How to Give Yourself Some Positive Feedback at Work to Avoid Feeling Burnout

Overcoming “Workplace Mind Haze”

Generally speaking, in order to receive “positive work feedback” in the workplace, you need to obtain the things you want in the workplace, such as money, promotion opportunities, and a good working environment.

If your boss gives you a raise, and the raise is quite substantial, would you still not be motivated at work?

You have a good relationship with most of your colleagues, and your boss is very tolerant towards subordinates, often inviting them for afternoon tea. You really enjoy the working atmosphere of the company, so would you still dislike this job?

The promotion system in the company is very sound, and you have the opportunity for steady promotion and skills enhancement every year. Would you still think about leaving?

The workload at work is not very heavy, so after completing your tasks, you still have a lot of time to organize work materials, do work planning, and even have time to slack off or do a side business. Would you still feel drained?

When a person lacks motivation at work and feels drained, there must be some factor in the work that is causing them to feel excessive pressure or lose confidence in the future. This leads to various negative emotions, which are now referred to as “workplace haze.”

There are usually three ways to solve the problem of “workplace haze.” One is to identify the root cause of the problem and find ways to eliminate the factors that cause negative emotions in the workplace. Another is to take appropriate rest or slack off, and not put too much energy into work. The third is to find a way to leave the environment that continues to produce “workplace haze” and clarify the direction that can sustain your motivation at work, and find a more suitable workplace environment.

Overcoming “workplace haze” is not too difficult, but in reality, many people do not take the time to reflect on the reasons for their negative emotions, nor do they know how to alleviate these emotions in the workplace, which leads to continuous suffering. Do not try to deceive yourself. Pay more attention to your true needs and thoughts, and you will understand which approach to take to alleviate “workplace haze.”

Methods I’ve used: continuous learning, proactive feedback, finding role models.

There are indeed quite a few methods. I’ll share some methods that I have used and have had good results with.

  1. Continuous learning.

This includes not only learning the skills necessary for work, such as leadership, Excel functions, English, etc., but also learning skills that may not be directly related to work but bring me joy and mental satisfaction, such as wine etiquette, sketching, public speaking, and incense appreciation.

These work-related skills can be applied immediately after learning them, and the feedback from team members, superiors, and colleagues who collaborate parallelly will make me feel “empowered.” Even though the work content remains the same, the actual time taken to complete the work decreases. This allows me to proactively discuss with my boss about taking on more projects that I want to do, which in turn led to a salary raise and promotion (I was promoted from a supervisor to a manager back then).

As for those skills unrelated to work, they have enriched my leisure life and expanded my social circle. Through these skills, I have gained a general understanding of the daily work of people in different industries. Indeed, by comparing, my sense of happiness towards work has increased. I also know which companies are good companies, which gives me more room for imagination regarding my future possibilities. As a result, I love my current job even more and approach it with breakthrough ideas. The work is still the same, but my mindset towards completing the work has changed.

  1. Actively seek feedback.

When I first started working, I was filled with anticipation but didn’t dare to ask for feedback from my superiors. I passively waited for feedback from them. Later, when I changed jobs to a foreign company, during one of our weekly progress meetings, my boss (a Shanghai lady with a Western style and high professionalism) said to me, “You can ask me directly for feedback, and I will provide it. (At that time, she also recommended me to join the Toastmasters club.)”

Since then, I’ve learned to proactively seek feedback from relevant personnel after completing a project. I’ve also naturally learned to approach potential stakeholders before the project starts and ask them what kind of format and content they would desire if they were the target audience. I continue to seek feedback after the project ends. By doing so, I have received more and more positive feedback on my work, making me more confident and competent. Leaders also trust me to handle work tasks. Honestly speaking, there was a time when I was doing work at the director level, but my position didn’t change. However, I knew in my heart that doing this work would eventually lead to a promotion. If not here, I could still find other companies where I could get promoted.

