Exhausted, burnt out, bored, or all three?

(15 Posts)
UnnecessaryFennel Mon 15-Oct-18 09:52:48

I don't know what to do about work. I feel utterly exhausted and fed-up with my job and yet I don't know where to go /what to do next. Would be really grateful for advice or just a listening ear/commiserations!

Background is that I am a lecturer in a healthcare discipline, teaching contract. No PhD (that's part of my dilemma) but am senior member of team and have a significant leadership role within the dept. Have been there 7 years longest I've ever worked anywhere

I am over it. I have lost all passion for the job and am simply going through the motions. I like my colleagues but I now work from home as much as possible because I cba to go in. I am getting to the stage where I do only as much as it takes to get the job done, no more, and what I do do I find a chore. I am swamped under admin, student issues and dealing with senior, highly-experienced colleagues who are masters at blameshifting and buck-passing and who cite mental health 'fragility' whenever they are pulled up on poor behaviour or frank idiocy.

For example, this morning I am trying to write a lecture that I am giving tomorrow morning. I've left it to the last minute, I feel completely disengaged from / uninterested in the subject despite it being my area of supposed expertise and I am seriously considering just phoning in sick. I won't, of course, but I feel as if I'm wading through treacle.

I am simultaneously under pressure to commence a PhD in order to meet faculty requirements and progress my career but also being told that there will be little support for me to do so (reduce my hours etc) within the dept. And colleagues who have recently completed their doctorates are now being threatened with not passing their probations due to shifting goalposts within the faculty; they're being treated like shit basically and there is even talk of bringing a class action suit for constructive dismissal.

I cannot go any further in an academic career without a PhD but am starting to wonder whether it's even worth it.

I have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and part of me is devastated and wants desperately to get back my passion for my job. The other part of me just wants to go and work in Tesco. I have wondered about going down to 4 days a week but I have seen other colleagues do that and end up just cramming more into less time.

Most of the time I just feel like screaming 'I don't fucking CARE!' whenever anyone mentions anything I'm supposed to be interested in, work wise. That's not good, is it?

OP’s posts: |
MedSchoolRat Mon 15-Oct-18 18:54:48

Sounds shit, sorry, I don't think I have any clever advice.
Are you perfectionist? That is one thing under your control.

UAEMum Mon 15-Oct-18 19:00:29

Never, never go part time in academia. All those meetings which should be on your day off will be put into your work days. You have the option to work from home. Do it one day a week as much as poss and treat that day as a day off.
I would recommend doing the phd. Its a long slog but at least it may give you more options later.
How about making something to look forward to. A long haul holiday travelling in the next vacation.
PM me if you need a handhold

damekindness Mon 15-Oct-18 20:07:47

Speaking as someone working as a healthcare academic I feel your pain. It's a high stress environment - we teach/assess all year round, have to meet regulatory bodies requirements, placement partners needs, a student body who have suddenly had to take out student loans and from a demographic that needs extra support academically and pastorally. Then add in institutional pressures to achieve doctorates, publish, REF, TEF ... it feels never ending so it's no wonder individuals withdraw, stop caring or coping.

I'm finding it harder to maintain my passion too !

UnnecessaryFennel Tue 16-Oct-18 07:17:21

dame, that is it, completely. I feel pulled in 67 different directions. The pressures in this sort of faculty (health) are really incredible because of the nature of the work we are preparing students for - I'm not suggesting anyone else has it easy at all but there are so many layers of complexity in managing not just students, staff and curriculum but also clinical partners, professional regulators etc. And yes, that's before you even start thinking about the bloody TEF or, god forbid, your actual career. It is utterly relentless.

I agree about the part-time issue and will try to keep working at home as much as possible. Sadly the nature of the programme means little time to travel over the summer though!

I really appreciate the kind words. I am going to keep thinking about ways I can make this job work better for me

OP’s posts: |
TallulahMazda Tue 16-Oct-18 08:23:21

Unnecessary... I could have wrote this myself!
Similar role, similar issue apart from the fact that I am part time. Agree with previous comments that part time does not equate with less work.
I presently have no passion for what I do and very little interest. If you rediscover a love for the role please let us know how you did this as I'm seeking the same. It's very sad actually.

luckycat007 Fri 19-Oct-18 00:33:48

I'll join you @TallulahMazda. I think the sector-wide changes which we have seen over the last few years have ripped the enjoyment and passion I once had.

Orchiddingme Fri 19-Oct-18 10:48:42

I wouldn't do a PhD on the side of what you already do if you are feeling burned out.

If you are getting that desperate to get out, go and do a funded PhD somewhere and supplement your stipend with teaching/tutoring work, I bet you'd be in high demand. It would give you a break from the monotony of teaching and perhaps allow you to rediscover the research side more.

Otherwise you are essentially on the teaching treadmill for the foreseeable future.

I completely agree, don't go to 4 days a week, it won't reignite your passion and you are just working the same for less money.

luckycat007 Fri 19-Oct-18 11:13:42

Yes they will put pressure on you to get PhD and PGcert if you've not got that as they reckon it's makes them look more attractive to potential students

Feline1 Sun 09-Dec-18 20:55:47

Hello. I've just joined this site because hearing all the stories of struggling academics makes me feel less alone and I wanted to join you. Your post resonated so storingly with me, I joined to message you. I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through. Losing your interest in the day to day does sound like depression, but I don't need to tell a health care professional that. I also asked my partner tonight whether we could afford it if I got a job in a shop. That's after around 25 years in academia. I just can't bear it any more - what it's become and what it does to you, me, others on here and to my colleagues makes me weep - (on Friday after work; tonight contemplating work tomorrow...). Anyway, I wondered if you would like form a support group with me/ others? I imagine we can pm anonymously on this site? I haven't thought this through, so, if it's not feasible, no problem. Good luck to you and very ine else suffering from the ravages of academia.

Orchiddingme Thu 13-Dec-18 18:36:30

Feline1 sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. Why don't you start a thread about your experiences, more people will see it that way- I nearly missed this tucked away on an older thread.

Feline1 Thu 13-Dec-18 19:47:54

Ok. Good idea. It sounds like many of us could do with some support, and I certainly could. I’m packing to go away, but will definitely do this. I’m just wondering when it’d be best to do it, though, given that the Christmas holidays are nearly upon us, and, hopefully, we will all be able to turn our minds to something other than the horrors of HE?

Orchiddingme Thu 13-Dec-18 19:55:40

It's up to you, it could be a cathartic moan at the end of the term, or plan for the start of the year, or both!

Feline1 Thu 13-Dec-18 20:59:03

Well, watch this space. I think I might leave it to the new year. I'm already dreading it with the tonnes of marking! feedback and course evaluations that it brings.... Fancy dreading going back an we haven't even finished this term yet!

KellyanneConway Fri 14-Dec-18 14:03:45

Could you maybe get a research only post alongside a PhD? It might involve a pay cut though. I got a research assistant job (about 23K P/A) alongside a PhD - I wrote up the work I did for my job as my PhD, it was the only way I could afford to do it in 3 years.

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