Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

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mgk2010
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Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by mgk2010 »

Hi,

My spouse is in mid level management at Tech company. He has worked here for about 10 years and last 3 has been brutal due to Covid, attrition and the extra work he has taken on for others. His responsibilities and his team have continued to grow as the business has expanded. A new head of his department has not helped alleviate the structural concerns that exist in this job and on the contrary is questioning everything that he and his team have done for last 5 years. He tried to raise these issues with his skip level over the last few mos, but did not help. He loves some aspects of this job, but hates this new change and no relief on work load. Every day seems both a physical (long hours) and mental stress. His health may take a toll if this continues to drag on.

He wants to quit, take a break for 3-6 mos., visit family/parents, come back and seek other options in the industry. While not easy (he is not a techie), but he will find a job and is open to both a similar management position or individual contributor where he can utilize his experience and consult or deliver programs.

From a financial perspective - His current pay is excellent and will also loose 150k in future RSUs. Having said that, my income is sufficient to meet our expenses, continue to invest for our retirement (all though at a lower rate than before). We have sufficiently funded 529s for our kids. We appear to be course to hit our 25x number in the about 5-7 years. From this perspective any income he makes in the future, just helps accelerate our savings.

My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
CletusCaddy
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by CletusCaddy »

I hate to say this, but this is a terrible time to be giving up a secure job in tech. I have as strong a resume as one could have in tech and it took me two months to secure a new role after my layoff in July, and that was only through networking.

I would have him go see a therapist first for the burnout. Changing one’s perspective or attitude can help tremendously in this regard.
Last edited by CletusCaddy on Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
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familythriftmd
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by familythriftmd »

My favorite book to help navigate such questions is called "Managing Oneself" by the late great Peter Drucker.

I would say if a move needs to happen, then go ahead, but have a good plan for where to go next. That's just what I think, though.
fishmonger
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by fishmonger »

I can't speak to tech employment specifically and that unique hiring environment. But I can't imagine it would hurt him based on being somewhere that long and (I'm assuming) having great references to his work ethic and performance.

IMO someone who has bounced around from job to job a year at a time taking a break due to "burnout" is a much different story
Nyc10036
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by Nyc10036 »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am Hi,

My spouse is in mid level management at Tech company. He has worked here for about 10 years and last 3 has been brutal due to Covid, attrition and the extra work he has taken on for others. His responsibilities and his team have continued to grow as the business has expanded. A new head of his department has not helped alleviate the structural concerns that exist in this job and on the contrary is questioning everything that he and his team have done for last 5 years. He tried to raise these issues with his skip level over the last few mos, but did not help. He loves some aspects of this job, but hates this new change and no relief on work load. Every day seems both a physical (long hours) and mental stress. His health may take a toll if this continues to drag on.

He wants to quit, take a break for 3-6 mos., visit family/parents, come back and seek other options in the industry. While not easy (he is not a techie), but he will find a job and is open to both a similar management position or individual contributor where he can utilize his experience and consult or deliver programs.

From a financial perspective - His current pay is excellent and will also loose 150k in future RSUs. Having said that, my income is sufficient to meet our expenses, continue to invest for our retirement (all though at a lower rate than before). We have sufficiently funded 529s for our kids. We appear to be course to hit our 25x number in the about 5-7 years. From this perspective any income he makes in the future, just helps accelerate our savings.

My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
Don't do the long hours. STOP.
Let them lay him off if they want.
Collect the unemployment when he is laid off.


.
Last edited by Nyc10036 on Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by JoeRetire »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am He wants to quit, take a break for 3-6 mos., visit family/parents, come back and seek other options in the industry. While not easy (he is not a techie), but he will find a job and is open to both a similar management position or individual contributor where he can utilize his experience and consult or deliver programs.
IMHO, that's a big mistake. Quitting now with no prospects means the risk that jobs dry up and it takes much longer than expected to find the next job, all the while not being on a payroll.

Instead, find a new job now. Set a starting date a few weeks out. Use those weeks for visiting and come back to a waiting job.
My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?
For many prospective employers it would raise a red flag. They might worry that he will want to "take a break" again after they hire him.
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winterfan
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by winterfan »

I would not say that burnout was the reason for the break in employment. I would just use another excuse like you had to take care of an elderly relative or something like that. I left a job voluntarily and took a break while I finished up the last class of my graduate studies. I was out for about 5 months. When I went to look for work again, employers didn't bat an eye at the break.

