During this journey of pure uncertainty, I have been blessed to meet the most incredible people. Amy Young is one of them. I am quite confident that she was one of the people I ran with in the dark at 5:30 am with the popular Coach Tooley Run team, yet we never formally met until a dear friend said “you have GOT to meet Amy”. From the moment I met her, I was inspired by her energy and her spirit. I love what she is standing for and how she is a living example of courage. I think you will appreciate her very powerful guest blogger message.
Courage in the Face of Burnout ~ Amy Young
Nearly two years ago, I left what many would consider to be a dream job. I had spent over 15 years climbing the corporate ladder in the media world, first at CBS then as part of Google’s Global Partnerships team.
The perks of working at Google are well publicized, but all the free coffee and nap pods in the world couldn’t make up for the void I felt in my body and mind each day. I tried to work harder, study more and “fake it till I make it”. About three months into the job, severe imposter syndrome set in, opening the door to multiple panic attacks. At the time I felt like a failure, but what I realize now is how long I had avoided my growing state of burnout.
In 2019, the World Health Organization classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon and work hazard. According to the WHO, burnout is classified by three factors: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.
I was in trouble
Long before I moved to Google I was in trouble, I just didn’t realize the signs. I kept ignoring my gut that something was off, pushing my intuition down and pushing forward with work. I had three kids in five years, earned two promotions with three new bosses and raised my level of self expectation all while sacrificing the things I enjoyed doing both inside and outside of my work. I began to fill the void in my soul by filling my ego, buying more expensive clothes, pushing for new marathon PRs and getting that next title. When I reached a career plateau, I thought a new job was the answer, so I answered when Google called.
Using intentional emotional transparency takes courage, but if you find yourself experiencing exhaustion, mental distance, and reduced capacity in either your professional or personal life, I urge you to ask yourself, “What is it costing me to live this way?”. If the answer is too much, have the courage to speak up and seek support. Taking an intentional pause to rebuild your life may be the most important thing you ever do. No job is worth risking your mental health and sanity.
Amy Young is the Founder and CEO of Redefine Possibility (www.redefinepossibility.com), a media platform and coaching service for successful career women transitioning to a more purpose driven life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.