Job Burnout is Brutal

Job BurnoutJob burnout is a very disheartening ordeal to experience. How do I know? I’m burned beyond a crisp right now!

Up until this point in the brief existence of Personal Finance Utopia, I haven’t really shared too much about myself in any of the posts other than discussing my recent investment loss in How to Emotionally Deal with an Investment Loss. I also detailed why I had my wife open a Roth IRA in Roth IRAs Are Evil. Going forward that’s going to change as my intent for this site is to bring informative personal finance articles and share stories about my own personal situation as well. (Side Note: You can learn lots about me though in my foreclosure nightmare and how my wife and I beat over $140k of debt).

So, let’s get back to job burnout…

Who Am I And What Do I Do?

Let’s go back all the way to the beginning…I was born on — just kidding! While I won’t bore you with my life story, suffice it to say that I’ve never really had any strong inclinations about a career. Some people know they want to be a doctor, lawyer, firefighter, etc. Nothing ever really stood out to me as appealing when growing up – sad, I know. In any case, when I started college I knew I needed to pick a major so I ended up choosing architecture because, hey, designing houses sounded kind of neat. That only lasted about a semester or so and I was back to the drawing board (pun not intended).

I pondered it some more and figured a business degree was the way to go primarily because I assumed it would allow for a wide range of career options. As for my major, I selected accountancy since it’s essentially the “language of business” (if you understand the financials you understand the company). I stuck with it this time and graduated Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors).

How many millions of business majors are there? Lots. I decided I needed to further distinguish myself and obtained my MBA from a nationally ranked business school. It was a costly pursuit, but I think I can safely say it’s paid off.

In the meantime, I held various positions in public accounting and in the mutual fund and banking industries. While some positions and companies were more tolerable than others, my job has always felt like just that – a job. Right now I’m a senior financial analyst at a Fortune 50 company and it’s more or less the same mundane situation.

Job Burnout – Why Am I Tired Of My Career?

  • Not Making a Difference – I crunch numbers, make some accounting entries, manage financial statements, and forecast results. At the end of the day, my contributions get sucked up and lost in the corporate vacuum. So what if a project I worked on saved $10 million when the company has billions in profit? And who am I really benefiting anyway? Nameless, faceless shareholders? The intrinsic satisfaction is missing. I’m not saying I want to go join the peace corps to “change the world” (nothing wrong with that by the way!). I just need more value from my work…something to feel passionate about…something to look forward to each day.
  • Don’t Feel Like Playing the “Corporate Game” – Straight up, I’m not a fan of what I term the “corporate game.” Schmooze with right people and you go to the top. Don’t make the right allies and you’re destined to toil away at the lower levels (mid-management at best). Add to it that you’re just a number to the company. They’ll lay you off in a moment’s notice without even batting an eye.
  • Disrespected – I’ll remain vague here, but my responsibilities have nearly tripled over the past year yet I’ve been given no promotion. The worst part is I know all of my counterparts with the same exact job description are scoped higher than me. I broached the topic several times – my manager even admits my case is “strong” – but nothing ever happens. I get the run around and mumbo jumbo about budget constraints and even “other people need to be fixed first.” Talk about disheartening. It’s the stuff from which a job burnout is made!

Options To Overcome My Job Burnout

  • Status Quo – I could do nothing and keep riding it out which is what I’ve been doing for a while now. I don’t really view this as a sustainable option seeing as how my job burnout is intensifying as time progresses. Likelihood: Low
  • Internal Job Switch – The company I work for is large and there are plenty of other finance opportunities. There’s also options in similar business support/analytics roles. With my MBA I could probably move into marketing or some ancillary field. The problem I have here is that I feel any such move would result in the same ultimate situation…same corporate environment, same silly problems, different faces with which to deal. Likelihood: Medium
  • Leave for a Different Employer – Jump ship, right? I’ve talked to a few co-workers recently and the conversation went something like, “say, you know Horatio Hornblower? Yeah, he left and went to Awesome Company. He’s making more money and he’s less busy!” Sounds too good to be true. The grass is always greener on the other side. That’s not to say I couldn’t find a worthwhile and better opportunity elsewhere. I believe I could, but the search would be pretty exhausting and, in the end, I’m hesitant the end result would find me playing the “corporate game” yet again (job burnout once more). Likelihood: Medium
  • Career Change – I’ll go ahead an acknowledge the fact that technically I could make a complete career change. Doing so would most likely require going back to school. I’m not at all wild about taking that path (and accumulating another round of student loans!). Plus, I would need to identify an area of extreme passion and I still haven’t found that (I guess I could give architecture another shot ;-)) Likelihood: None
  • Turn Side Hustle/Online Income Into Full Time Self Employment – This is by far the most appealing, but also the most unrealistic especially considering I just began my blogging journey. I’ve scoured many a blog and the range of success is fairly staggering. Some are earning 6 figures in just a few years while others appear to be grossing a few hundred dollars per month after years of dedication. So, it’s quite difficult to gauge the feasibility of this option. Could I be one of the ones who achieves big things or will I end up among the majority who never make it in the blogosphere? Likelihood: High (that I will try); Low (that it will be an actual solution to my job burnout)

Kicking Job Burnout in the Butt: My 5 year goal

Let’s get straight to the point here – within 5 years I want to be a full time online entrepreneur. I realize that’s a long time from now. While patience is a virtue, I should get a sense much sooner if that goal is truly attainable. Right now I don’t have a detailed plan on how I’ll accomplish this aspiration. That doesn’t matter yet though. I’ll figure it out as time progresses and I’ll be sure to share it here at Personal Finance Utopia. Stick around and see how I fare!

