“I don’t like coming to work like I used to. The business is running me; I’m not running the business. All I do is work. I’m just an employee. I can’t do this anymore.”
Most business owners feel this way some of the time, especially when they have a complicated situation or problem to deal with. Very few owners like dealing with difficult employees, unhappy customers, machinery breakdowns, cash flow shortfalls, decreased productivity or increased costs.
They end up feeling stressed out because of a particular thing, person, time (seasonal work) or circumstance. This is situational stress, and all business owners have it. But, they deal with the problem or situation and the pressure, worry and anxiety pass. They de-stress, go back to liking their job and do not want to do anything else – they bounce back.
However, not everyone bounces back, and this is where normal stress turns into burnout, which is a more serious condition. Instead of being a temporary reaction to a specific circumstance burnout is a state of chronic stress. People do not “just get over it,” because it is more than “having a couple of bad months.”
Over time burnout changes an owner’s emotional, mental and physical well being. Some of the symptoms include physical, mental and emotional exhaustion; a loss of enjoyment for work and personal interests; not caring about others; cynicism; a lack of attention to surroundings and people; and feelings of inadequacy.
His work performance and interactions with other people suffers. He is no longer functioning effectively, which often has production, quality, and financial consequences. He also creates a poor work atmosphere. Employees and key people describe burned-out owners as checked out, uninterested, angry, depressed, marking time, not what he used to be, feeling sorry for himself, unhelpful and wishy-washy.
Burned-out owners are unhappy, dissatisfied people and it shows. They become complainers, pot stirrers, and nay-sayers. They often hide in their offices, “too busy” to manage or lead. Those with limited awareness of their condition will blame other people, places, and circumstances for their difficulties, rather than take responsibly for it.
But, it does not have to be this way.
Burnout sneaks up on people and is not easy to see in ourselves. But, the sooner we take responsibility for our actions the better we will feel. We can take control and enjoy coming to work again. We can get our life back.
Are you burned out? Is it time to get out of your business?
Stop. Do not decide to give up on your company just yet. Go to Part 2 of “Do You Enjoy Your Business or Is It a Drag?” for ideas on how to make business ownership enjoyable again.