Q&A Monday: 5 tips to Avoid Burnout


I just got a new job working in IT after leaving the field several years ago from burn out.  I just want to know is there a good way to avoid this new job from driving me away from IT like my old one?

Fred Cutler
Reno, NV


This is a big concern for many techs out there with many companies cutting their IT departments and not cutting the department’s responsibility.  I personally have gone through burnout early in my career and have come up with 5 ways that I can suggest to help.

  1. Take Time OffWith the after hours and weekend work that can become the norm for some IT people out there, they forget the pleasure of taking some time off and relaxing.  Even if you aren’t planning to take an actual vacation, taking some time away from the job can help you recharge your battery.
  2. Get out with Friends/FamilyI always remember the line from The Shining “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.  I’m my life I’ve seen this really have an effect on techs, the more social life they have, the less they’ve seem to burnout.  There’s no science on it, just examples from my life that seems to help other techs.
  3.  Learn other skillsThere are two different reasons you should be doing this anyway.  One, is that learning to do different jobs is good for your career, as learning new software or gaining job experience is good.  Two, doing different jobs at the office can keep the job from getting to boring.  I personally love jobs, that are constantly changing so that the job never gets too repetitive.
  4. Take Care of YourselfThis seems like the simple obvious one, but people still seem to forget that taking care of yourself will help reduce stress.  Getting enough sleep is key to keeping your sanity at the work place, anyone who has not gotten enough sleep can tell you they are a little on edge, so sleep is a key.  Eating well and exercise are also keys to keeping you feeling well (and less likely to feel burnt out).
  5. Learn when your workload is enoughThis is one of the toughest one for techs to do, but most of us will keep taking on more workload because it’s requested of us.  The problem may be that management doesn’t know (or maybe doesn’t care) about your workload, either way it may be good to let them know that you’re currently loaded with work, and it may not be the best time to add more.  I’ve had a couple of times, where I needed to tell upper management, that this wasn’t a good time for a new project.

I’m sure that many of you out there have your own ways to keep yourself from getting burnt out on the job, please share your ways below in the comments.  Burnout is not the same for everyone, and may not be just limited to the tech realm.

If you have any questions that you want Jim to answer, from business servers to home computers, drop him a line at me@jimguckin.com, and he’ll try to answer your question. Check back every Monday for a new Question and Answer session, and during the rest of the week for other technical insights.


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