Navigating a career change after burnout

Burnout, the physical and mental exhaustion that stems from too many demands, and too little satisfaction, in the workplace, is real — so much that medical professionals now consider it a distinct diagnosis. And if you’re experiencing any of the telltale symptoms of burnout — frequently becoming sick, feeling negative about your work, neglecting your own needs, and losing motivation — it’s not something you should push to the back burner: chronic stress and dissatisfaction can affect your physical and emotional well-being in both the short and long term.

There are some actions you can take to try to reduce burnout in your current role, like setting better boundaries, practicing self-care, and advocating for your needs in conversations with your manager. But there’s also a good chance that you don’t just need a new job, you need an entire new career path.

Is your burnout specific to your industry?

The past year’s events have illuminated the extent to which your professional field and the structure of your work factor into your overall quality of life. Throughout the pandemic, many already overworked teachers and service industry professionals were expected to adapt to constantly shifting expectations, all while putting their health on the line. Satellite alum and former Oklahoma public school teacher Christina Parker counts herself among them.

“I came to Satellite because I knew I was on the hunt for something else,” she says. “I had been dealing with the general burnout of teaching for a while — being underpaid and overworked — but it began to build during the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, the flexibility of remote work became a lifeline in the midst of unthinkable circumstances for many in tech, sales, and other fields conducive to working from home.

If you’re considering a career pivot as a potential solution to your burnout, congratulations on taking this step, and know that you’re not alone: many Satellite alums like Christina are now thriving in a new workplace after using our Career Accelerator program to take their career in a new direction.

“Satellite taught me that the same core skills I prided myself on as a teacher were applicable in a different field,” Christina says.

Reapplying her skill set has been a welcome challenge for Christina: “I didn’t realize the extent to which I’d lost my motivation. During the Satellite program, I felt that rush of passion again.”

At Satellite, we recognize that a professional transition is exciting and overwhelming. However, by being strategic and proactive about your pivot, you’re sure to thrive in your new path. Here are some general trips to help guide you.

Don’t rush — take time to figure out what you really need from a job.

When you’re unhappy with your job, anything seems like a better option. One of the biggest mistakes people struggling with burnout tend to make is rushing to another opportunity where they encounter many of the same issues that they were trying to leave behind.

The difference between surviving and thriving at work is giving yourself the time to truly explore your strengths (and weaknesses), as well as what motivates and inspires you. The Muse suggests asking yourself the following questions to ensure that you’re approaching your next move with intention:

  • What would I rather be investing my time and energy in?
  • What is my personal mission?
  • What are my top three values?
  • What pivotal experiences have made me who I am today?
  • What obstacles stand in the way of me making a career change?
  • What strengths can I draw on during my transition?

There aren’t necessarily overnight answers to these questions — and that’s a good thing. There’s little room for self-doubt in a career move, and the more clarity you have about your transition, the more confident you will feel going in. So give yourself the time and space to get there.

Turn that self-discovery into action.

Insights are only valuable when they’re turned into action. Most job changes require you tap into your personal network and ask friends or colleagues for advice and potential job leads. But it’s more complicated when you’re venturing into a new direction. You might not have many contacts in your new field. Even so, you don’t have to go at this alone, and there are plenty of resources to keep you supported in your search, from working with a coach to taking a class. Some of these avenues are a bigger financial investment than others, like coaching, but there are many affordable options out there, like Satellite’s programming, which is free.

For Christina, growing a professional network was one of the most valuable aspects of her Satellite experience.

“I met a lot of great people through the program,” she says. “I built relationships with people who will continue to be in my professional life, like my mentor.”

A career move is an exciting step, but it’s also an overwhelming one. We’re here to support you in starting a new chapter. Our Career Accelerator program will help you grow your network and develop the skills required for a competitive job in tech sales.

 Learn more about our Career Accelerator program.

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