FROM FEELING LIKE A FAILURE TO GROWTH
About a year ago, I left my first job as a physical therapist. I felt like a failure. I felt I had worked my entire life to become a physical therapist. I finally landed my “dream job,” and then I couldn’t hack it.
It didn’t help that from the outside it seemed like all of my coworkers were handling the stressors of the job just fine. In fact, some of them told me they “thrived” on treating 3-5 patients at once and anything less was boring– only solidifying my feelings of failure. The entire time, I never spoke up about how I was drowning in notes and patients and overwhelm. I never reached out for help because I felt like I was the only one who was struggling and I didn’t want to feel like anymore of a failure.
This eventually led to me quitting my job rather abruptly. Only after I quit did I start to talk about why I had done so. I admitted to my coworkers, friends, classmates, and family that I was overwhelmed and unhappy. Only then did I start realizing that I was not alone.
Since then, I have connected with many like-minded health care professionals and have been able to find a space in this field where I feel supported and understood.
In the process, I have learned a few ways to connect with like-minded health care professionals…
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
When I became honest with myself, I was able to share my experience more openly. I took the time to really think about what I didn’t like about my experience and what I did like. I listened to my gut and became really honest about what was important to me. This aligned me better with my goals and values and therefore I was about to share my story and meet others who I really connected with instead of superficial relationships.
SHARE YOUR STORY
The best thing I did after quitting my job was to open up about my experience. Once I started opening up about my feelings and experience, it felt like people were coming out of the woodwork to share similar experiences. The more I shared my experience, the more support I received. I was so afraid of being judged by other healthcare professionals, but little did I know so many people were feeling the same way and were also too afraid to speak about it.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
It might seem cliche but while I was still at my first job, I started finding people on Instagram who were speaking out about burnout on social media and on podcasts. That is how I came across Joy Energy Time on a podcast. The first time I listened to their episode about “What is burnout?”, I think I cried out of relief that I was not alone. I then started following JET on Instagram and slowly found other HCP that were experiencing burnout AND speaking out about it.
It inspired me to continue sharing my story and to connect with others on social media. I have made some good friends by responding to others stories and saying “Hey! I understand where you are coming from! That has totally happened to me too!”
JOIN A COMMUNITY (virtually or in person)
After quitting my job, I joined a new yoga studio. I made friends outside of “work” and I started meeting some amazing people. I even met some yogi health care professionals who shared the same collaborative views as me. I also joined the Joy Energy Time Club when it started and was able to connect with local HCP and non-local HCP to hear their stories.
I found a place to continue sharing my story and to learn new stress coping mechanisms. The JET club gave me the place to connect, share AND received support– what every good community should give.
Burnout is isolating, it is scary and it is overwhelming. The most important thing I learned in my burnout experience was that I was not alone. That in itself was life changing.
Wherever you are in your journey, know you are not alone and you are not a failure. Reach out, share your story & connect with others.
This piece was written by Joy Energy Time Insider Kerry McGinn PT, DPT, RYT. Kerry is a physical therapist, performance coach, yogi, rock climber, adventure seeker, lover of movement, Mother Nature, and deep breaths. She is the owner of Live GOOD, Feel GOOD. Visit her site here.