Wednesday, January 6, 2010

7 signs it is time for a new job

Last month I wrote a guest post for Ken Wilson about my burnout experience. The overall message emerging from the post was largely positive – I did manage to fight my burnout and opted for a huge change, starting everything from scratch in a new country.

It’s been my third year in Istanbul and I’m afraid the big B might start knocking on my door pretty soon. To be on the safe side and just because I believe in teacher cooperation, here are my

7 signs it is time for a new job:

  1. Your life is boring and you truly hate it
  2. You have nothing in common with your colleagues and / or secretly despise them
  3. You start thinking that even working at McDonald’s is a lot more fun than teaching
  4. You secretly devise ways of doing something very bad to your DOS/ Head of Department
  5. Your laryngologist advises you to change the profession – teaching is surely not worth losing your voice, is it?
  6. You see no point in preparing for your classes – sitting and chatting with your students still means they practise listening and speaking, right?
  7. You stop putting on makeup in the morning – who cares about the way you look anyway?

Just wondering - has anyone experienced that or am I the only one coming out


  1. Nice post. I remember giving several talks on the subject of burnout a couple of years ago. It's one of the biggest problems facing the teaching profession. One of the best books I read about Burnout is called The Cost of Caring by Cristina Maslach. She says burnout is characteristic of people who go into the "helping professions" (teachers, doctors, social workers). Great stuff if you can get a hold of it.

  2. Thanks for the book recommendation - so far I've been trying to get hold of your 'Dealing with difficulties':)

    I agree burnout is a massive issue in the ELT community. Too often you come across teachers who simply don't like teaching but hopelessly continue doing so.

    Seems like no one in the blogosphere has experienced it though ;)

  3. I started following your blog last month, thanks for posting. One of my friends is from Krakow, so I'm interested in Poland as well as ESL. I was a registered nurse for 25 years, and experienced all your burnout symptoms, plus leaving work angry every day. So, I quit my job, and now I'm in a master's program in TESOL, having a great time. People don't seem to understand burnout, and in my experience act like something's wrong with me. I just think life is too short to do something you can't love any more.

  4. Victoria - thanks for the comment!

    It sounds horrible but I'm really glad somebody has experienced the same as I did. Love your last sentence though in my case, a few years ago, I just learned to love teaching again having looked at it from a different angle.

  5. I've experienced it too and I'm part of the blogosphere :-)
    It was almost ten years ago and I was working in a school that resembled more a slave ship than a workplace.
    I was figthing with my family almost every day because of frustration at work and I was only relieved when I gave my boss a piece of my mind in June and quit!
    I remember I had gone to the dentist one day and I envied the position of his assistant!
    Even today I can hardly remember a good thing out of that year no matter how hard I try.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story Anna!

    I hope you are a lot happier now :)

  7. Excellent post, Anita. You write the way things are very naturally. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    I was debating whether I should add a comment here or not, because I have not really experienced burnout during my teaching career. What I can relate to, however, is the feeling of getting into a nice, comfortable routine, where perhaps life is not as challenging as it could be. I'd like to add that this is not necessarily a bad thing, but moving away from the predicatable to the unpredictable, has certainly re-energised me. Like you, I moved countries and it was the best thing for me to do.

    You have fought burnout once, you can definitely do it again if it ever reappears. You will have experience of dealing with it. You will have your PLN around you to give you support in whatever you do.

    All the best


  8. Hi Janet!

    Great to see you here :)

    The routine you mentioned is as treacherous as burnout. It gives you a warm, comfy feeling and is therefore more difficult to abandon.

    Thanks for your kind words btw!

  9. Yes - I experienced burnout too a few years ago. Recognise all the symptoms.
    Mind you I still don't bother putting make-up on before I go out in the morning.
    Would it impress my students do you think?