Burnout can happen during a career or even during a case.
In the law profession it can strike anyone, at any time. Following are 12 warning signs of encroaching burnout:
- You forget what year it is.
- You show up at the office and realize you are still in your pajamas.
- The high point of your day is opening a new pack of hot pink post-it notes.
- You volunteer to shred documents for fun.
- In meetings you begin texting yourself. You find your responses blindingly brilliant and uproariously funny.
- During a video deposition you ask if the court reporter could put on Breaking Bad, Season Two.
- At MacDonald’s when asked if you want fries with your order you scream, Objection.
- Every day is Monday.
- You find yourself scheduling unnecessary dentist appointments to avoid going to work.
- The most fascinating thing you read all day is the ingredients label on a Diet Coke can.
- You wonder why oh why you didn’t follow your first instinct and become a podiatrist.
- When your client asks your advice on case strategy, you shrug and say, Whatever.
But of course burnout is no laughing matter.
Lawyer and blogger Alec Borenstein, who admits to knowing a few things first-hand about the topic, recommends the following Four Steps to Curing Burnout:
1. Acknowledge the Burnout.
2. Think of ways to cure it. Ask yourself, “What do I really enjoy?” “What will help me recharge?”
3. Schedule it immediately.
4. Make sure that when you are recharging you say, “I am doing this for the express purpose of recharging my batteries.”
And here is some advice from the Mayo Clinic on dealing with job burnout.
Meanwhile, put down the Diet Coke and stop texting yourself.
Jay Reeves is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. He has practiced in both states and was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He writes the Risk Man column of practice pointers and risk management tips. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 919-619-2441.