  1. Find role models in the workplace.

Sometimes, I may feel satisfied with the completion of my work, but that satisfaction might only exist in my mind and may not actually be good enough. I once worked very hard on a report and thought I did a great job. However, when I saw a report from a director in another department during a report meeting, I immediately realized where my shortcomings were. So, I sincerely sought advice from him and learned from his report-writing approach. The power of role models is limitless. Having outstanding colleagues as role models prevents me from slacking off and getting tired of my work.

I’ll share these three methods for now. If you want more, please follow me on @Tang Anni, and let’s have more interaction.

Motivating yourself is essential to overcome work dissatisfaction.

When you feel “burned out” at work, you may consider giving yourself some positive feedback:

1. Reward yourself.

Every day when you arrive at the office, start by making a daily to-do list. When you complete a small goal, reward yourself. For example, have a cup of your favorite coffee, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, or eat a piece of chocolate.

Oh, you’re asking me where to get the coffee and chocolate? Ask your boss for reimbursement. Shouldn’t he pay for items that improve your work efficiency? As for watching TV shows, come on, that’s considered a break, not slacking off.

You’re asking me what to do if there’s no coffee or chocolate? Well, my dear, have you heard of the idiom “looking at the plums to quench thirst”? Do you know there’s another idiom called “drawing a cake to appease hunger”? Keep reading.

2. Learn self-motivation.

When you encounter difficulties at work, don’t be discouraged, don’t give up, learn to motivate yourself. You can silently say in your mind, “I am the best! I can do it!” Ignite your fighting spirit and motivate yourself to complete the work.

Even without coffee and chocolate, you can still motivate yourself. “The boss will definitely treat me to delicious coffee in the future, I have to believe in the boss. As long as I work hard, the coffee will come!”

3. Create a working environment.

To enjoy staying in the office more and become involuntarily fond of overtime, try changing the working environment. For example, place a pot of green plants on your desk, hang your favorite painting, display your favorite figurines, or put up photos of your family. To have more money to buy more figurines, to ensure a better life for your family, your burnout emotions will surely be greatly relieved.

By the way, do we have to give ourselves positive feedback? Can’t we just slack off? Can’t we change jobs? Can’t we change bosses?

The donkey of the production team refuses!

Positive feedback means good fodder, more rest time, and a higher position. Which of these can a donkey give to itself?

Career: Embrace Challenges, Avoid Negativity

I feel that the negative aspects of the workplace cannot be eliminated; things like indifference and envy are unavoidable in this environment. I am someone who habitually forces myself to process negative emotions, so for a considerable period of time, I attributed all the unpleasant experiences in the workplace to the grand theme of “life,” hoping to free myself from being limited to specific incidents or individuals. I have also considered changing jobs, but countless people’s experiences have proven that you cannot escape from unpleasant people and situations, and you cannot suppress them either. As the saying goes, when the Dao rises to a foot, the devil rises to ten feet; they lurk in some corner of “life,” waiting for an opportunity to strike.

The workplace, this large dyeing tub, is a place where people interact with each other, and it is true that whoever dominates wins. When a company has firmly established itself on the path to maturity, growth and internal competition will coexist, which is a very normal phenomenon. However, we need to distinguish between “growth” and “internal competition” in the workplace. Growth means learning how to solve problems and developing a calm mindset for problem-solving, while internal competition means staying in one place, wearing various shells desired by others and wearing oneself down. So when faced with opportunities, bravely step forward and train yourself; when facing internal competition, cleverly withdraw and cultivate mental strength.

Therefore, don’t nitpick the environment, don’t fight against it, and don’t get emotionally attached in the pursuit of fame and fortune. Avoid feelings of dislike, annoyance, and disgust. All emotions are reciprocal; the more you dislike the environment, the more you dislike yourself. We, as those who roam in the middle and lower ranks, should protect our thirst for knowledge and our brave and confident souls. Understand that there is no one correct answer in this world, and there are no predetermined answers; right and wrong depend on the environment. But maintain 100% belief in yourself, then sleep well, eat well, do your work well, wait for the situation to stabilize, and wait for your own stage.

