It's Sunday night and you're dreading work. Again. You'd rather go to your gyno for a pap smear than head to the office in the morning. You're thinking about starting to look for a new job. But before you do that, it’s important to consider if you might simply be overworked.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re just overworked or if it’s time to look for a new job. When you’re dreading Mondays, it can be difficult to figure out exactly why. The good news is there are some telltale signs that will help you unravel what’s going on. Here are four questions to ask yourself that will give you a clearer perspective.
4 signs you’re being overworked
How do you feel after taking a mini break?
You’ve just come back to work after taking a 4-day weekend to really relax and unwind. You finally took some time to dig into that book that’s been sitting on your coffee table for months. You caught up on some much-needed sleep, and had a fabulous time catching up with your girlfriends at brunch.
If you feel better once you’ve had some time away to recharge – if it relieves even the tiniest bit of stress – you’re probably just overworked.
If you come back from a few days away and you don’t feel any different – nothing’s changed and you’re still feeling angsty about work – it probably means you’re in the wrong job and it’s time to start looking for something new.
What is your outlook?
If you’ve been feeling irritated, impatient and annoyed by lots of little things – things that wouldn’t normally get under your skin – it’s likely a straightforward case of overwork. The same is true if you’ve been feeling disconnected from your co-workers because the huge stack in your inbox continues to demand more and more of your time.
It’s a different situation if you’re not being recognized for the good work you do and the contributions you make to the company. And if you don’t feel supported by your boss, or don’t agree with the mission and values of the company, that’s another indication it’s not the right job for you.
How do you feel about your circumstances?
Has the passion you once had for your work waned? Somehow, doing the work you once loved feels like daily drudgery when it used to be a daily joy. Not to mention that trying to figure out how to change things feels practically impossible. This is a classic case of being overworked.
However, if you’re feeling tired and less enthusiastic about your job because, while you love the work, the team or your boss get in the way of your vision and execution? You often dream about what it would be like to have an amazing, supportive boss at a company that appreciates you for your ideas. This is a clear indicator that it’s not you, it’s the job and it’s time to move on.
To top it off, if you feel like you can’t be yourself at work – and share your honest thoughts and opinions – it’s time to get the heck out of there and find a place where you’re appreciated for being you.
What’s your level of engagement?
Your work demands a lot of your time. You’re responding to work emails at all hours of the day and night. It’s important to you that you’re available and responsive to your clients and co-workers and you don’t feel like you have time for silly things like rest and taking time off. You’re an integral part of the team and “nothing will get done” if you’re not there to make things happen. This is a sure sign of overwork.
A different scenario could be that you’re doing your best and getting your work done but it’s not overly demanding. If you absolutely dread going in to the office each morning, knowing the day will drag on and on, it’s probably a sign your skills and abilities aren’t being utilized – you’re not being challenged – and you’d be better off in a different job.
If the Sunday night blues have become routine, and you’re not sure why, take some time to think through these questions. You’ll get some clarity about what’s going on which will help you figure out what your next steps need to be.
3 steps to take when you’re being overworked
If you are being overworked, following these three steps.
1. Talk to your boss.
If you feel like you are biting off more than you can chew, the first course of action would be to communicate. You can say no. And you can ask for help! Maybe your boss can delegate some of your work to someone else who can lend a helping hand. Or maybe they can offer you more support in order to get your job done more efficiently.
2. Take a step back.
Sometimes, all you need is to take a walk. Step away from your desk, and go outside and get some fresh air. Every now and then, you may just need to take a breather so that you can come back to your desk with fresh eyes. You may even need a full-on vacation. Time off can help you recharge your batteries, so take advantage of it!
3. Find a new job.
If you are finding that you are consistently unhappy in your current job and you have communicated your concerns but nothing seems to be changing, it may just be time to look for something different. Find a new job that offers you a better work-life balance. They exist!