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.

 


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