What I Wish I Had Known Before Starting a New Job After Recovering From Burnout

Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

Finding myself at the threshold of a new job after navigating through the shadows of burnout was a beacon of hope. The journey to this point was long, with more challenges than I had anticipated and a story for another time, perhaps.

But the headline here is triumphant: I’d found a job. And oh, what a feeling of exhilaration that was!

With a heart full of eagerness, I looked forward to immersing myself back into the rhythm of work life. I was ready to develop new connections, absorb new knowledge, and, most importantly, reintroduce another sense of normality into my life. Yet, amidst this anticipation, a whisper of unease lingered. Were my senses hinting that the path ahead might not be as straightforward as I hoped?

Was this whisper a sign of an unanticipated truth? You see, I found that stepping into a new role after a period of burnout is packed with its own unique challenges and realisations — realisations and lessons that I wish I knew before starting on this new venture.

So, in the spirit of sharing and growth, I’d like to take you through three lessons that have significantly shaped my journey.

1. The art of setting boundaries

Reflecting on my experience with burnout, I identified a crucial factor that contributed to it. I hadn’t set clear boundaries. And my failure to respect them led others to overlook them as well. The result was an overwhelming stack of work, stress, and obligations. This oversight led to long hours, juggling multiple roles, and a habitual ‘yes’ to every request, all of which took a toll on my well-being.

I was determined not to repeat my past mistakes. So, I embraced the importance of setting and respecting my own limits. This meant learning to say ‘no,’ seeking help when needed, and acknowledging the value of rest and personal time. These steps became the cornerstone of my recovery and a testament to my self-respect.

2. Embrace the journey without rushing

It’s absolutely natural to want to start a new job and make a great first impression. I was eager to rekindle my professional sense of self. However, I figured that diving in headfirst without allowing for a period of adjustment would be counterproductive.

I had to acknowledge that transitioning into a new role is a journey of self-discovery. So, I took deliberate steps to integrate smoothly. Engaging in meaningful conversations with my line manager, understanding my priorities, fostering solid relationships with my team and colleagues laying down the groundwork for success. Patience became my most valued companion, guiding me through the new chapter of my career.

3. Navigating the emotional cycle of change

Once the initial excitement of the new job eventually subsided, I was left in this lull of disillusionment. I was happy, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on this new sensation I was feeling. And it wasn’t until I had a conversation with a colleague, where they shared ‘The Emotional Cycle of Change’, that I started to connect with these feelings.

The Emotional Cycle of Change

In The Emotional Cycle of Change, there are 5 stages: uninformed optimism, informed pessimism, the valley of despair, informed optimism, and finally, success and fulfilment. Understanding this cycle offered a blueprint for managing my emotions through this transition. Embracing this cycle required a vision for the future, an emphasis on potential benefits, and a readiness to face the challenges head-on.

The journey continues

Starting anew after burnout has been an experience, a continuous journey of self-discovery, boundary-setting, and emotional navigation. It’s a path that, when walked with patience and mindfulness, promises professional success and personal fulfilment.

As my journey continues to unfold, these lessons remain central to my growth and recovery. I’m still healing, and I understand that it’s a process that takes time. So, I invite you to share your own experiences.

Have you found yourself restarting your career after a burnout? And what lessons have you learned, and what strategies have helped you along the way?

Your stories are a source of connection and inspiration, offering valuable insights to others navigating similar paths. Burnout is a part of many of our stories, but it doesn’t define us. Whether you’re in the midst of recovery or have emerged on the other side, your perspective is invaluable.

I encourage you to share your thoughts, experiences, and any tips that have supported your journey to thriving post-burnout. Together, we can foster a community that celebrates resilience, self-discovery, and a fulfilling life beyond the challenges.

Thank you for walking this path with me. Your story is important, and so is your well-being. Let’s continue to uplift each other as we embrace the next chapters of our lives with strength and hope.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and if it helped you out, don’t forget to leave a clap or two or drop a comment. You can connect with me on LinkedIn and Medium.

3 Lessons Learnt Post Burnout was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.