“I'm Tired And I'm Stuck. How Do I Make A Shift When I've Almost Given Up?”

Marie is exhausted. With a career that's emotionally and physically draining, she's had to 'switch off' to survive. When you're run down and tired, and apathy's the only thing keeping your head above water, how do you find the motivation to go after a shift?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm a senior social worker, working in child protective services.

How do you feel about your work?

Frankly, I'm past the point of feeling any way about what I do. I'm just trying to stay afloat.

My career has been a whirlwind of activity and hard work for the last 12 years. I'm highly experienced, I'm great at what I do, and I'm exhausted.

Funding cuts, ever-increasing paperwork, high staff turnover, demanding shift patterns, emotional challenges…

I'm very, very proud of the work we do in an increasingly challenging environment, and I'm also a complete zombie. I do what needs to be done, and then I get home and collapse.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I really don't know.

Something calm, something with regular working hours and a positive social impact.

That's as far as I'll allow myself to imagine.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I'm stuck in a catch-22.

I want to do something different, and I know I need to invest time and energy into making a career change if it's ever going to happen.

You'd think that being so desperate to leave would be a great motivator. But I feel utterly drained and tired all the time. My current job takes everything I've got.

It's as though I've already resigned myself to a life I don't enjoy.

In fact, I almost avoid things that I think might excite me, because it makes me sad that I'm not able to do anything with them.

I'm worried I'll find something wonderful, something I love, and then I won't have the time or energy to invest in it, and then being in my current job will feel even worse.

I know I should take some classes, go to networking events and explore my skills, but I just don't want to. I don't have the energy, and I can't justify teasing myself with something I can't have.

How do I break out of the apathy I've trained myself into?

Can you help Marie?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Marie could move her shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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