Posted on May 18th, 2006

Working as an executive manager in International Trade and Marketing is not always exciting, energizing or fulfilling; it sometimes may be the highway to personal crisis and burnout. Here is the true story about Susan…

Susan had a very busy life. As a Purchasing Manager in International Trade, she was always on the road. Though she loved her job, it kept her frantically busy, traveling around the world, climbing another rung in the career ladder every two years. She had 2 small children at home and a husband equally as busy. Increasing competition, clashes with her boss about the ideas she felt strongly about, pressure at home, and constraint in her marriage added to her growing feeling of fatigue and frustration.

Susan felt she had too much to do and no time to do it. Almost in desperate need for a change she found another position in International Relations, hoping that with the change in jobs, everything would level out. At first she felt better, but soon Susan was overwhelmed and felt helpless again. Guilt, hopelessness, and despair filled her as well as self-blame for not managing the situation.

Fear of losing “everything” fueled her effort, working only to avoid criticism and job loss. Her motivation was gone and she saw no way out of her situation. Fear of burnout and depression kept her going, but inside she felt totally empty and powerless.

How did Susan’s life go so wrong? Here are the top 3 things she did to fail:

1. Susan was working hard and got no acknowledgement at work. Money and materialism became the yardsticks she employed to measure her worth. Susan was missing something but couldn’t connect the dots. Her daily survival method became fighting or fleeing while completing her daily tasks.

2. Susan experienced more and more stress in her life. She thought that lowering the stress would get her back on track. She started to schedule facials, body massages, and spa days into her already busy schedule. She felt angry and blamed herself for not being wiser, stronger or better. Ironically enough, by adding these relaxing activities, Susan increased her stress level even more.

3. In almost desperation, Susan changed to a job with less traveling, hoping that the stress would even out. She worked fewer hours, hoping that this would give her more time to do errands, spend time with her children and care for her marriage. By working 80% of the time, there would be one full day off, she thought. However, the workload basically stayed the same and she often spent the morning hours of her “free” day working on reports etc., even though her salary was only 80% of her original pay. Susan felt she had nowhere to turn, and didn’t know how to build a support network around her. Instead of looking for alternative solutions, she drifted away into feeling even more powerless.

Susan finally faced her situation, found a coach, and learned to accept where life had taken her. With simple tools and guidance, she started to move From Burn Out to Brilliance™.

This is an excerpt for the course program “Eliminate Burnout Ignite Your Career”. If you are looking for more strategies and techniques for stress management and career success, go to

Liselotte Molander, Professional Certified Career Coach, and experienced Business Professional, founder and CEO of LKM Communications AB Group of Coaching and Training Companies, Executive Career Coach, facilitator and Public Speaker. Contact via the website or call: +46-40-47 08 88 (CET time zone)

© Copyright 2005 Liselotte Molander and LKM Communications AB. All rights reserved

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