Woe Is Me! “I Need a Job to Move Out of My Parents’ House, but I’m So Burntout. How Do I Deal?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“It was a total nightmare at my last place of work. There was too much work, endless calls, and I barely slept. I was also body-shamed there; it was too toxic. I had to bear all this for a very minimal salary, but I did it anyway for exposure. I’m horrified to work again, I’m afraid of the emotional and physical toll it will take on me. Also, the family pressure is too much right now to get married. I really need a job to move out but I’m burnt out. How do I overcome this?”
— In pursuit of freedom
SM: First of all, you should know that you’re not alone. Especially since the pandemic, several studies have shown an exponential increase in burnout among workers. At this point in time, you do need to take up another job, and I 100% understand where the fear and anxiety are coming from, but maybe you can use that in a positive way to try and unpack what all it was about the previous job that got to you, and how you can ensure that you don’t compromise on and set boundaries around all of those things. I know a friend who did this, and even though they were in consulting, which is known for no work-life boundaries and long hours, ultimately, their managers compromised on their conditions and were even able to appreciate how setting such boundaries helps with working better. I hope that helps. You can also seek out professional counseling and help from peers and seniors in similar industries to try and understand how they navigate work without burning out and setting boundaries.
RN: Is there a way you can crash at a friend’s or a trusted person’s place for a while to figure this out? It really sounds like you need quiet to just think things through. Getting a new job that isn’t as toxic as the old one is easier said than done. Does studying further sound like an option to you right now? That way you can do something interesting without dealing with family pressures (or at least without being at home to deal with them). I’m so sorry you’re in such a tough spot — you seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place here. See if you can find somewhere to stay with your savings or with someone you trust, take some time to think through things, and figure out the next steps after you feel a bit rested. Even if that’s just one week of giving yourself permission to not think about anything at all and do what you love, it could be rejuvenating enough to see you through your next steps.
DR: It seems like you’re stuck in a really difficult situation, and I’m so sorry. For starters, I think it’s important to do whatever you can to not worsen your burnout. What if you start therapy to facilitate a recovery, and tell your parents your dealing with really bad mental health, and ask them to pause till you can conclude therapy? If they’re like most Indian parents, they wouldn’t want potential matches to know you’re in therapy, right? So, that could give you some leeway from the pressure to get married while your work on recovery — for as long as it takes — while starting to look for a job, maybe, a couple of months from now as you’re starting to feel better. Hiring takes some time, so if you manage to get a well-paying job in, say, six months now, you can just move out! The pressure might be easier to deal with from a distance.
PB: A toxic workplace can endanger our mental, physical and spiritual health forever. It really affects your perception of what is acceptable and allowed in a professional workplace. I can fully understand your trepidation and anxiety in looking for a new one. What if the new one is even worse?
But our home environment and atmosphere have the same effects on us too- and currently, you’re stuck in a rock and a hard place. I’d suggest doing research into the signs of a toxic work environment- more often than not they are well hidden, true. But there are a few signs that quickly become apparent. If they give practiced, vague answers about what the work-life and payment is like, then you know they will always put the company above you- even if they’re in the wrong. That’s an example, but I would highly suggest doing study and research about looking for red flags in a job interview, and then earnestly start your job search again.
Very rarely can we change our family’s views, but relatively more common is an understanding and empathetic workplace. I hope you don’t lose hope and keep trying. Because isn’t that what life in all forms is about?
Have some chai first though.