• The Duffer's Diary

How *not* to hate your job after burning out.

After taking some time out with work related stress, you’d be forgiven for hoping that you might be able to pick up from a better place. As oppose to just going back to the place where you fell off.


Ultimately, the burned out person has a variety of possible options (in theory) but, as real life has a nasty habit requiring one to do things like pay for accommodation, heat, food and transport, a lot of people go back to where they were before, in a distinctly different shape to the one where they started, i.e. bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, keen and motivated.



So here's to easing yourself back in (it’s do-able if you plan…)


  1. If you’ve got Occupational health involvement, if possible, go back on a phased return, as is your right when returning from illness. It’ll mean that you can rest, test your boundaries, and possibly feedback that what is and isn’t working for you.

  2. Taking a more “back office” role for a little while.

  3. Remember that you are free to set boundaries. One of the reasons that people do burnout in a work context is by trying to be everything to all people.

  4. Self care, self care, self care. If you feel stressed, have 5 minutes, breath, drink tea, go outside and look at a tree.

  5. If it’s someone who’s bugging you, imagine them in dressed as the hind quarters of a pantomime horse, or something else, with a bread roll up their hooter, depending on how vindictive you’re feeling. Just make sure it’s ludicrous.

  6. Take your annual leave/vacation entitlement when you feel the need. If it’s beginning to get gnarly, take a day off – your mental health is more important.

  7. If it’s still craptacular, find a friend to look your CV over, and start looking for something else.

  8. Don’t laminate anyone’s tie – especially when they are still wearing it.

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