Thank you, next. I’m emotionally checked out of my role… now what?

Thank you, next! I’m emotionally checked out of my role… Now what?

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5-minute read

Almost all of us have been there at least once in our lives – being emotionally checked out of our jobs.

Symptoms of this include but are not limited to:

  • You begin to daydream more on the job
  • You feel burnt out
  • You start taking sick days to get out of going to work
  • The quality of your work assignments declines
  • You begin sending out tons of job applications in hopes of finding something better
  • You develop a sheer lack of compassion, caring and/or any form of ownership for the work that you do
  • You experience both mental and physical fatigue
  • You begin to develop and/or express negative thoughts, energy or attitudes towards stakeholders and/or colleagues at your workplace
  • You start counting down the hours and sometimes even minutes to when you can finally leave work to go home

Why does this happen?

There are many reasons we can feel emotionally checked out.

It can be due to difficult colleague(s) (like your manager), lack of equitable compensation, lack of growth opportunities, dissatisfaction with your organization’s culture, or maybe you just don’t feel valued.

These are all valid reasons.

In today’s workplace, it’s very common for people to move jobs throughout their careers. As of 2015, millennials have made up the majority of our workforce… and we’re known for chasing other opportunities if it means our careers will progress.

So what do I do if I feel emotionally checked out?

If, for whatever reason, you’re emotionally checked out of your current role, before leaving your position, I would recommend trying to first address your job dissatisfaction directly with your manager.

This type of conversation may be a little awkward. However it’s an opportunity for your employer to potentially address some of the challenges you raise.

It truly is a ‘make-or-break moment’ for them.

And in doing so, this conversation can reveal the organization’s true attitude/situation, as they are forced to confront your struggles upfront.

In the case that your manager is the main reason you’re feeling emotionally checked out (and you therefore don’t feel comfortable speaking to them directly), you can take this conversation to the manager above them.

Quick tip: Bring a notepad to the conversation so you can take notes during it. This way, it’s easier to record and reflect on your thoughts – you can also better reflect on the conversation later.

Dealing with the reactions

After addressing your job dissatisfaction, there will be 2 general reactions:

1. The manager reacts positively

  • Your concerns may have not been on your manager’s radar. This conversation could thus be an eye-opening moment for them. They could realize they’re on the verge of losing a valuable employee! If this is the case, a plan should be designed in collaboration with yourself and your manager to rectify the issue(s).

Quick tip: Unfortunately, some managers may tell you what they want to hear just so they can keep you for operational convenience. As time will tell, your employer may have zero interest in your job satisfaction. So coming up with a timeline for this plan should be agreed upon.

2. The manager dismisses your concerns

  • This can be a classic response. Here, your manager may dismiss your concerns as being trivial, insubordinate, non-existent and/or unimportant. If this is the case, this can be a big red flag for you (and in some odd way, almost validation of your frustrations) that you should start looking for work elsewhere.

These conversations can help determine if you’re perceived as a valued employee or not. However, you owe it to yourself and your employer to see if changes can be made for the better, prior to you jumping ship.

One rule of thumb: There are always risks to these conversations. Perhaps your manager doesn’t it take it so well and they start spreading rumours about you to your colleagues. Or they could even fire you. It is a potential risk – while these conversations can lead to great rewards and opportunities, there can also be consequences. So while it’s a great first step, needless to say, assess your situation first.

Next steps

If you have decided to move on and to look for your next role, you can find the latest Global Health jobs and sign up for ThriveHire’s email alerts to get curated Global Health opportunities sent directly to your inbox. You can also subscribe to newsletters with organizations that you’re wanting to work for.

Even if you’re in a job that you’re currently happy with, it can be a good idea to have these email alerts coming to your inbox as soon as new roles arise. That way, you never miss out.

Attending networking events is also a great way to have your presence known. When vacancies come up, people in your network will therefore be the first to let you know.

Another option is considering continuing your professional development. Perhaps you want to take a course or enrol in a post-graduate program.

Quick tip: When you’re looking for your next career move, it’s important to reflect on what types of roles you hope to progress to in 5, 10, or 20 years from now. Then work your way backwards. In some instances, your future career goals may require additional education or designations. Or maybe a career switch altogether.

Key takeaways

If you’re able to have a candid and open-minded conversation with your employer about some frustrations you’re currently experiencing at your workplace, it could be an opportunity for you and your employer to mutually sort things out.

But overall, don’t let an organization’s perception of you as an employee doubt your self-worth. If you’re unhappy at your current job, your feelings are often valid. After all, we spend more time in our workplaces than we do at home – you owe it to yourself to work in roles and for organizations that you love.


About the Author:

Zac Hayes is a designated Human Resources Professional and has worked in multiple industries including retail, healthcare, engineering, post-secondary education and also does independent consulting. In addition to his Honours Business Administration degree and a Post-Graduate Human Resources Management Certificate, Zac is passionate about the human capital management side of business and leveraging his skills and expertise to help organizations reach their goals. Zac is a true HR Business Partner and is currently an HR manager for a not-for-profit organization.

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