Job Burnout and My Employment

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m an Air Force veteran… separated from service in ’95 honorably. Since ’95,I’ve been through 14 jobs all told (9 welding, 1 maintenance and 4 odd jobs for cash). I liked the Air Force(welding/machinist) job and a mining machinery job the best… I’ve been released from probation during the maintenance job and fired from a welding job two years ago over a dispute with the boss about timeliness/quality of my work(which he was becoming more critical about). Most jobs I’ve been laid off from; however three weeks ago I was laid off from my last job after an anger episode I displayed after a project I was working on needed rework when I made a mistake due to not understanding what was to be done.

My last boss and most of my supervisors agreed that I do good work overall (I hold a welding certificate from the state of Illinois and Missouri), but I’m feeling increasingly resentful towards my career field due to lack of work, layoffs,minimal pay/benefits when I’m working, ill equipped shops, a**hole type coworkers/supers at some jobs,etc. My wife is going through stressful times trying to help/care for her mother,who has some form of dementia and is uncooperative and combative in some instances… And our 16 year old son is having trouble in/with school.

All of this adds up to some hard times emotionally/mentally for me and all of us. I myself have noticed I’m getting a “shorter fuse” so to speak with my job issues.. and I don’t like it. I’m afraid I may already be unemployable since I’ve sent out over two dozen resumes/applications earlier this year and have attended six interviews with no results. Any and all words of wisdom,advice,recommendations,etc. will be much appreciated. Thanks for your help.

A: Yeah. Times are really hard for the trades. I do sympathize with how frustrating the job situation is. It also sounds like your house is becoming an emotional pressure-cooker. You’re angry. Your wife is stressed. Your son is having some troubles of his own. As tempting as it is to want to sink into a depression, it certainly won’t help. In fact, you’ll end up feeling even worse because then you’ll be depressed as well as jobless.

I have to tell you: 2 dozen resumes and 6 interviews is barely scratching the surface when it comes to serious job hunting. The rule of thumb is that unless you are making 2 contacts a day, you aren’t really looking. Finding a job is your job right now. That means dedicating at least 40 hours a week to the project by searching the job market, making personal contacts, arranging for informational interviews, and perhaps searching farther afield than you have been.

Or — maybe it’s time to retool. At only 45 years old, you have a whole career span (20+ years) available to you. If you go back to school to learn an additional skill set, you may make yourself more employable. If we were talking in my office, we would also start to brainstorm other job possibilities for you. Some jobs might be related to what you already do but I’d also encourage you to think about other options that you maybe never allowed yourself to think about before. If you’re on unemployment, there might be funding available for you to retool. As a vet, you may also have educational benefits coming to you. Do check with your local VA to see if they have career counseling or job placement counselors available.

We’re not done yet: I also hear you when you say that your “burnout” plus the home situation is resulting in a short fuse. It might be that you have more of a chip on your shoulder than you realize. People are surprisingly sensitive to when there is a powder keg in the room. It doesn’t make for good relationships with co-workers and bosses. An anger management group or a course in conflict resolution might give you some better tools for handling your frustration so you can be effective, not just angry. This would be helpful on the home front as well as on any job. Again, check with your local VA. They might be able to tell you where to get that kind of help.

I’m impressed that you wrote to us for suggestions. You are doing your best to take responsibility and to take charge of yourself. That takes some of the burden off your wife and it is a positive role model for your son.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Job Burnout and My Employment. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/02/05/job-burnout-and-my-employment/