Jung once said that each person has two lives: one is the life lived for others to see. The other, I believe, is when we realize that we only have one life.

So, live for yourself as much as possible. Life is short, don’t waste your emotions and tears on people and time that don’t care about you. Love yourself, love the beauty of this world, the mountains, rivers, sun, moon, flowers, and grass.

The Importance of Passion-driven Persistence

Passion is the fundamental prerequisite for long-term persistence.

In order to persist in doing something for the long-term, the basic prerequisite is that you have a deep passion for it. I have personally experienced this firsthand.

Take my operation of a Zhihu account for example. Before I started trying, my friends advised me to focus on technology or automotive topics. On one hand, these fields are easier to monetize, and on the other hand, they have a high commercial value and are more likely to make big money.

So I created a small account, but I couldn’t stick with it no matter what. I would lose interest easily and only update the content every few days. It became a chore.

I tried various fields mentioned above, but all of them ended without any progress. Moreover, the more I did, the more painful it became. It was truly torturous!

Eventually, I stopped worrying about all that and started focusing on what I loved the most. I began providing content solely based on my interests. Career, socializing, asset management, emotional psychology, self-management… every aspect closely related to what I loved.

And then, unsurprisingly, I persisted. I didn’t need to set any rewards for myself or follow a schedule.

Every day, I woke up with a bunch of ideas that I wanted to share. I was self-driven and had to update regularly. Nothing could stop me!

Not only did I output content frequently, but I also enjoyed it and became deeply immersed in it.

The more I did, the more enjoyable it became. I couldn’t stop!

This is the importance of “long-term persistence driven by a passion for a specific field.” You must genuinely and wholeheartedly love something in order to drive yourself to persist day and night.

Only after persisting for three, five, or even ten years can quantitative changes accumulate into qualitative changes, and your achievements can experience breakthrough growth.

This is also why losing passion can directly lead to a life crisis because when you don’t love anything, it is difficult to persist in anything.

If you can’t persist in doing something for a long time, how can you expect to achieve results?

When you are working, you must pay attention to this. Think about what you are most addicted to. Dig deep into the underlying logic behind it.

That underlying logic is most likely the direction of your passion.

By accurately identifying this point of passion and continuously exerting effort, you can increase the probability of achieving a breakthrough in life and stage a comeback.

Cultivate Interests and Exercise

Actually, the method is very simple, it just depends on whether you are willing or not.

There are many methods for us to relax and give ourselves positive feedback, according to the opinions of the big shots.

Yuan Jianguy is like this. Smoking, drinking, and getting a perm are very effective methods.

Guo Degang is even more impressive. He reads, reads, and reads every day, without stopping.

Li Yunlong is even more impressive. He brags, brags, and brags every day, without stopping.

Zhao Gang is even simpler. He keeps on talking about Li Yunlong, nonstop.

As long as your mind doesn’t slip, there will always be more methods than difficulties. Next, listen to the advice from an old teacher who has been working for more than ten years!

First, cultivate interests and hobbies

No matter what kind of person you are, you can cultivate your own interests and hobbies.

For example, in “In the Name of the People,” Sun Liancheng cultivated a very good hobby, which is stargazing and moon watching. Every day, all he wanted to do was to look at the stars, observe their positions and changes. At the same time, he also observed the moon, its changes, and if it had any impact on us. He wondered if our Earth would undergo any changes because of the moon.

For example, in “The Eloquent Ji Xiaolan,” Heshen likes money. He loves all kinds of gold, silver, pearls, calligraphy, and antiques. He loves everything, especially rare treasures imported from foreign countries. He can’t get enough of them. Similarly, he also loves women of all skin tones. After work every day, he hurries home to see his gold, silver, pearls, and his wives, to spend some quality time with them, and chat!

Of course, as a rural teacher like me, I cannot afford expensive items, so I keep things that are within my means, such as various flowers, livestock, and student works. Anyway, as long as they are inexpensive, I can collect them, because you never know which item will appreciate in value in the future. Especially these students that we cultivate, you never know which one will become a president, a party secretary, or the richest person. So, it’s good to collect things.

