Controlling Burn Out

Photos of Raul Colon Web Developer Puerto Rico

I am constantly searching for new things to do. Since I was a kid I have wanted to do many things at the same time. I was involved in the Boy Scouts, worked as a volunteer for the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee, and the Puerto Rico Volleyball Federations as a translator for teams that came to compete on the Island, sold baseballs cards, played sports, groomed dogs, tutored other kids in English, and before I finished my teenage years I joined the military.

In my 20’s I always had various jobs and while in college I took no less than 18 credits per semester while holding multiple jobs (Bar Tending, serving tables, Selling America Online,serving in the U.S. Army reserves, for two semesters I was also in the ROTC, and also creating websites). I had enough on my plate to drown me but since I loved being involved in a lot of things I was able to do fairly average or above average in most things.

When was it too much

There where occasions I could not stay awake at my college courses because my body was drained of energy although in my mind I thought I could keep going. I thank many of my professors that knew that I was working to pay for school so they looked for ways to coach me (other professors just did their job and I ended up doing badly in a few classes which I had to repeat). I guess those classes I failed where a good flag that I had to cut back on the many things I did.

I did not learn my lesson until finally when I was working at Scherrer Hernandez , a CPA firm in Puerto Rico,  where the work load was the opposite of the pay we received. Some of these CPA Firms have a mystique of prestige and value and places like Scherrer used to drain their employees and compensating them with the supposed goodwill of the firms name.

Although Scherrer ended being the Most Toxic environment I have worked for, I did get many positive lessons out of it. The first lesson was that I had to cut back on my commitments. I was drained with my responsibilities of the U.S. Army Reserve where I decided to leave my position as a Military Instructor because it involved too much sacrifice. My 8 Year contract was about to end so it made it easy for me to stay under the radar and not re-enlist. I miss some of the people I met while in the reserves but every once in a while I get to say hi to them and chat either online or offline.

Taking on Tasks that Go with what you are already Committed Too

After leaving the reserves I changed jobs and started working at KPMG LLP where I had the opportunity to really focus on my job and everything I did was well appreciated. I did involve myself in many things that complemented each other. Different to other experiences, the tasks I had at that moment helped me move forward. Every day I finished a task and I felt I was growing personally and professionally. It took a few months, but  I was promoted from an internal position supporting the Project Management Office to going out in the field and working on projects with a great group of folks while still doing all these other tasks.

The difference in KPMG was that I had great mentors. Thankfully I was reporting to the top leadership of the practice and they all guided me into having the adequate work life balance. Many of the mentors I met at KPMG, I still talk with periodically while some have become more like family.

Having someone to let you know that you probably have too much on your plate is probably the best option towards identifying the issue and fixing it.

After KPMG, I have worked in a few other places before I set up CIMA IT Solutions and I have to say that I have met great mentors which help me greatly.

How do you control yourself from feeling burned out? Are there any tips you want to share?

photo credit by ross_hawkes


  1. Ryan Critchett on July 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Huge post bro! It’s hard.. right? Because everywhere we go, there’s something else to do. Great reading about how you have gotten a handle on it. 

    I just try to cut out as much minutia as possible, consciously, by re-establishing what I think is most important (task wise) based on my goals (which I try to definitively set). Mental conditioning, I guess. The more I’m aware of what I’m doing, the more I ask myself, “should I be doing this?” And that helps tremendously. 

    • Raul Colon on July 8, 2011 at 3:19 am

      These last few days I have been really disconnected of things that have gone into second priorities. But I ask myself that almost every day. “Should I Be doing this”

  2. Gabriele Maidecchi on July 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

    It’s important to know your limits, and that can just happen with lots of practice. Going beyond the burning out phase is a terrible thing ’cause it doesn’t just leave you drained, but can make you do stupid things or make stupid decisions. I saw people around me going nuts while under too much pressure, so I believe it’s vital to stop before it’s too late, so to say.
    It’s very important to be part of a positive workplace, with people not causing additional stress, some place where you actually feel happy to go work to. I have this luck but I know it’s not the same for everyone, and sometimes the problem lies in one person’s mindset rather than external elements.

    • Raul Colon on July 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      Exactly lot of test and trial. 🙂 .. thanks for always stopping by.