I was at my prior job for many miserable years, got burnt out, took time off, accepted a new job where I’ve been for 1.5 years now. I’m getting that unhappy and burnout feeling again but I don’t understand why and what needs to change. My work life balance here is good, I actually like most of the people I work with, I have a short commute, a reasonable boss, there’s growth potential and other good things I didn’t have before and may not get elsewhere. Any advice?

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Are you doing work that has actual meaning for you? It all sounds great, but a sense of purpose is what keeps you going day after day, year after year. I am not talking about quitting your job to pursue your bliss, or going back to school for a Ph.D. in puppetry. I mean can you connect what you do in some way to an impact you want to make? This may mean really examining your current work and employer for ways in which you directly or indirectly improve work for your team, or people’s lives or the communities in which you operate. This is not corporate social responsibility- it is bigger than that, and more personal. If you cannot find meaning in the work you do today, it is worth taking some time to figure out what you need to make that happen. I personally am driven by several things: the support I give to my team to have successful careers and work life balance, the impact I have on individual clients by helping them be smarter and make better decisions and have better careers, and the ability this job gives me to sit on the boards of local non-profits doing things I am passionate about.

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Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that you have been at the new place while the pandemic has been happening? can you pinpoint the actual source of your unhappiness? Do you have moments during your day where you’re high or low? I would start a journal or a log of what you’re feeling and what made you feel that way so you can see what it is. If there’s no pattern to it, or it’s hard to put into words, you may just need a break to reset like the rest of the world. Maybe ask about having a month off - any reasonable employer given the past year would be willing to work something out if the alternative is you leaving. There is unpaid leave.

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Could be depression. I was an ambitious A player and fizzled for the last 2 years, was diagnosed with depression which I attribute to my consulting life

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Try and view your job as a "means to an end". Work on finding a passion and slowly move towards that change full time. Our careers are a marathon for many. It becomes a sprint the closer you get to retirement. If you are still running a marathon, take a step back. Everyone assumes you always have to move up within a company. Sometimes it's ok to move down or laterally until you reguivnate. Try to enjoy the journey and don't beat yourself up.

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some people get antsy and would like change every 1-2 years. You could try getting on a new project, doing a rotation within the same company/job, and just go ahead and switch jobs. "Job Hopping" doesn't have the same stigma it used to. If it it good for your mental health, go ahead and find a new job.

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You may be attaching too much self worth to your job. There are other things to do in life, maybe serve on the board for a local organization and mentoring high schoolers.

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Take a couple of vacations & find a hobby if you don’t have one already

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Could be the routine combined with the newness is gone

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It might be the pandemic if you were WFH and isolated. Wait and see until you return back to the office if anything changes. If not, it might be coming from you. You me might need to change your work habits to not burn out. I would suggest talking to a therapist because I have the same exact issue. They provide more perspective and exercises on how you can avoid burning out again because it can be a vicious cycle regardless of the firm you’re working for.

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