Everything is the best memory and the most precious youth.

Second, exercise appropriately!

People tend to have various random thoughts and mess around simply because they have too much energy. If you release your energy, naturally you won’t have all kinds of problems.

After work every day, you can do some simple exercises, such as jogging. You can slowly run in your neighborhood, around your company, or in the commercial area. Basically, you just need to run a bit, and your mood will naturally improve.

Of course, if you have like-minded friends, you can play football with them. Kick away all the frustrations and annoyances from work, so that you can live a more comfortable and happier life. After playing football, you can sit together and have milk tea, Tieguanyin tea, cinnamon tea, or Pu’er tea, and discuss life together!

If you can play basketball together and experience the charm of sports, that is also a very comfortable thing. It will help you achieve better development and lead a happier life. Basketball is a relatively simple sport, more suitable for middle-aged men. At the same time, you can chat and bond through this activity, making your life more fulfilling.

In conclusion

Life is not just about work. You can do many other things to alleviate the stress and gloominess brought by work.

Enjoy life, young man!

Reasons I can’t be a leader:

  1. Impatient, easily annoyed.
  2. Wear emotions on my face, can be unpleasant.
  3. Sympathetic but resentful.
  4. Lack of self-control, prone to corruption.
  5. Vengeful, use position to harm disliked colleagues.
  6. Protect subordinates fiercely.
  7. Mentally sensitive, can’t handle criticism.

Feeling frustrated with work, even coming late. Want to sleep during good weather. Want to eat in Chaoshan. How to not be immersed in work frustrations on Sundays? Feeling ashamed about being affected by work and doubting own weakness. Boyfriend’s comment makes me stressed and feel inadequate. Hatred towards own weakness and inability to handle pressure. Reasons why I can’t be a leader:

  1. Limited patience, can’t stand hearing the same question twice, tired of stupidity, annoying people, and the whole team.

  2. Wear my emotions on my sleeve, when I’m happy, everything in this world is beautiful to me, when I’m unhappy, I want to devour the whole company.

  3. Soft-hearted, easily sympathize with others, sometimes feeling sorry for them, other times feeling they deserve it.

  4. Lack self-discipline, unable to resist the temptation of power, likely to engage in bribery and corruption and eventually go down the wrong path.

  5. Strong desire for revenge, will misuse my position to make life difficult for people I dislike at work.

  6. Protecting my subordinates, if someone bullies them, I will definitely go to great lengths to retaliate without considering the consequences.

  7. Emotionally sensitive and fragile, can’t handle any form of praise, just thinking that there will be people bad-mouthing me behind my back every day makes it difficult for me to sleep at night.

Now, my frustration with work is getting worse. Since last week, I have been consistently at least one hour late. We are supposed to clock in at 8 AM, but I usually sleep until 9 AM and casually go to the office at 9:30 AM. My boss doesn’t care about me at all, he has no idea that I’m late. Today was even more extreme, I just skipped work in the morning. I’m so annoyed with work. Such nice weather, I should be sleeping soundly.

The section of Beishan Street around the lake on weekends is also a big no-no. I really want to go to Chaoshan and eat some fresh pickles. How can I spend Sunday without being immersed in work frustration? The pastry chef at the newly opened bakery on Fengqi Road seems handsome, or maybe it’s just the mask effect. Feeling a bit depressed, it seems like my passion for novels, games, and anime has been sealed away. I’m really becoming a boring adult.

Including work, I feel ashamed that I’m letting myself be influenced like this. I can’t help but wonder if I’m too fragile and lacking in resilience.

When my boyfriend said, “It’s hard to imagine that you’ve only been working for less than a year and already have such strong feelings of hating work,” I felt stressed. It felt like I was being scolded, even though I knew he probably didn’t mean it that way. But that sentence kept echoing in my mind, constantly mocking and blaming myself, causing me repeated pain. I hate my incompetence and weakness, hate that I can’t handle pressure.

