When you’ve been sitting at your desk so long that the words you are typing almost seem second nature and you can no longer even remember what it was you were supposed to be talking about to begin with, perhaps it is time to take a breather. However, many of us don’t feel as if we can afford (literally) to take a break because we are afraid that in doing so, we might miss an opportunity to stay employed.
I used to swear that I would never work a weekend again as long as I lived when I got out of the police department. “That’s it!” I had declared. After working extremely long hours as a police officer on shifts that started at 6pm and didn’t end until sometimes 9am the next morning, I vowed to never work a shift job ever again. Instead, I wanted a Monday to Friday, 9-5 job- you know- the kind where you could go into work and leave at a decent hour without feeling completely delirious. I eventually got what I wanted, but at the same time, I have realized that most people don’t have to be police officers in order to work similar hours and similar shifts only to come out feeling under appreciated and mostly, worn out.
In fact, most people who work for major corporations often put in hours way in excess of what is required of them- (and without overtime pay!) just so that they can get the job done. Why is this, you might ask? For some people, it is about making a good impression. They think that if they prove what a hard worker they are, that it will give them some leverage over another employee who feels that it is more important to have a social life outside of work. This may be true to a certain degree. However, many employers are taking advantage of the fact that we are in a downed economy. Now they have some leverage over their employees that they didn’t have before. What this translates to is staff cuts and more work being dumped on to each individual employee..work that would normally be done among three to four employees is now expressly the responsibility of one person; and to add insult to injury, they are not being paid any extra for it. On the one hand, both what is happening is that both the employee and the employer know that the economy is rough right now. The employee knows that if he quits, he will have difficulty finding another job (or so he thinks). The employer also knows this. That being said, the best thing that employees can do is try not to burn themselves out with the work that they have been given.
The best way to prevent work burnout is to take frequent but reasonable breaks. If you work in an office, try to make it a point to get up every hour to at least stretch. Depending on where you work, a brief one to five minute walk is a great way to stretch the muscles and come back with a fresh start. For those who work from home, you may want to get up early in the morning to do some work and then take a longer midday break to go and work out for an hour. It will greatly help you when you sit back down to your work!
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