However, I was much younger then. How old is your husband? If he's mid/late 30s or 40s, it might not be so easy.
dboeger1
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by dboeger1 »

I'm going through somewhat of a similar thing now (I even posted about it here recently) and decided to resign from my position. Having taken an extended break from tech work in the past after a layoff, I will say it was much harder than I anticipated to get a new job. I am not like the earlier commenter who claims to have one of the strongest resumes and networks, and it took me many months. That being said, I had plenty of savings to live off of, plus my wife had income that covered most of our expenses during the gap. In the end, I don't regret it, but it can be challenging. There's a lot of outright discrimination against people with work gaps, even for reasons beyond their control. One of the things I learned the hard way was that automated screens were just filtering me out at nearly every company I applied to based on that gap. It wasn't until I listed personal projects (which in my defense were legitimate) as self-employment during the gap that I was able to get to later interview stages.

Clearly, I don't have regrets or anything because I'm doing it again now, but I would absolutely never tell a prospective employer I left because of burnout. This time around, I'm leaving to be a stay-at-home dad for a while, which I think is much more understandable, and I'm still not sure I would tell future employers that. Of course, the truth is there are many reasons for leaving, including burnout and what I feel is a lack of sufficient recognition for my significant contributions and personal sacrifices which have negatively impacted my ability to be a good father and husband at home. But companies by and large have no soul or understanding, they just want what's best for them, and that greater story isn't it. If you have significant savings to fall back on and the work is really not a good fit for your husband, that's fine, he can leave, but make no mistake, future employers do not want to hear about his feelings or struggles, they want to be convinced that he can do the job. That's not necessarily mutually exclusive with quitting, especially if he can do some consulting or other projects in the meantime.
kd2008
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by kd2008 »

Your spouse needs to stop taking things seriously. Just be collegial and continue to show up. You'd be amazed that so many things that are considered by us as "must be done now" are actually things that nobody cares. Do not waste energy fighting the management. Instead let him show how he helped them in crisis over last two years again and again even if it is out of context.
HawkeyePierce
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Gonna go against the consensus here.

I quit my high-paying tech job in July after being at that company for seven years. I don't plan on searching for a new job till January.

Frankly I'm just not that concerned about the risks. These downturns are always temporary and if you have a strong network and know the right people there's really no such thing as a "hiring freeze".
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8foot7
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by 8foot7 »

kd2008 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:49 pm You'd be amazed that so many things that are considered by us as "must be done now" are actually things that nobody cares.
There is a lot of truth in this.

There's always going to be too much to do. Figure out the things you'll get fired for not doing, and do those. Fill in the rest of your eight hours with things that seem important (hint: these are rarely urgent, because they're the things that don't get done while the urgent things get the attention). You'd be amazed at how effective you'll actually be.
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squirrel1963
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by squirrel1963 »

For an engineer in high tech it'd be fairly easy to take a long sabbatical (1 year) and then get back. I'm not quite sure how doable it would be for mid level management, might be a bit more difficult. It also depends on how many people your spouse knows both within the company and in other companies that he could possibly work for.
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HomerJ
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by HomerJ »

Find a new job. Don't just quit.

But definitely find a new job.

He doesn't need therapy or a break... He just needs to take charge of his life, and make a change.

He'll feel better immediately (and the first few months of a new job are always somewhat easier because no one knows you well enough yet to call you to fix every single problem at first)
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HomerJ
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by HomerJ »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?
Oh, definitely don't give that as the reason.
"The best tools available to us are shovels, not scalpels. Don't get carried away." - vanBogle59
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mgk2010
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by mgk2010 »

My spouse is in mid 40s (to a question above), and is not the one to disengage mentally from responsibilities. Either it is completely all in or all out.

Thank you all for these responses. They are very helpful indeed. Lots to think about here - one thing for sure is to start looking outside immediately. And if decide to take a break, will definitely suggest not using burn out as the reason !
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squirrel1963
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by squirrel1963 »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:39 pm My spouse is in mid 40s (to a question above), and is not the one to disengage mentally from responsibilities. Either it is completely all in or all out.

