The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use the anonymous form below, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.

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Dear Career Doctor:

I am an English teacher in Turkey. Translation isn't my professional job, but I sometimes have to translate advanced articles. I have been faced with a word of which I can't find the exact meaning in any dictionary. It is "burned out." The article is about burned out teachers, but I can't determine if it has a positive or negative meaning. I would be glad to be helped by you.


Dear Anyur:

Many of my American readers could give you a very personal definition of what it’s like to feel “burned out.” In fact, I bet half of the teachers who are reading this column are feeling a bit burned out and are waiting for Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation to rest and feel restored again.

Here are the symptoms of burn out. You may have felt them too and, as you can see, it is very negative.. Have you ever heard your alarm clock ring and dreaded getting out of bed and going to work – not just for a day or two, but for weeks at a time? Have you ever felt that you have used up all your creativity, caring and energy, and have nothing more to give? Have you ever felt desperate for a change – or at least to take a long, restful break from what you are doing? That’s what it feels like to be burned out.

Here's some advice for readers who need not just a definition, but some help, with their burn out. If you can’t take a long vacation or change jobs, give yourself some mental vacations and a change of mental set:

1. Take your lunch hour and do something completely unrelated to work – preferably away from your workplace. Take a walk, read a good novel, talk with a friend. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it is completely unrelated to whatever is making you feel burned out.

2. If you need more than a large or small vacation to feel restored, block out time each day to search for a new job. Just the process of beginning a job search makes many people feel less trapped in something they hate. Feeling trapped is often a key cause of burn out.

3. Take a course or find a mentor who will teach you new skills, perhaps even new ways to do your current job. Boredom and routine contributes to burn out. Sometimes just doing the old job in a new way can make it feel good again.

The Career Doctor

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The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.