Am I being overworked and underpaid?
It’s a common question a lot of employees seem to be asking themselves these days – especially when it comes to the care industry.
Work burnout is very real and can lead to other health issues.
In 2018, 595,000 people in the UK alone suffered from workplace stress.
Which is hardly surprising when a CIPD survey found that 1 in 4 employees put in at least 10 hours of overtime each week.
The bottom line is, whether you’re an athlete or a care assistant, working yourself too hard can severely damage your wellbeing and your performance at work.
It can also leave you feeling demoralised if you aren’t getting reimbursed for it as well.
The question is, how can you tell if you’re close to burning out?
And are you being underpaid for all that hard work?
Here’s everything you need to know.
Experiencing similar symptoms to depression
According to a psychotherapist based in Ireland, and the author of a book about burnout, Siobhan Murray, “A lot of the signs and symptoms of pre-burnout would be very similar to depression”.
Do you find yourself drinking more alcohol in the week and relying on sugar to get you through the day?
Tiredness is another one to look out for.
Siobhan Murray says;
“So that even if you do sleep well, by 10 in the morning you’re already counting down the hours to bed. Or not having the energy to exercise or go for a walk.”
“Depression and pre-burnout are very similar, but as much as there was a lot of enthusiasm recently that burnout had now become a medical condition, it is still not – it is still classified as an occupation phenomenon.”
“Stress is really important, and anxiety is what motivates us to do well. It’s when we’re continually exposed to stress and anxiety, that we’re not letting go, that it starts to turn into burnout.”
As an employee, you need to find ways to unwind at the end of the day and prioritise your wellbeing, regardless of the pay factor.
Recognising your worth and it doesn’t add up
One of the quickest ways to establish whether you’re being overworked and underpaid all at once is to do some research into fellow professionals working in the same industry.
Hop onto job boards or take a look at our current job opportunities (if you work in care) and see what the starting salary or hourly wage is.
While it doesn’t necessarily tell you how much is required of you on a day-to-day basis, you can at least see whether your salary is matching up.
As a professional, you need to work out your worth.
Do you feel like you’ve picked up new skills and add extra value to the company?
Have you remained loyal in a permanent job for a long time?
If you’ve been at a company for a while and your salary hasn’t budged, this is a clear sign you’re being underpaid.
You’re taking on more responsibilities
While this might be quite an obvious sign, it’s easy to forget.
As busy professionals, a lot of us don’t take the time to step back and think about ourselves.
This is particularly true if your job involves you looking after others.
A simple and effective way to spot whether you’re being stretched too far is to refer to your old job description or job advert when you first applied for the job.
This will give you a clear understanding of what day-to-day duties you were meant to be doing and what kind of salary you’re getting in exchange.
If you haven’t received a salary increase and your responsibilities have increase, you’re being overworked and underpaid.
You’re showing physical and psychological signs
As well as consuming more naughty things and sleeping less, various other physical and psychological signs indicate that you’re being overworked too.
– Finding it difficult to switch off from work
– Feeling overwhelmed and stressed
– Losing interest in the things you love and feeling like you can’t be bothered to do them
– High blood pressure
If you’re unsure on any of these things, it’s worth speaking with a doctor and getting them to take a look at you.
Just one test can determine your blood pressure and set you on the right path.
What should you do if you’re being overworked and underpaid?
Recognising the signs of burnout and lack of pay is one thing, but how do you address it?
Should you leave your job?
Or is it worth talking to your manager?
In truth, it all depends on what you want to do.
If you feel like your heart isn’t in the job anymore, look for a new challenge and you can use this role as experience.
However, if you want to talk before making a drastic change, go into your meeting prepared.
This includes writing down any new responsibilities you’ve taken on and examples of how the current workload is impacting your life.
In some cases, your employer might choose to hire someone else to help.
Or in others, they may give you a salary increase. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on how you’re feeling.
Athletes can get paid millions every week, but throwing more money at them won’t remedy the way they are physically feeling and help them improve their performance.
Sometimes support is better than a few extra quid in the bank – especially when it’s concerning your wellbeing.
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