How I Overcame My Professional Burnout

Do you wake up, remember that its a workday and silently start cussing out your entire management chain in your head?  Do you walk into the office, turn on your computer, see that you have 74 unread messages and imagine beating up tourists?  Are you going to scream bloody murder the next time someone says “Can you help me design this PowerPoint for a meeting?  You’re just so good at it”?

No? Just me?

Image result for jerry maguire leaves the officeThe truth is we’ve all been there.  You sit back in your chair and imagine a glorious middle-finger waving scene to your entire office – or something slightly more poetic, like in Jerry Maguire.

It’s a pretty good sign you’re burned out.

I started getting to that point last year.  After a year of intense, “new job” dedication and planning my own wedding I was ready to punch a wall.  This is how I overcame my burnout.

Go to a conference – one where you don’t have to work the booth

I attended my very first conference last year.  Of course I’ve been to dozens over the years, but I’ve never gotten past the expo hall.

In 2016, I got to go to Marketing Profs’ B2B Marketing Forum.

Each quarter I write a new marketing plan and on the last slide, after I’ve spent 1.5 hours talking about all the crazy things I’m going to do for the next 3 months, I make an ask.  Just 1 thing.  In Q2 I asked to go to a conference for marketers.  I listed 3 I was interested in and how much they would cost.  My argument was clear and well planned.  I need to stay up-to-date in my field so I can keep doing my job to the best of my ability.

I was quite shocked when my VP approved it with the flip of a wrist.  To him it was a no brainer – which makes me incredibly lucky.  But the thing I realized is that I had never actually asked to go to a marketing conference before – so no one had ever sent me to one.

PRO TIP: You miss out on every trip you don’t ask for.

Me at the Old North Church

As I walked in the doors I had no idea what to expect.  I had never been to Boston before.  I went to the conference alone and knew no one.

The first evening was a “Welcome Home” happy hour.  I wore what I always wear.  A pair of jeans, a tee-shirt, a blazer and colorful glasses.  (Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.)  At the office I stand out pretty hard… but not there.  I was among my people.  Everyone looked, talked and thought just like me.  I wasn’t the crazy marketing lady – I was just Ms. Awesome walking around in a sea of equally awesome colleagues.

The week was invigorating!  I went to 4 or 5 sessions a day and chattered my company after each one – painstakingly documenting all the amazing things I had learned or heard.

There were workshops on comedy writing for B2B marketers, Q&As with CMOs, networking events with thousands of marketers just like me.  I even performed “Shoop” in front of 300 people on a whim – and nailed it.  It was like a breathe of fresh air.  I was surrounded by my people.

Me performing for the “troops” at Laugh Boston Comedy Club

I came back to work completely renewed.  I was a force to be reckoned with.  I was taking on new challenges and felt more inspired than ever.  Even if you don’t end up going to this particular conference (#mpb2b) I recommend that you attend a conference this year – even if it’s just for 2 days in your home town.  Leave the office, don’t answer your email and talk to people who totally get you.

Special Note: Marketing Profs was in no way associated with this article and absolutely did not pay me, in any way, to write it.

And now for your viewing pleasure…

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