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The Ad business ain't what I thought it was:

I have been in the advertising business now for about eight years.  When I graduated from college, I was sure advertising was for me.  But I wasn't really prepared to discover how all-consuming and stressful it can be.  And I've been very disillusioned about the industry and my place in it.

I know that I need to find a new career that better suits my talents and abilities.  The challenge will be to find one that pays well enough to afford an NYC lifestyle while at the same time "turning me on."  I don't know if it exists but I'm ready to find out.

The problem is that I'm so burned out!!  I work about 10 to 12 hours a day at a frantic, crazy pace.  I'm under stress for most of the time.  I have so much responsibility that the thought of waiting on tables sounds more exciting than what I'm doing.

Is there any advice you can offer on how I can first address this burned out feeling I have?  I feel I need to recuperate somewhat before I aggressively pursue a new career.  But, I'm not sure how.

Please help!!!

"NYC-Ad Man"

Docpotter's Reply

"NYC-Ad Man"

You seem to have created an either/or dilemma:  EITHER you have a fast-paced stressful, high paying work OR you wait on tables!

I suspect that you will tackle almost any work with the same high-speed, all consuming style.  And, in fact, in today's world most work is just that!  So you could jump from the preverbal frying pan into the fire.

First, you need to identify what exactly is getting you down - ie., burning you out.  You can do with by gathering "data", much like a scientist does.  Each time you get that burned out feeling, stop and note what caused it.  Write a description of the cause in a note book along with a rating of the intensity of the feeling.  YOu can use a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low burned out feeling and 10 being very high burned out feeling.

Continue gathering data for several days.  Then review your data, looking for patterns.  This will be very revealing.

Secondly, you say you want to find a career that "better suits your talents and abilities" and also pays well.  This is going back to the all-or-nothing/either-or approach.  Could be that advertising IS, in fact, just right for you - but you need to find a different agency, for example.  Or, perhaps you can restructure your current responsibilities.  Resist all-or-nothing thinking!

I discuss either/or dilemmas in my book Finding a Path wtih a Heart: How to Go from Burnout to Bliss in the transformational chapter.  Either/or is a classic dilemma and can't be "solved" as it is - and it makes you crazy!

A career counselor can assist you to identify and explore your talents and abilities.  However, you might correct thing by becoming a better self-manager.  This would include setting better priorities, creating boundries, saying "no" to certain things, and building up your avocation life.  A good book is Wishcraft by Barbara Sherer.

You say: "The problem is that I'm so burned out!!  I work about 10 to 12 hours a day at a frantic, crazy pace.  I'm under stress for most of the time. "  I suspect that you will assume this maniac pace in virtualy any work you take on.  This is where you need to improve your self-management skills.


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