Reflection and Growth

I reflect on myself three times a day, examining myself and contemplating my own actions. I ask myself if I am getting enough sleep, if I go to bed too late, if my meals are irregular, if I sit for too long, if my working hours are too long, if I have too little physical activity. People are always busy with work, neglecting their own health. Therefore, we should reflect on ourselves, interrogate our souls, and let our souls admit: I have indeed mistreated my body and I must correct it in the future.

The equalization of social security benefits is a significant advancement, as it aligns the calculation methods of retirement insurance for government institutions and enterprises. Using the old method, a government employee with a pre-retirement salary of 10,000 yuan may receive a pension of only 9,000 yuan, with a substitution ratio as high as 90%. On the other hand, a worker with a average salary of 10,000 yuan may receive only a 4-5 thousand yuan pension, or even lower, due to the inability to accumulate as many years of work. As a worker who pays the maximum contribution based on a base salary of around 30,000 yuan, my pension may not even reach 10,000 yuan. With the equalization, at least the calculation is the same. It is a step towards fairness. As for occupational pensions etc., large enterprises have them. Either you strive to work for a large enterprise or you strive to pass the civil service examination. The calculations are the same. If you do not work hard and can only find employment in small enterprises or fail to pass the examination, then the pension benefits will inevitably not be sufficient.

When I first started working, I thought everyone was amazing. Even the most difficult tasks seemed like a piece of cake for others.

At that time, there was a colleague who was not only beautiful but also highly capable. She directly transferred to a leading automobile manufacturer. When chatting with the manager of the adjacent department, I admired her work ability, feeling that I was far from reaching her level.

The manager calmly stated that it was only because she had worked longer hours than me. If I worked for the same amount of time, I would excel more than her.

At that time, I was still a fool, largely marginalized and not exposed to any important work. However, these words inexplicably gave me a lot of courage.

After more than a year, I gradually became more capable. A new colleague joined the department, with an unimaginably extensive social network. From planning and design to construction, beverages, and media, even connecting with well-known international organizations, she had friends to support her in every aspect.

On the way home after a banquet, I chatted with her.

I told her that I really admired her. She had great work ability, organized everything perfectly, had an extroverted and cheerful personality, and had a natural charisma. She had so many friends.

She replied cheerfully, “Now that we’ve met, my friends are your friends too. You also have so many friends. As for work ability, I’ve worked ten more years than you. When you reach my age, you will definitely surpass me.”

Recently, I have heard a saying that the world is like a stage and everyone is just playing their part.

The actors on this stage start with mediocre acting, but with accumulated experience, they eventually become excellent actors who can convey emotions and move people to tears.

There’s no need to fear the passing of time, because some growth can only be attained with time.

Learning from Chairman Mao: Overcoming Career Crisis.

Tell a story about Chairman Mao. In November 1931, at the Gan’an Conference convened by the Central Representative Delegation, Mao Zedong’s correct propositions were criticized as “narrow empiricism,” “rich peasant line,” and “extremely serious consistent right-wing opportunism.” It was proposed to “concentrate firepower to oppose right deviation,” and Mao Zedong was relieved of his position as Acting Secretary of the Central Bureau of the Soviet Area and deprived of his command of the army.

Subsequently, Chairman Mao suffered from “cruel struggle and ruthless blows” and lived a “four-year life of a young wife.” More than thirty years later, Chairman Mao described it as follows: “They soaked me, a wooden Buddha, in a cesspit, took me out, made me stink, at that time, not even a ghost knocked on my door, my task was eating, sleeping, and defecating. Fortunately, my head was not chopped off.” This was Mao Zedong’s situation at the time, and the road ahead was extremely difficult.

