing and chatting with a group of  hip, young professional co-workers from her cutting-edge consulting firm as they map out innovation plans to transform their latest client forever. The camera pans back to the busy street, then to the city skyline, and the music builds while the scene fades out as a jet stream crosses the clear blue sky. Roll credits.   You must read Claire’s post here.

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