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1. What is draining you? Take some time to identify the sources of your burnout. Whom can you talk with about your work situation at your organization? Perhaps your supervisor? Or a trusted friend who does similar work (at your own or another agency)? Is there someone who can give you helpful feedback? Once you identify your sources, consider whether you can change any of them. Start with the easiest.
2. What are the expectations for your job? Do you have a job description with clear responsibilities and goals? Have you been doing many tasks that aren’t part of your job description? Do you expect unrealistic results from yourself or your agency (either too much or too fast)? Does your boss hold you (or do you hold yourself) responsible for things you can’t change? If so, it may be time to discuss these expectations with a friend, a peer at work, or your supervisor.
3. When did you last receive feedback from your supervisor? Is it time to ask for a performance evaluation or some informal feedback?
4. How is your agency doing with respect to its mission? Do you understand how the work you do every day fits into the mission? Are you aware of issues in the country that make the work more challenging? Would learning more about the culture in which you’re working give you a bigger picture that might be valuable?
5. When you are finished with work at the end of a day, what environment do you return to? A family that has lots of needs, a lonely compound, a place where you can connect with people who know you, personal problems that must be addressed? Each of these poses unique challenges for humanitarian staff.
The next post in this series will discuss some things you can do about the sources you have identified. For now, follow these ABC’s: Become Aware of what’s getting to you and how those issues are affecting you Seek Balance among work, rest, and play; time alone and time with others; giving and receiving Connect with people (friends, family, co-workers) you trust, respect, care about
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