Thank you all for these responses. They are very helpful indeed. Lots to think about here - one thing for sure is to start looking outside immediately. And if decide to take a break, will definitely suggest not using burn out as the reason !
Yup, just say "sabbatical" or "need to take care of personal business "
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manuvns
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by manuvns »

Just go to job and chill , why lose 150K in RSU ? one can negitiate the RSU if fired .
Thanks!
ThankYouJack
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by ThankYouJack »

So if he were to never go back to work, you're both on pace to reach 25x around age 50? I would take the break if I were him. It may be tougher to get back in than he anticipates, but you seem all set financially (especially since he plans on a short break) and life is too short to do something you hate.
shess
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by shess »

As a past tech worker, my thought is that it depends on whether the break is goal-focussed or not. Taking a break to sail around the world with your family is easy to explain away. Taking a break to recover from a toxic employer isn't going to go as well. That is really unfair of the world, but it is what it is, we have kind of toxic expectations of workers.

I quit working mostly because of burnout (and also because I could quit), and deciding to quit really turned work around for me! It was a decent job, so I was able to give months of notice. Having given notice made priority-setting super easy, either I was going to get something done, or I wasn't, and if nobody thought the job was important enough to take on, it was no skin off my nose. A lot of stuff landed with me because nobody else could figure it out, and all of that stuff was no longer my problem. If I could have made that transition three or four years earlier, I probably wouldn't have quit. So IMHO a first step to take would be to "soft quit", to rein in the scope of work to just the stuff you personally find interesting and useful to do. What's the worst that could happen, and is it worse than actually quitting? [To be clear, I'm not saying "quiet quitting", where you try to skate by without drawing attention. I'm saying to be engaged, but zealously maintain healthy boundaries.]

Also, I think therapy can be helpful. There were issues in my personal life which fed into my burnout, and unloading to a therapist relaxed me a bit. There were a lot of things that I got halfway into and suddenly stopped and said "Damn. This is kind of a serious thing that happened, isn't it?" A therapist can also help with objectivity, sometimes people get really tied up in reflected expectations and don't realize that they are doing it to themselves. Of course, it is also important to cut bait if the therapist isn't helpful. Think of it as a life/career coach if that helps swallow the medicine.
hoofaman
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by hoofaman »

What is the benefit of quitting a job over "quiet quitting" (QQ)? With QQ, one could continue being paid and focus mental energies on finding a new job, which is a bit easier when you are currently employed as well. If you get laid off you might also get a nice severance package
tashnewbie
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by tashnewbie »

If I were him, I would try to hang on at the current job until he finds another job. Then negotiate start time so that he has at least a few weeks off in between. I agree with others that he should try to streamline his current job to reduce the stress. Easier said than done, especially for some folks (sounds like your husband may fall in that category).
dboeger1
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by dboeger1 »

hoofaman wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:50 pm What is the benefit of quitting a job over "quiet quitting" (QQ)? With QQ, one could continue being paid and focus mental energies on finding a new job, which is a bit easier when you are currently employed as well. If you get laid off you might also get a nice severance package
QQ might be burning bridges in some organizations, which may or may not be desirable to OP. I know in my case, I have built up a fair bit of specialized knowledge and experience within my team, and multiple people have rejoined the company following layoffs or other time off while I have been there, so it makes sense to at least keep it as an option for when I decide to get a job again in the future.
HomerJ wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:19 pm Find a new job. Don't just quit.

But definitely find a new job.

He doesn't need therapy or a break... He just needs to take charge of his life, and make a change.

He'll feel better immediately (and the first few months of a new job are always somewhat easier because no one knows you well enough yet to call you to fix every single problem at first)
That seems a bit too broad and overly dismissive to me. Some people will be in situations where they just need to toughen up a bit and get through it. Others are in toxic environments or dealing with real mental (or otherwise) health problems. Finding a job can be a fair bit of work in and of itself, and it can be difficult to pile that on top of everything else. I know one of the things that has frustrated me in the past about work is that as I get more things assigned to me, management invariably likes to schedule more and more meetings which are effectively just status reports, no matter how much they insist that's not the case. If I'm on a task that requires a solid uninterrupted block of 6 hours of focus, and there are meetings dotted throughout normal working hours, I might be sacrificing my entire evening and even what should be healthy sleep/recovery time just to get it done. It's no wonder that one of the common signs people are interviewing for other jobs is lower productivity. Whether that's worth it or not depends on a lot of factors. I'm sure nurses during the pandemic didn't feel like they could just walk out on a patient in order to conduct multiple rounds of interviews with another employer, even if that's what was optimal for their career and finances.
TravelforFun
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by TravelforFun »

JoeRetire wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:15 pm IMHO, that's a big mistake. Quitting now with no prospects means the risk that jobs dry up and it takes much longer than expected to find the next job, all the while not being on a payroll.

