Burnt Out

Avoiding Burnout: FCS Professionals in Human Development and Family Studies

It is personally rewarding to work in a human development and family studies (HDFS) career. It is also challenging in many ways as professionals in the area of FCS and HDFS face unique challenges. For instance, often those that work in HDFS are at the mercy of government funding, leading to a feeling of insecurity related to employment possibilities. In addition, we tend to make less money than those working in other areas of family and consumer sciences (for example, consumer studies or entrepreneurs). Those of us that work in the helping profession also face a daunting array of regulations regarding proper documentation of expenses and activities (in other words, A LOT of paperwork). Finally, we can feel as if we are spinning our wheels if we do not see change occurring in those with whom we work. When we don’t perceive improvement in the quality of life of those that we serve, we may feel undervalued and burnt out.

So…how do you fight against these obstacles? A few recommendations for avoiding burnout include:

  • Look for networks of supportive individuals with whom you can share experiences and seek support.
  • Be realistic, make sure that your goals for your client are within the scope of your work and are achievable and not based on your personal ideals.
  • Maintain professional boundaries with clients (for example, do not give them your cell or personal number unless it is required of you).
  • Keep a positive attitude and focus on your accomplishments, even if they are small and may feel insignificant. Any move forward is a good thing and should be embraced as a success.
  • Take care of yourself! Focus on friends and family. Develop a hobby that you enjoy, and make sure you spend time on rejuvenation.

With a support network, realistic expectations, boundaries, a positive attitude, and balanced life, you can find fulfillment in an HDFS career….without losing your focus and burning out!

About Mikki Sherwood

Mikki has taught in the School of Family & Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University since 1997. She also coordinates the Infant and Child development Laboratories for the university and assists in directing the ABC Program. She has a Masters degree in FCS and a PhD in Early Childhood Education/Child Psychology. Mikki’s primary areas of research are multiculturalism and diversity and human sexuality. She has studied brain development across the lifespan (but with a particular focus on children and adolescents) for many years and has presented and published on a variety of topics related to sexuality, gender issues, multicultural education in primarily white geographical regions, male involvement in the lives of young children, and LGBT issues. Her expertise in brain development during adolescence and emerging adulthood inspire the articles she writes or content she posts on the Career Skillet website.


, , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply


Career Skillet is an online educational resource designed to help students with skills that will help them successfully transition from student to career roles. Please review this Privacy Policy and Disclaimers periodically as we may make changes and updates without prior notice. We will post a date at the bottom of the page, so our audiences can see when the page was most recently updated.

Privacy Policy

We may use information from the Career Skillet site for program improvement or educational purposes (for example, presentations at conferences or publications in journals). Information that we may obtain from the site about you include:

  • -Manage your participation in events, promotions, or research you sign up for on the Career Skillet site.
  • -Analyze trends and statistics regarding visitors’ use of the Career Skillet website (for example, the pages visited, the most popular content, the types of information that our visitors share with others, how long visitors spend on the website, the types of questions visitors ask).
  • -To comply with legal policies and industry standards


To ensure that Career Skillet visitors receive reliable and accurate information, part of our model is to include comments, authored articles, summaries, and other types of content from contributing authors. Career Skillet assumes no responsibility for documents posted by users or contributing authors although we will make every attempt to block or delete offensive material or any information that conflicts with the goals and mission of Career Skillet.

Contributing authors come from various backgrounds and were invited to contribute to the Career Skillet websites because of their expertise. The contributing authors are not responsible for the information posted by other authors.

Career Skillet will link to other websites. These links are provided as a convenience to visitors. Therefore, these links should not be considered an endorsement of the other website, and Career Skillet is not responsible for the content on the third-party websites. Although we are selective and only generally reference articles, infographics, or other materials on third-party websites that we believe is of quality, when you link to third-party websites, you do so at your own risk. If Career Skillet links to information on your website and you would like it removed, or you believe that Career Skillet is violating your website’s copyright policies, we ask that you notify Career Skillet in writing of a copyright infringement click here. If we remove or disable access to content in response to a copyright infringement notice you sent, we will make every attempt to notify you.

If you wish to use the content on the Career Skillet website for another website or online resource of similar nature, we ask that you do not duplicate our original content and that you list the Career Skillet name and provide a direct link back to the Career Skillet website. Please notify us and tell us how you are using our content.

For Questions, comments, or Advertising inquires please submit the following form and we will contact you back as soon as possible.

Your Name: *
E-mail Address: *
Subject: *
Message Details:  

*=required field
[php] include('mathcaptcha.php');[/php]