Stressed and exhausted? Quitting your job may not help

The Great Resignation is about to continue, and young and exhausted workers will lead the charge.

It is according to Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennials Survey.

Burnout has been cited as one of the top three reasons young people quit their jobs, according to the global survey which found that around 40% of Gen Z (19-24) and 24% of Generation Y (28-39 years old) would like to quit their job within two years.

This will continue to be “a significant retention issue for employers,” Deloitte wrote, as some 46% of Gen Zers and 45% of millennials surveyed said they felt burnt out due to their work environment.

It may seem like the only way to escape the grip of work on us is to do something drastic, like leaving our current position altogether.

vanessa bohns

professor of organizational behavior, Cornell University

While experts told CNBC Make It that burnout is felt “in all walks of life,” regardless of age, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to feel the pain.

As the labor shortage continues, employees are taking on more responsibilities at work, hampering their work-life balance and flexibility. This is a big red flag for the younger generations,” said Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, occupational psychologist and behavioral expert.

“By looking for what’s missing in their current roles, younger generations hope to find a better culture and flexibility, which they believe could help alleviate their current state of burnout.”

But is quitting your job really the best solution to burnout? CNBC Make It finds out.

Quitting smoking is not a “panacea”

Quitting your job may be the best course of action in certain situations, such as if the workplace culture is toxic, said Dr. Katrina Gisbert-Tay, a physician trained in psychology and a wellness coach with The Coach Partnership.

However, quitting smoking is the only or best option “less often than you might think,” said Vanessa Bohns, professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

“It may seem to us that the only way to escape the grip of work on us is to do something dramatic, like leave our current position altogether.”

Bohns added, “In many cases, we can do more to change our current situation than we realize.”

…never underestimate a company that will listen, recognize and encourage change to improve areas of employee dissatisfaction.

Dr. Natalie Baumgartner

work psychologist

“We might assume that some demands – more flexible working hours, shorter weeks, a sabbatical or just a long vacation – are not valid in our current job, and so the only way to really change our situation is to leave it for a completely new one.”

Bohns, who is also the author of ‘You Have More Influence Than You Think’, attributed high levels of burnout to technology, which she says has forced people to work around the clock and “the idea that we must…prioritize work over all else.”

“The problem is that these norms are so pervasive that employees can find themselves in a new job, in the same kind of situation they were trying to leave.”

Instead, employees should think about the limits they can set for themselves, Gisbert-Tay added. “[Quitting] feels like the easier route…rather than really figuring out what’s going on.”

“It doesn’t matter what industry, what job you have, you can have the same scenario. The question I ask my clients is where is your personal agency? What are the demands you need to make? How are you going to take care from you ?”

“For me, those are more powerful questions than asking, ‘Should I quit this job?'”

Ways to recover from a burnout

1. Make new arrangements

If you’re feeling burnt out and want to quit your job, Bohns advised you to think about arrangements that “would make you happier in your current position” and ask for them.

According to her to research with more than 14,000 participants, she found that people tend to take an “overly pessimistic view” of the likelihood of people complying with demands.

“If you’re ready to go already, there’s not much to lose, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the response,” Bohns said.

Do you feel exhausted? Think of work arrangements that would make you happier in your current job and ask for them, said Vanessa Bohns, professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

Hinterhaus Productions | Stone | Getty Images

Baumgartner also stressed that young workers “must advocate and express their needs” in the workplace, instead of “throwing in the towel”.

“Identify solutions and opportunities to share your feedback, to partner with management and human resources to address core issues that may resolve the desire to leave.”

She added, “They can always choose to go, but never underestimate a company that will listen, recognize and encourage change to improve areas of employee dissatisfaction.”

2. Know your limits

According to Gisbert-Tay, an important part of boundary setting is being “intentional” in discovering your personal boundaries.

“Like what’s your off time? There will be times when your boss needs something at 7am the next morning…but let’s just know, when does it get too much for you? “

She added that the limit is different for everyone and will change from time to time.

“What you need right now in the current situation may not be what you need six months from now.”

Proactive recovery, through activities such as seeing friends, spending time in nature, and achieving personal goals, fights burnout by re-energizing us.

vanessa bohns

professor of organizational behavior, Cornell University

To deal with overwork at work, Gisbert-Tay also advises young workers to take stock of their time.

“Take 30 minutes to go through your schedule, list the things you need to prioritize, that’s really important. You can have a million things in your schedule, but there will be a top five.

3. Proactive Recovery

Another thing to be intentional about is taking breaks from work and using that time to engage in “proactive recovery,” Bohns said.

“Burnout makes us feel drained and overwhelmed. Proactive recovery, through activities like seeing friends, spending time in nature, and achieving personal goals, fights burnout by re-energizing us.”

For Gisbert-Tay, sleep is “the mother of health” and having enough of it is a great antidote to burnout.

“Your day’s journey begins the night before and it has a huge impact on your mood, energy level, clarity and how you make decisions.”

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