Possibly experiencing burnout

Issues related to pay, contracts, Agenda for Change, the NHS, the BPS, unions, etc.
Post Reply
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:16 pm

Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by Musical » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:45 am

Hi everyone.

I am almost 3 years post graduating and am in my first AP role. I have not been there long (just under 6 months) but I am feeling so stressed. When I began I loved the role, however over time it has changed for the worse. Physically the role is demanding as my commute is long and I feel stretched beyond my competencies. To my surprise I am receiving good feedback but I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to learn things which ears into my evenings and weekends.

In your opinions when would be a good length of time to leave this post without negatively impacting my c.v and possible future training applications?

The demands of the role are negatively impacting my physical and emotional wellbeing. I have developed insomnia (hence this early morning post), I’m gaining weight, my hair is falling out and mood is generally low or anxious.

Posts: 101
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 10:28 am

Re: Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by Amina » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:42 am

Hi Musical,

So sorry to hear that you're finding your work so exhausting at the moment- it sounds really tough and like it's taking a real toll on you.

It sounds like you really need to have some time (off) for self care, seeing people you love and recouperating!

I'm not sure what you've explored in terms of talking to your employer, but my first thought was about supervision, and whether you've been able to talk to your supervisor about this? You really shouldn't be working beyond your capacity or competencies, and it's obviously having a huge impact on you. I think Maven recently posted the updated BPS AP guidelines on here....

My other thought is that in terms of professional/personal development it might be good to reflect on how you can prevent yourself from getting to this stage in the future. A lot of us are the kind of people who always say 'Yes' to work, work really hard but then sometimes take on a bit too much. It can be easy for an employer to (even accidentally ) overload people. Sometimes manages just don't notice, as they are so busy. It will be great for your career, wellbeing and personal development if you are able to develop skills in saying no, in telling people you have too much on, need to reduce hours, or just that you're feeling overwhelmed (you may well already have done this, so I apologise if this is the case).

Obviously if managers are not receptive, if you feel unsupported or things don't change, then leaving might be the best option. Some AP posts are fixed term for 6 months, so it probably wouldn't be too unusual.

Sometimes we do have to be quite blunt and specific about our needs, as managers are often very busy and under pressure and may not 'hear' us when we try to sibling say we're a bit swamped . It can be really hard to voice fears about our work, our ability to cope etc but actually reflecting on issues and taking them to supervision is a great CP skill- possibly good to reflect on in CO interviews later on too!

Good luck with all this, and I hope you are able to take some time for self-care!

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 7870
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:20 pm
Location: Bucks

Re: Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by miriam » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:17 pm

Well said.

Also, work isn't important enough to risk your health for. If your hair is falling out and you feel stressed and can't sleep then you need to resolve this now, rather than hang on in there because of some idea that longer posts look better on your CV. Apply for other jobs now that are nearer to home or less stressful, work to rule so you aren't taking anything home, and address the issues with your manager. But don't forget that if you need to, you can get signed off sick by your GP for a while.

BTW If you do move on, nobody will look at your CV and think it weird, as plenty of AP posts are fixed term at 6 months (or 8 months or whatever) and lots of people have several short graduate posts until they find one that helps them to really develop.

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

User avatar
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:35 pm

Re: Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by goldflakepaint » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:38 am

Hi Musical,

I'm sorry to hear that you've been going through such a hard time. I have nothing to add to the excellent advice given above but just want to say that I emphasise with your position as I was in a similar situation not too long ago (also with a long commute which by itself has an impact on self-care). I think especially as recent graduates in a highly competitive field, it is easy to place gaining clinical experience above everything else but my experience forced to evaluate what was really important and makes changes to the employment situation that I was in. It seems sensible to start with discussions with your supervisor and manager but it is important to put your mental health first at the end of the day. It is absolutely possible to find a job which reduces the strain you are under currently and is still relevant to your future career aspirations- for me, it was about moving on from an IAPT job where I was untrained to a trainee pwp role closer to home.

Completely agree with what the others have said about length of employment not being too much of an issue- I only worked for four months in my previous job and am not worried about it precisely because it is not that unusual at this stage.

Having been employed as an AP, I'm sure you will have no problems finding a similar position- but maybe take some time to reflect on what would be most helpful to you right now. There is nothing wrong with taking some time out in a less demanding role to recharge and think about future directions. We're all going to be working until we're seventy (at least) anyway so there is no rush!

I sincerely hope that things get better for you whatever you decide to do. Good luck.

User avatar
Team Member
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:55 pm

Re: Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by firegal » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:06 am

All excellent advice.
Like goldflakepaint I was another of the many people who struggled with an AP job that took its toll on my self care and wellbeing.
For me it was a mix of being away from my friends and family (I moved across the country for the job), being given tasks that I didn't feel capable of doing, and downright awful supervision. The worst thing though was falling into that black and white thinking (more likely under threat and stress remember :wink: ) that my only options were to battle through this AP post or give up on my dreams of clinical. Eventually, however, the job just got too much for me and despite worrying that it would mean I'd never get that all important *clinical* experience I fell back on my research strengths and landed an RA post instead.
Turns out that RA post was more valuable to me than another year in that horrid AP post could possibly have been and I'm now halfway through my second year of training :D
It's much better to be in a post where you flourish and develop than one where you struggle and suffer, even if the second one happens to have the more "applicable" job description. If you're in a job that you enjoy you'll be in a better place to reflect on your strengths, and you'll be coming at things from a place of passion and motivation, otherwise the clinical route starts to feel less like a goal and more like an escape strategy!

Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:16 pm

Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by Musical » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:16 am

Hello everyone, apologies for the delayed response.

All of the advice in this thread has been very helpful in allowing me to recognise that no job or career is worth putting my wellbeing at risk.

I love working within mental health, but due to the negative effect my current role is having on my own mental health, it started to make me question everything.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start applying for other jobs, and even making that decision has lifted a massive weight off of my shoulders. Thank you all again.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Posts: 260
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:07 pm

Re: Possibly experiencing burnout

Post by Lancelot » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:09 pm

I usually take the sign of hair falling out as time to change jobs! There is no prize for baldness to get on course - it is not a criterion.

People tend to worry about their CV and length of stay in post but often over-estimate how much employers judge this. After 6 months, it is unlikely they will notice. I would have a careful think about what your next role is and whether you can look after yourself and get support.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest