While most people find ways to get over these episodes, we’ve seen hundreds of others quit the industry due to the cumulative effects of being burnt out. What’s more, burnout can happen to anyone, from fresh trainees to top-level professionals with decades of experience in the industry.
But while work fatigue is inevitable, permanent burnout is usually avoidable. Given our years and success in the industry, we’ve figured out a few things that could help stave off potentially career-ending breakdowns. Here are some things we’ve found that can help avoid or mitigate burnout among SEOs:
1) Find a Hobby
Apart from being stress-busters, hobbies can give you a reason to work hard at your job. This is because, for many people, hobbies tend to evolve into a stronger part of their core identity than their career. They can help some individuals become more self-actualized and may even help them gain unique insights into various issues in SEO, digital marketing, and even management.
Some of the hobbies that are popular among Filipino SEOs include travel, cars, video games, and shoes. However, we’ve seen SEOs engage in all kinds of unique and interesting pursuits that have ultimately made them better at their jobs in the long term. So long as the hobby is one that you enjoy, doesn’t hurt anyone, and doesn’t result in financial difficulty, it’s probably fair game.
2) Build Meaningful Workplace Relationships
If you prefer to go solo, then being an SEO is probably not the best career path. Search engine optimization is such a vast body of interrelated disciplines that you’re almost certainly not going to do it alone — especially at a high level. To avoid being burnt out in a typical SEO agency or digital marketing department, you’ll want to develop a knack for finding common ground with the people you work with.
While you don’t have to be close friends with your coworkers, you want to make sure that your relationship has meaning and is mutually supportive. This can help create a workplace that actually motivates you to go to work. Plus, if you enjoy being with the people you work with, chances are that won’t be burnt out as easily either.
3) Cultivate a Competitive Spirit
Many Asians, including most Filipinos, tend to value harmony and community over individual competitiveness. These are not always compatible values. Being competitive after all, makes you stand out from the rest.
However, being competitive can also give you a sense of purpose. A drive to outdo yourself or others can give you a level of energy that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Of all the tips here, however, this may be the most unrealistic for many Filipinos. In the context of SEO, you would need to have a very real passion for the field as well as the ability to channel competition in a healthy way. However, for many SEO professionals, their job is just a means to collect a paycheck or to interact with colleagues whose company they enjoy.
If you’re scared of rocking the boat, this can make fostering a competitive spirit a bit of a challenge. But If you’re not afraid to take a few personal and professional risks, being competitive can ensure that you can outlast almost any challenge that comes your way.
4) Work with Knowledgeable People
Learning and development can go a long way in determining whether or not someone chooses to stay in an organization. This makes a lot of sense as most of us would likely want to stay in a job if we find that we’re always learning something new.
That said, you cannot always rely on your employer to provide you with training or mentorship. This can be a problem for junior SEOs who are assigned repetitive tasks within a narrow scope of responsibility. Without knowledgeable people to depend on to provide context and grounding, things like link-building and technical optimization can quickly become abstract, draining, and seemingly futile.
If you find yourself in that situation, this can be dangerous for your long-term career prospects, as you may find yourself constantly getting exhausted. In this case, it would be best to either find a mentor at work or consider joining an agency or digital marketing department with a team that has a proven track record in both SEO and mentorship.
5) Use Your VLs
Generally speaking, Filipinos are incredibly hard workers. So much so that it’s not uncommon for many to simply not take breaks or vacations even when they are entitled to them. What’s more, when Filipinos take company-provided vacation leaves (VLs), they often wait until the end of the year or for a special occasion to take them.
When one chooses to take a vacation leave is completely within their discretion. However, it’s important to use every VL you’ve got, even if all you’re going to do is stay home to sleep or play video games. VLs are important for helping you recharge and gain fresh perspectives on your work, preventing burnout and helping you take a wider view of your work and career.
6) Be an SEO Winner
One of the best ways to develop self-confidence and avoid an early burn-out is to have a portfolio of quantifiable wins.
Unfortunately, over the years we’ve seen a lot of talented long-time SEOs who, for various reasons, have a poor track record at bringing their online properties to the top of Google’s SERPs. These SEOs, understandably, often have poor confidence in their skills even if, in reality, they’re quite capable in the right circumstances.
Some of the reasons otherwise talented SEOs fail to secure wins include an institutional lack of support in SEO in their company, internal politics, as well as extremely heavy competition from other digital marketers with significantly more resources. Regardless of the reason, the lack of any wins will eventually cause one’s morale and mental health to suffer.
This is a bad situation to be in, as continuous losses can seriously sap your sense of self-worth. Sometimes, it may get so bad that it may be better to take a job that pays less but gives you personal and professional satisfaction.
To last long in this field, you need to believe two things. First, you need to know that what you’re doing has value. Second, you need to know that you’re good at what you do. Neither of those will be easy if you don’t have at least a few wins under your belt.
7) Be Well Compensated
If you know you’re good and you fully recognize that people benefit from what you do, you have to make sure that you’re properly compensated. The problems with being underpaid are obvious and many. If what you’re getting is not enough to support your current lifestyle or your intended future goals then, naturally, you’ll find yourself discontented and burnt out.
This all means that whichever job position you choose should have a compensation package that closely matches your intended lifestyle. However, you also have to be realistic. If you don’t have the skills to match your expected salary, you’ll want to invest time to develop yourself so that your value to your company or clients will be harder to deny.
Burnout can be fatal to promising SEO careers. A lot of younger SEOs succumb to it precisely because they’re not experienced or self-aware enough to realize when it as it’s happening. Fortunately, you can do a few things to mitigate or avoid getting burnt out.
By finding a purpose, being smart about work-life balance, gaining SEO wins, and addressing personal needs, most SEOs should be able to maintain long, productive, and sustainable careers in digital marketing.
What do you think causes SEO burnout? What are your coping strategies? Have you been burnt out before? Contact us to tell us your perspective.