Instead, find a new job now. Set a starting date a few weeks out. Use those weeks for visiting and come back to a waiting job.
This is what I would do. He should look for a new job now.

TravelforFun
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by FreddieFIRE »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am His responsibilities and his team have continued to grow as the business has expanded. A new head of his department has not helped alleviate the structural concerns that exist in this job and on the contrary is questioning everything that he and his team have done for last 5 years. He tried to raise these issues with his skip level over the last few mos, but did not help.
That sounds just like my last decade or two at Megacorp, and Megacorp is pretty much the same everywhere. As several others have suggested, it is likely best to just put in the minimal effort, take the pay and go home at the end of the day (but don't ever stop complaining during the skip levels that the place is killing him - that may be music to the higher up's ears).

disclaimer: that last part was a joke
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JunkAddr
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by JunkAddr »

I agree with the therapist route. If the therapist agrees, they can also potentially sign off on FMLA related forms which can give a worker a much needed break if the workload has been especially brutal or has impacted their health.

It depends on the company, but you're usually untouchable on FMLA, and RSUs will still vest. There are some nasty tech companies out there without any regard for worker health, and you should use all benefits available to you. You need to lookout for your own best interests.
AlwaysLearningMore
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by AlwaysLearningMore »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am Hi,

My spouse is in mid level management at Tech company. He has worked here for about 10 years and last 3 has been brutal due to Covid, attrition and the extra work he has taken on for others. His responsibilities and his team have continued to grow as the business has expanded. A new head of his department has not helped alleviate the structural concerns that exist in this job and on the contrary is questioning everything that he and his team have done for last 5 years. He tried to raise these issues with his skip level over the last few mos, but did not help. He loves some aspects of this job, but hates this new change and no relief on work load. Every day seems both a physical (long hours) and mental stress. His health may take a toll if this continues to drag on.

He wants to quit, take a break for 3-6 mos., visit family/parents, come back and seek other options in the industry. While not easy (he is not a techie), but he will find a job and is open to both a similar management position or individual contributor where he can utilize his experience and consult or deliver programs.

From a financial perspective - His current pay is excellent and will also loose 150k in future RSUs. Having said that, my income is sufficient to meet our expenses, continue to invest for our retirement (all though at a lower rate than before). We have sufficiently funded 529s for our kids. We appear to be course to hit our 25x number in the about 5-7 years. From this perspective any income he makes in the future, just helps accelerate our savings.

My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
He's clearly very good at what he does, and is trusted by his superiors to take on more responsibility.

The hard truth is that long hours and workload are often the price of workplace success. Should he decide to "take a break," there are other who would be quite willing to step into his shoes for that kind of compensation.

Agree with others who've suggested starting to look for a new work situation now (while he's employed), if feasible.

Good luck.
Retirement is best when you have a lot to live on, and a lot to live for. * None of what I post is investment advice.
alexbogle
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by alexbogle »

I was in a similar boat about a year ago.

The company I worked for had changed drastically due to an acquisition. The company culture became extremely toxic with new management solely focused on profit. The old company was the complete opposite: focused on solutions with a handful of responsive customers. I convinced myself to tough it out because of equity awards.

I wish I could go back in time and change my decision. Even if the awards had kept their potential value (they didn't), I would not make the trade if I knew then what I know now.

My mental health has suffered immeasurably. I am nothing like I was 2 years ago. I have many negative thought patterns. I basically trapped myself in an abusive situation and didn't let myself escape. Maybe I could have done quiet quitting to not care earlier, idk.

I don't know how I will make progress to return to my old self. I've started recognizing this difference in my thoughts and tried to be honest with myself and reflect.

Best of luck. I hope your spouse does not sacrifice mental health for money. It. Is. Not. Worth. It. Figure out a way to get into a better situation.
travelnut11
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by travelnut11 »

I just did this and it has worked out fine for me. I left my job on June 10, took the summer off, started looking for new jobs in mid-August and am starting my new position on October 3. I think it was absolutely worth it but we were prepared. Lots of savings and my husband's job covers our expenses. A few things to note about the process:

1. My network really mattered. I eventually heard from all of the companies I applied to but I heard from the companies where I had a referral much more quickly. I would advise your husband to reach out to his network sooner than later to find out how they're doing, what they like about their jobs, etc and to let them know he may be looking in the future and he would appreciate it if they would keep him in mind.

