"My ESG in banking job left me burned out and paranoid"
I was passionate about my job. Then I got burnout.
Everyone is expected to make sacrifices for their career – especially in finance. No one realizes just how much you have to give.
I had to resign from that job to get “healthy”. I was in hospital for nearly two months. I couldn’t even recover from the common cold – and that’s not to mention the serious illnesses that I didn’t recover from. I was constantly sick, and never had the opportunity to rest and recover. I had Covid – and people knew I had Covid – and I was still barraged with emails and calls. On “sick leave”.
My concentration faltered. I was exhausted, constantly, even after eight hours of sleep (as rarely as that opportunity came). I worked when I had the energy to – even if that was in the middle of the night. But at the same time, it felt like everything I was doing in my job simply did not matter.
It wasn’t always that way, though. I liked working in banking – and I was moved into something ESG-related because I’m passionate about it. But passion couldn’t make up for extra hours, understaffing, and institutional ignorance.
I used to be a kind and patient person, who dealt with stress well and had an exceptional memory. Those strengths slowly unraveled, and I found myself losing my patience. I became horribly reactive – the smallest things would make me cry or enrage me. And then I started forgetting things.
I damaged a lot of relationships beyond repair, because people just don’t understand what burnout really is. I withdrew from family, friends, and colleagues. And I became paranoid about those exact same colleagues. It felt like everyone was out to get me.
And it wasn’t just my health taking a hit, or my relationships – it was the tiny little things that make me an individual. I lost interest in my hobbies completely. My selfcare was terrible, if I can still say it existed.
The worst part, though, is that it was all avoidable. If I had senior management support just to rest and be able to take a weekend out for myself and deal with my personal life. If I had the time to breathe, things would have been different. Honestly, burnout ruined my life. But I’m bouncing back. I will be stronger… I am already stronger.
If you have experience of burnout - either past or present - please, share it below. Mental health shouldn’t be a stigma in finance. But that can only change with people talking about theirs.
Emma Leclerc is a pseudonym.
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