Does anyone feel my pain? If yes, what are you doing to remedy? Have you overcome job burnout previously? How did you do it?

 Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

33 Responses to Job Burnout is Brutal

  1. Sam August 15, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    I have definitely felt your pain before. It took me about two years from the decision to leave to actually leaving. Negotiating a severance was a HUGE catalyst too and I wrote a book about it. Never quit, get laid.

    How long have you been working now?
    Sam recently posted…The First Million Might Be The Easiest: How To Become A Millionaire By Age 30My Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      Hey, Sam…I’ve seen your book listed and discussed on your site. It’s a pretty compelling book topic and I’d most definitely be interested in it if/when I ever get to that point. If I got a copy now I think it’d just make my job burnout worse because I’d be too tempted to prematurely force my own layoff!

      • retirebyforty August 16, 2013 at 9:27 am #

        You should get the book at least a year before you leave. It takes time to implement all the things Sam recommended. It would help if you’re thinking about changing company as well.
        I hated the corporate game too. That’s why I’m never going back to that environment. Anyway, I think it’s never too late to switch career. You just need to save up a nice cushion before you take the leap.
        good luck!
        retirebyforty recently posted…Peer to Peer Lending Is A Pretty Good Passive InvestmentMy Profile

        • Mr. Utopia August 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

          Thanks for the timing tip, RB40. I’ll have to plan ahead if/when I reach my goal.

          Yes, I agree it’s not too late to switch careers. My problem (and I know it’s my own fault) is there’s nothing I’ve identified that interests me (MLB player doesn’t count!). I’m not going to switch for the sake of switching.

  2. Michelle August 15, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Great post. I have job burnout right now and that’s why I plan on leaving soon. That’s my solution! 🙂
    Michelle recently posted…Four Expenses that Aren’t Worth the MoneyMy Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” must be glorious, Michelle! I’d say lucky you, but you’ve worked hard to earn it!

  3. The Warrior August 15, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    Try just seeing your job as a job then throw all of your interest and energy towards the side hustle. The more you focus on the things you want to do and place the proper energy to those things, the sooner you can make them the full time gig.

    Good luck

    The Warrior
    The Warrior recently posted…Why Cash is Better than Plastic for My FamilyMy Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      That’s what I’m attempting to do, Warrior. Unfortunately, because it is just a side gig right now, I’ve still got to put my regular job first since it’s what pays the bills. I will admit, though, that embarking on my blog does intensify the job burnout feeling some since a good portion of the time when I’m at work I’d rather be working on my blog!

  4. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen August 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Hope you find the right path for yourself! Good luck! I definitely feel like right now I’m not sure where to go in my career. It’s hard always knowing what the next step is.
    Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen recently posted…Stop and Smell the FlowersMy Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks, Christine. I’m a bit envious of those who’ve always known their true calling. For those of us who’ve never known, we’ve got to keep our eyes out for the right opportunities. I’m hoping the online gig will pan out for me, but right now that’s so far away it’s an ambition more than anything else.

  5. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides August 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    I had job burnout in my last job. It was unbearable to the point where I hated Sundays because I didn’t want to go back to work on Monday. I refused to stop looking for a new job and eventually found one that I love. It felt so great when I left that job!
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted…Are Safe Types of Investments Risky?My Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      I’m glad you ended up finding a job that you love, Jon. While I am definitely experiencing job burnout, I wouldn’t quite say it’s unbearable (although I did experience that with my previous job). I’m just worn out and a bit disillusioned and wanting something more fulfilling.

  6. DC @ Young Adult Money August 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I’ve had the opposite problem – similar responsibilities while what I really want is more responsibility. Thankfully I just got pulled into a new project.

    I have experienced burnout more so from running my site while working full-time in finance. The blog takes up most nights and weekends, at least portions of them, as well as mornings and occasional lunch breaks. I have seen some results, though, and plan to continue to push it and see how far the site can go.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…3 Blogging Tips and an iPad Mini WIFI and $250 Cash GiveawayMy Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 15, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      Hey, DC. I completely hear you about the burnout from working AND doing the blogging on the side. You’ve obviously been at both longer than I have, but even in the short time I’ve been up and running with this site it’s been whirlwind days. I’m glad your positive results are providing further momentum. I’m hoping for the same scenario before too long.

  7. Untemplater August 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    I totally know how you feel. It can feel so draining and frustrating. I think a 5 year exit plan sounds like a great goal. It gives you time to really work on saving aggressively and build up your entrepreneurial plan.