2. Even in a hot job market it will take longer to find a new job than your think especially for big corps without a referral. The process just takes a while. I had quick turnaround for a meeting with the recruiter and the hiring manager of a company where I had a referral. Then radio silence for 10 days. I honestly thought they were just not moving forward with me and was in the negotiation stage with another company when the first company requested a panel interview. I was surprised and wished the recruiter had clued me in as to what was going on.

3. The issue of my break was not an issue. I was asked about it by several people and I said I wanted to take the summer off to do some more travel with my kids after a rough couple of COVID years and I also wanted to be able to give my last employer a longer notice period to make it easier to find someone to cover my projects. I didn't think there were any companies that would give me a 3 month delayed start to deciding to take the change. Everyone thought this was just fine.

Best of luck to you and your family!
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by Dottie57 »

Nyc10036 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:10 pm
mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am Hi,

My spouse is in mid level management at Tech company. He has worked here for about 10 years and last 3 has been brutal due to Covid, attrition and the extra work he has taken on for others. His responsibilities and his team have continued to grow as the business has expanded. A new head of his department has not helped alleviate the structural concerns that exist in this job and on the contrary is questioning everything that he and his team have done for last 5 years. He tried to raise these issues with his skip level over the last few mos, but did not help. He loves some aspects of this job, but hates this new change and no relief on work load. Every day seems both a physical (long hours) and mental stress. His health may take a toll if this continues to drag on.

He wants to quit, take a break for 3-6 mos., visit family/parents, come back and seek other options in the industry. While not easy (he is not a techie), but he will find a job and is open to both a similar management position or individual contributor where he can utilize his experience and consult or deliver programs.

From a financial perspective - His current pay is excellent and will also loose 150k in future RSUs. Having said that, my income is sufficient to meet our expenses, continue to invest for our retirement (all though at a lower rate than before). We have sufficiently funded 529s for our kids. We appear to be course to hit our 25x number in the about 5-7 years. From this perspective any income he makes in the future, just helps accelerate our savings.

My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
Don't do the long hours. STOP.
Let them lay him off if they want.
Collect the unemployment when he is laid off.


.
I think this is better.
Rd123123
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by Rd123123 »

Man, have I been there too!

I'm in a Megacorp, and have found a decent pocket where management is good, and my coworkers are great. I have been in areas of same Megacorp where the intense non-stop work pressure and negative health impacts were unfortunately accepted as part of the job.

I had a friend experience a situation in same Megacorp, where she was ready to quit. I advised her to go up her management chain, to someone who had the appropriate authority, and lay out her concerns. I said, if her management values her, they may offer to find a way for her to stay. And if they don't, then it will be very clear that she should leave, and she will know that she tried to make it work.

Her management highly valued her, started to buffer her from her manager, and within a year, had found a promotion for her in a team she always wanted to join, working with people she already knew who she wanted to work with.

Doesn't happen all the time, but it worked out for her. She had to put up with some grinding away at her old job until a path to the new team was clear, but she's much happier now.

For me? I quit a job a few years ago, and my wife said "It took you long enough." And she was right. In that job, my boss told me, "if you stay here long enough, this company will force you to choose between your family or your job." I saw it happen to him, and as it started to happen to me, I finally quit.
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Jazztonight
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by Jazztonight »

This thread disturbs me.

Whatever happened to, "Your health is the most important thing"?
Or, "If you're happy, I'm happy"?
Or, "It's not always about the money"?

I can sense his stress and he's not even in the room.

The man needs a break.

How about this:
He goes to his employer and says, "I've been doing the work of more than one person here for a while, and now that you've got more staff, the pandemic is "over," etc., I really need a 6 month Sabbatical to recharge my batteries." Then see what they say. If "no deal," then screw this company--they don't deserve him. If they consider it, then work out some kind of compensation deal.

Or maybe he should just walk, take some time off, relax, and work on his guitar chops.

One time I was in between jobs for 3 months when I moved from the east to west coast. It was one of the best periods I had in my career. The other time was when I negotiated to work 3 days a week for 3/5ths of my income. I did that for over 8 years, then fully retired.

I hope he comes out of this intense period with his physical and emotional health intact. Just saying.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Fascinating thread and responses.