Facing the “career crisis,” what did Chairman Mao do? After being unemployed, Mao Zedong spent a lot of time doing two things: reading and conducting research—reading thousands of books and traveling thousands of miles under the conditions at that time. Mao Zedong did not believe that Marxism could not be found in the mountains and valleys. He immersed himself in reading a large number of books about Marx, Engels, and Lenin. “I read almost all day long, finished reading one book and started another, and sometimes alternated between books. I worked diligently and read for two years.” This elevated Mao Zedong’s theoretical literacy, making his tools for analyzing and understanding problems sharper. “The later works such as ‘On Contradiction’ and ‘On Practice’ were formed during these two years of reading Marxist and Leninist works.” During this period, Mao Zedong also conducted a lot of investigations and research, including the famous “Changgang Village Survey” and “Caixi Village Survey,” which deepened his understanding of the Central Soviet Area.

Reading enabled Mao Zedong to grasp the basic principles of Marxism, while research enabled him to have a deep understanding of the specific realities of China. On the basis of combining the two, he systematically summarized the experience and lessons of the revolution, achieving a profound and comprehensive understanding of how to lead the Chinese revolution to victory. At the same time, he constantly reflected on and improved himself while being alone, becoming “calmer and more mature, with more meticulous and thoughtful thinking, especially better at uniting people.” This laid an internal foundation for winning more supporters in the future and accumulated stronger and deeper strength through constant precipitation.

From Chairman Mao’s story, we can learn some methods for dealing with job fatigue:

First, strengthen reading and learning. This not only allows new ideas and technologies to be applied to current work, but also helps summarize and refine existing work, publish industry papers or articles, dare to try, and not be afraid of failure, which may yield unexpected results.

Second, participate in industry research. Participate in various conferences, trainings, and activities in the industry you are in. You will always encounter things that interest you and find meaningful, and have conversations with friends from different companies. You may meet like-minded friends and discover talented individuals.

Third, learn to reflect on oneself and unite colleagues around you. Have conversations with colleagues from other departments in your own organization and listen to their opinions about your work. Viewing oneself from others' perspectives often helps to see oneself more clearly and gives you the opportunity to make adjustments and regulate yourself. At the same time, actively connect with colleagues around you, as the foundation of public opinion is also an important part of achieving progress in the workplace.

Finally, we are not great figures, but we can learn from great figures. Through proactive adjustments and overcoming current difficulties, imagine if Chairman Mao had been discouraged and not continued to learn and improve during his “career crisis,” would there still have been the great figure Mao Zedong in the future?

摆脱厌班症的方法 (Ways to overcome burnout)

Do not let the feeling of being tired of work go unchecked. In addition to examining work and adjusting our mindset in a very personal way, we must also be mindful not to bring negative emotions to others, especially important family members. Always remember that the only ones who unconditionally support us are our families.

When stress continues to increase, a considerable number of white-collar workers will become more and more anxious. Some white-collar workers experience workplace fatigue, and some even develop a dislike for work, especially newcomers to the workplace. When entering the workplace for the first time, facing tremendous pressure, if a newcomer has poor adaptability or cannot change their mindset, it is easy to develop a dislike for work. So, when this happens, how can a newcomer overcome it?

People under pressure should actively seek to reduce stress, cultivate hobbies, and develop a healthy and positive lifestyle. When faced with various pressures, learn how to effectively reduce stress and relax. For example, exercising and detoxifying can release negative emotions. It is also important to learn about “emotional management” and pay attention to not only material wealth but also spiritual well-being and happiness.

Feeling tired of work leading to a temporary decrease in work efficiency is not unforgivable. However, persisting in this state will lead to constant feelings of failure, causing physical and mental discomfort and even self-loathing. Therefore, we might as well relax, take a deep breath, and tell ourselves that the problem is not as serious as we think. Find the right way to readjust ourselves, and the “dislike for work” is just a chance for us to reflect on our work, and even our family and personal state. We have the ability to turn bad things into good things.

Facing the heavy pressure of work can make us feel bored and allow ourselves to develop a “dislike for work,” which helps us realize that going on strike and playing are our rights, especially when the feeling of dislike for work erupts. It’s like a spring that has been stretched tight and needs to relax in order to regain its vitality. But as the saying goes, playing also requires choosing the right time.