As a career reinvention coach, I routinely work with clients who are clearly experiencing career trauma. Many don't realize just how much their career is affecting their mental and emotional health until we have our initial conversation. I recently worked with a client who was wound so tight she couldn't make it through dinner without excusing herself from the table to throw up. I often give my clients a career trauma checklist and they are amazed at how many of the signs and symptoms they present. For the purpose of this article, I am highlighting 4 of the more common signs that you are suffering from a mild to severe degree of career trauma. Remember, no career is worth ruining your health over.  

Let's take a closer look at these 4 signs...

  • Wishing Monday Morning Was Friday Night. Far too many of us are experiencing burnout, dread, anxiety and varying degrees of depression due to toxicity in the workplace. The workplace should be a place where we are expected to put forth our best effort, however, the demands on us should not be so great that we feel emotionally and physically depleted. I have coached clients who spent the majority of their working hours worrying about being fired for committing any type of infraction. Others find themselves victims of a workplace culture that condones bullying and sexual harassment. Many of my clients are afraid to report workplace issues to Human Resources for fear of being retaliated against. If this sounds familiar, I would encourage you to begin formulating an exit strategy because barring a complete reversal of culture, things will only get worse. You deserve to thrive, not just survive!

  • Self-Doubt. One of the most obvious signs of career trauma involves doubting your decisions, abilities and self-worth. Are you in a constant state of self-doubt and regardless of what your family, friends or peers tell you, you still believe you don't have what it takes to succeed? Do you feel that no matter what you do, it is never good enough to please your superiors? Whenever you do speak up, do your superiors offer feedback that triggers a fear that you still don't measure up in their eyes? Superiors often do this in subtle ways such as not returning messages or joking that you are simply being too sensitive. The minute we begin to doubt ourselves we effectively let the Devil in the front door. If you can relate to any of these feelings, it's wise to start thinking about finding a new company or pursuing a new career. We must protect our self-confidence at all costs and it is very difficult to do this while in a toxic work environment. The key thing to remember is that it's not about you. Emotionally healthy leaders and managers do not operate like this. Weak, insecure, leaders and managers do operate this way!   

  • Resentment Toward Yourself & Others. Are you beginning to resent yourself for staying stuck or resenting others who seem to be very happy in their career? Do you realize that it's time to move on but you're afraid you will be black balled in your industry for being a malcontent? Do you secretly envy others who are seemingly "doing everything right" and you wish you could be as good as they are? These are all signs you are suffering from career trauma. Sadly, far too many of my clients have contracted what is commonly referred to as "resentment flu". Over time, harboring these feelings can wreak havoc on our mental and emotional health. Feelings of resentment towards yourself or others is not a healthy way to live. It's time to take charge of your career and begin moving toward something that will give you a greater sense of purpose. 

  • Focusing On Your Work Life At The Expense Of Everything Else. Do you feel you have to work all of the time in order to stay ahead or keep from being fired? Do you prioritize work over family and friends? Do you struggle to be fully present in anything that doesn't have to do with work? Are you unable to stay focused on a conversation with friends and family or do you hijack conversations with your work-related challenges? Do you sabotage intimacy because you can't stop thinking about work? The key to living a fulfilling life comes down to our ability to balance our work life with our personal life. There will be times when you will have to prioritize work over just about anything else but these times should be far and few between. People who are completely consumed with work will eventually burn out and sadly, many will wake up one day to find themselves completely alone. Work obsession is a subtle clue that we are experiencing career trauma.  

There is no amount of money or prestige worth ruining your physical or mental health. Your career should bring you joy not pain. Your career should bring you satisfaction not suffering! If you are experiencing career trauma, it's time to make a pivot and find a career that feeds your soul, not your fear! As a career reinvention coach, I offer a complimentary 45-minute strategy session designed to help you reframe your career goals. Visit us at

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback/


Final Thoughts...

Until Next Time...

John Page Burton is the founder and CEO of The Career Reinvention Institute. John is an internationally recognized leader in the personal-professional development industry who has trained and coached well over a thousand clients in 11 different countries. He has written three books and is the creator and chief facilitator of Power Focus 90, a 90 day, total immersion group coaching program that is considered by many to be the gold standard for personal development courses. He is also the creator and facilitator of Pivot From Your Heart, a highly regarded career reinvention course. Over his 30 year career, John has served as an Executive trainer for several multi-million dollar companies and he routinely facilitates workshops and seminars teaching leadership principles and peak performance strategies.


John studied Human Needs Psychology under his long time mentors Tony Robbins and Chloe Madanes at the Robbins-Madanes Center for Strategic Intervention. He holds certificates of specialization in Positive Psychology (Penn) Conflict Resolution (Cal-Irvine) and Teamwork Skills-Working In Groups (University of Colorado).

To learn more about John's practice visit John Page Burton