My advice:
- be up front with the boss or bosses. If your willing to quit you shouldn’t be scared to have this conversation. You may be surprised how much help hubby gets just by being upfront
- being FI or close helps. Seems your ready

My observations:
- tech companies and jobs are variable. A lot of work done by a surprisingly small number of groups.
- there are low/middle management jobs I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole (including my peers). Heck, I wouldn’t really want my bosses job either.
- when I moved from an operational to strategic role it helped me immensely. Much better WLB and the small team I manage is super experienced and just a pleasure to lead.
- I say this above, cos there maybe great roles DH can move to in the org.
- where you are in the org matters. Reporting to a new head is always gonna be stressful for the first year or two.

My group went from rapid hiring last month (close all reqs quick!) to Freeze AND a message we overhired and get ready for some paring/layoffs this week! The tech job market is changing quickly before our eyes.
Death and taxes. Only one is under your control!
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Watty
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by Watty »

I don't have any good answers since most of them really depend on the details of the situation but I do have some more questions to add to the list of things to consider.

1) If he quits his job then he may find that he is not able to relax at home if he waits a few months to start looking for his next job since he is second guessing himself.

2) Often a lot of job stress and long hours is self inflicted. Most jobs will have occasional crunches or emergencies where long days are part of the job but that is a lot different than constantly needing to work long hours. If you cannot set boundaries most companies will keep giving you more and more work if you do not set a boundary. If he takes a job at a different company then after a while he may end up in the same situation if he cannot set boundaries.

3) Does he have any vacation time saved up? If this has been going on for a while then he may not have been using all of his vacation time and could have a lot of it saved up. If he does have it he should take all his vacation time to decompress and start looking for another job. When he is taking his vacation time he should not be checking his work email at all of be taking work phone calls. At the end of his vacation time he can decide if he wants to quit or not.
kd2008
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by kd2008 »

Watty wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 12:02 am
2) Often a lot of job stress and long hours is self inflicted. Most jobs will have occasional crunches or emergencies where long days are part of the job but that is a lot different than constantly needing to work long hours. If you cannot set boundaries most companies will keep giving you more and more work if you do not set a boundary. If he takes a job at a different company then after a while he may end up in the same situation if he cannot set boundaries.
+1,000
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JoeRetire
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by JoeRetire »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:39 pm My spouse is in mid 40s (to a question above), and is not the one to disengage mentally from responsibilities. Either it is completely all in or all out.

Thank you all for these responses. They are very helpful indeed. Lots to think about here - one thing for sure is to start looking outside immediately. And if decide to take a break, will definitely suggest not using burn out as the reason !
Why doesn't your spouse really go all out and retire?
Last edited by JoeRetire on Fri Sep 23, 2022 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Oh, noooooo! I'm so sorry, it's the moops! The correct answer is 'the moops'.
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AnnetteLouisan
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

Any internal opportunities for a temporary change of scene and manager? Might also be an option. Or a longish vacation? Yoga? Massage?
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JoMoney
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by JoMoney »

I've known two people whose employer gave them a several month sabbatical promising to re-employ them when they were done (traveling abroad, prolonged honeymoon) rather than have them quit. Both were highly skilled technical positions, not sure if management would have been offered the same opportunity. I've also known several people whose employers were forced to do such for people that were reservists called to active duty.
If you can afford to take a break from employment, I would see if you can ensure you've got re-employment lined up. Gives you some options and security while you enjoy the break.
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HawkeyePierce
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

JoMoney wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 7:38 am I've known two people whose employer gave them a several month sabbatical promising to re-employ them when they were done (traveling abroad, prolonged honeymoon) rather than have them quit. Both were highly skilled technical positions, not sure if management would have been offered the same opportunity. I've also known several people whose employers were forced to do such for people that were reservists called to active duty.
If you can afford to take a break from employment, I would see if you can ensure you've got re-employment lined up. Gives you some options and security while you enjoy the break.
I did this in 2019 with a discretionary unpaid leave of absence. I took six months off and spent it all in New Zealand and Hawaii. My job was waiting for me when I returned.
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by drk »

From a financial perspective, there's minimal risk as long as your job is secure. You've done a good job setting yourselves up to handle something like this.
mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:10 am My question - if one leaves and re-enters the workforce after an extended period, is stating burnout and the need for a break a good reason? What would future prospective employer think about it?
No. It's not burnout. After successfully managing a team through COVID-associated disruptions, he's deciding to spend time with his kids and family. That's a nice, positive story to tell, and frankly it shows strength because he's willing/able to do what he values with his time.
BHead94638
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by BHead94638 »

Apologies to hear about the burnout. It's something I suffered through myself and it's a terrible feeling. The temptation to walk out is very strong and I totally relate to that.