    • Mr. Utopia August 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Sydney. I chose 5 years because it seems much more realistic than over-reaching and establishing something like a 1 year goal. In reality, though, 5 years is a super long time. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to be that patient. But, like I mentioned in my post, I should have much better idea if it’s really feasible as time progresses.

  8. Holly@ClubThrifty August 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    My old 9-5 job literally made me want to die. I was so glad when I was able to say goodbye for good. I think that 5 years is a more than reasonable timeframe to establish some kind of moneymaking business online. Many people do it in much less time than that!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted…Operation Frugality (Plus This Week’s Frugal Moves)My Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

      Thanks, Holly. Yeah, the fact that others have accomplished the same goal in much less time makes me more antsy. Even 2 years seems like a long time from today’s vantage point, though, so I guess it doesn’t really matter right now. 2 years…5 years…sometime in the intermediate future.

    • Abi@Debt Free in Dubai August 19, 2013 at 3:16 am #

      Good to know Holly. I thought I was the only the only one who feels that way about their job. Honestly, there are days I wish a truck or something would hit my car so I don’t have to go in for a month. It’s really THAT bad in my current environment.
      Abi@Debt Free in Dubai recently posted…10 Lessons I Learnt from the Recession – Part 2My Profile

  9. Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter August 18, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I’m sorry you are feeling so burnt out. I know how it feels, I’ve been there. I find that working for a different company can make a HUGE difference in how I feel about my job. Stress is no fun!
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…Make Life Better For Yourself And Just Breathe!My Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

      That’s true, Daisy. A change of scenery might be what the doctor orders. It’s a tough call though, because what I don’t want to happen is to make a switch and have things be just as bad or worse in a totally unfamiliar situation.

  10. Abi@Debt Free in Dubai August 19, 2013 at 3:05 am #

    I feel like you got into my head and wrote this out. Lol. I’m doing something that I have passion for but I’ve been burnt out since January this year and pretty much just going through the motions everyday now for the pay check as I still have about 6 months left on my loan. My responsibilities have tripled without additional pay, a promotion or adequate resources. All the butt munchers are getting ahead without doing any real work. I’m just really tired and don’t want to go in anymore but everyday I wake up, I look at the debt balance on the wall and force myself to keep going. I know what I want to do next and I have no idea if I will succeed but I would like to do it when I don’t have to worry about payments to the bank anymore. Just 6 more months!

    • Mr. Utopia August 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

      Hey, Abi. Seems like things are pretty rough out your way, but the good news is it sounds like you have some “light at the end of the tunnel.” I think it always helps when you’ve at least got a measurable timeline in place. Sure, the wait can still be excruciating. It’s still nice to know there’s an end though. You also mentioned you do have a passion for what you are doing, so maybe you can rekindle that with some time away?

      • Abi@Debt Free in Dubai August 20, 2013 at 12:25 am #

        Yes what I want to do after my debt is paid off is related to my passion. I’m sure once I don’t worry about payments to the bank, I will have a better chance of succeeding.

        • Mr. Utopia August 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

          May time fly by quickly for you then over the 6 months! I wish you success when transitioning to your passion – no more job burnout for you!

  11. Amanda August 21, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    I’m actually off work right now because of “burn-out”.

    I’ve been applying for new jobs since Christmas, but nothing has panned out so far (I live in a small city). I have no intention on going back to my current job, but I’m running out of time and other options. So, like you, I’ve been strongly considering making the switch from a regular “9 to 5” and doing my own thing(s) – being able to make a living sitting at home behind my own computer would be amazing! But yah – it’ll take time to get there, unfortunately. I should probably follow you lead and at least rough draft a 5-year plan on how I intend to do this…

    Best of luck!!!
    Amanda recently posted…If I’m Having a Quarter Life Crisis at 30 Years Old, Does that Mean I’m Going to Live Longer?My Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi, Amanda. I’m sorry to hear job burnout is negatively impacting you too. From what I gather, it’s quite challenging to get to the point where you can support yourself full time online. Some do it faster and some never make it at all! That’s why I laid out a 5 year plan. It seems to more realistic that way and it’ll help keep things in perspective along the way. Probably the biggest challenge will be to just keep on plugging away and not give up if results aren’t achieved after a certain time period. I wish you look as well!

  12. Fatima August 22, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Negativity and corporate “games” is really draining. But when I think about how little I care about those 8 hours of my day in the grand scheme of things, I start to feel a bit better.

    When people complain to me of how much they hate their jobs, I refuse to indulge anyone who isn’t taking concrete actions to do something about it. Having a list of possible ways out makes the fight seem possible.

    Just a few thoughts.
    Fatima recently posted…My Life Hack (That’s right, I said that)My Profile

    • Mr. Utopia August 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      You raise a good point, Fatima. Complaining about one’s job and then taking no action to better the situation is basically just a cop out. That applies to anything in life.

  13. krantcents November 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    I am in my 7th career and thinking about my 8th. I am also 67 years old and still going strong and looking forward to the future. Good luck.
    krantcents recently posted…10 Quotes I Think Are Important!My Profile


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