Purely speaking from the financial standpoint, however, I would strongly advise to not walk out in a role in the current environment. It is becoming more and more difficult to ignore the macro trends, particularly when you have the Fed chair telling the world to basically "prepare for pain".

While I have no crystal ball, I think it's only prudent to ask yourself how you would feel if in 6 months the world is in recession with unemployment at 6 or 7% or more? Because that outcome is far, far more likely than it was a year ago. Particularly in the tech fields who have disproportionately worn more of the impact.

In my case I was able to resolve my burnout issues by having a serious discussion with my employer. I stepped out of management, am making less money, and I'm far, far happier for it. I would suggest at least trying to make it work at the current employer, or attempting to find another role somewhere else.

I was very close to doing what you are thinking about doing... However if the economic environment was at it is now I would not even consider walking out.

Good luck and best wishes.
rockstar
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by rockstar »

I'd take a nice long two week vacation and see if that helps first.
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8foot7
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by 8foot7 »

BHead94638 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:26 am
While I have no crystal ball, I think it's only prudent to ask yourself how you would feel if in 6 months the world is in recession with unemployment at 6 or 7% or more? Because that outcome is far, far more likely than it was a year ago. Particularly in the tech fields who have disproportionately worn more of the impact.

This is prudent advice. I see more posts about layoffs in my LinkedIn feed these days than I have seen in ten years. Clearly something has changed. That's not true for everyone but I don't think now is a great time to gamble that you are an exception.
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by BHead94638 »

8foot7 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:36 am
BHead94638 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:26 am
While I have no crystal ball, I think it's only prudent to ask yourself how you would feel if in 6 months the world is in recession with unemployment at 6 or 7% or more? Because that outcome is far, far more likely than it was a year ago. Particularly in the tech fields who have disproportionately worn more of the impact.

This is prudent advice. I see more posts about layoffs in my LinkedIn feed these days than I have seen in ten years. Clearly something has changed. That's not true for everyone but I don't think now is a great time to gamble that you are an exception.
I agree there. It's anecdotal evidence currently that headline data doesn't yet support. I'm expecting October and November are when it starts showing in initial claims. One by one though sectors are starting to get walloped in earnings releases like FedEx, the retailers, etc, all warning that things are getting bad.

At a minimum one considering a major decision should read those earnings releases and have that information as part of the process and think through it. Just IMO.
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by CascadiaSoonish »

Dupe, deleted
Last edited by CascadiaSoonish on Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by CascadiaSoonish »

mgk2010 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:39 pm My spouse is in mid 40s (to a question above), and is not the one to disengage mentally from responsibilities. Either it is completely all in or all out.
I'm middle management in big tech as well. Great company and great products but they grew too fast and are now trying to manage people and projects more methodically. The work requests never end, and then there's the pressure we put on ourselves to overdeliver. I see a wide range of coping mechanisms across the management team, from self-siloing to 24/7 work. That's my frame of reference when setting boundaries. In my case, there's lots of stuff I could do (and a manager who wants to do all of it) but I'm just going to focus on the work I do well.
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mgk2010
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Re: Burnout - Leave employment & break for a few mos?

Post by mgk2010 »

Wow !! Many thanks to you all for sharing your experience, some times deeply personal, and 1st and 2nd hand knowledge in this situation. It is a big reminder of what this community is about.

Have a lot to digest here. Responding to some of the queries above:

- My spouse does not want to retire early and still likes his domain of work.
- The company moved over to discretionary time off (new trend in Tech ! which basically means no one takes adequate vacation). But we can still seek a 2-3 week holiday.
- Yeah the macro trends are troubling but we have built a good nest and are on track for meeting our retirement objectives (even with one job), and one of us still has a good job (fingers crossed)
- We did not think of the non-paid sabbatical idea. Not sure how that will be taken, but worth a try.

As some have suggested, we are leaning towards dialing down the mental engagement in this job to most critical work only and (re)establishing boundaries. On the other side dial up on looking for new work. Also we have a holiday coming up. We will try for another 4-6 weeks and see how it goes.

Thanks once again.
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