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  • Writer's pictureAlfonso De Luca

Coming Back From a Year of Burnout

Today, after long waiting, and back and forth on my side on whether to stop blogging and my career altogether, we're talking a bit about a sensitive topic - burnout. One that nonetheless is enough talked about in the industry (for the better, and the worse).


After having experienced burnout myself last year (together with quite a lot of concurrent issues, mostly stress and little investment in personal growth), I can talk in first person about the terrible consequences it can have on you both mentally and career-wise.


For literally months I couldn't be in the right mood to sit at my computer and do my work. I lost my good share of clients but also learned how important is to have personal spaces and enforce them when we feel like exhausting, instead of keeping up for the race. And life is a marathon, not a race. Each one of us should run at our own pace and, most importantly, in our lane.


I'm not going to pretend I healed from my burnout, but today, after more than one year from that draining experience, I'm here to share what it was like to through that period.


Woman in bed with floating books around experiencing burnout

Unexpected New Feelings

With burnout, I also experienced something new for me: I felt unfit for my job, and I didn't believe in my skills as a translator. I even purposely delayed replies to clients and emails, because I found it too overwhelming and I had huge issues battling with my impostor syndrome (stronger than ever!).


For the first time, I also felt a sense of always being behind my schedule - simply because I wasn't rushing through it as always, and this felt very alienating. I was seeing my sales curve slowly inverting the trend, and myself losing money instead of making them. But as my health was impaired, I couldn't do much but listen to my doctor, take my medications, and swallow the bitter pill: I was inefficient and unproductive - something I detest by nature.


I also felt something I never quite experienced before: I had to go off my main social, cause LinkedIn felt toxic. I had huge issues seeing the success of others, while in some way I was 'not invited to the party'. I still have comparison issues with colleagues to this day and have mostly been silent on LinkedIn, but I'm positive I'll learn some lessons from all this.


Working Under Pressure


At first, it wasn't easy to accept all this. I've been guilty of overworking even while I could feel my mind aching. I had taken on too much work, and deliveries as well as responsibilities were stacking up. I just didn't realize how bad burnout is, and that I was about to experience it all together.


When I realized I couldn't keep up with the pace, I was already too drained. I took some days off, then went back to work, some days off again, and that's when I felt I just needed a long long sleep. I didn't want to be bothered by anybody, clients and family alike.


The first months were tough to accept, maybe that's also why I thought I wasn't cut for being a translator; in my mind, it was the easier way to explain why I simply wasn't as good as before in my job.


Other personal issues also added up around the same period, and I had to take some months off, just doing really small and occasional gigs. It was during September (after my March burnout) that I was able to get back to emailing clients more consistently.


In the meantime, I kept getting in touch with more and more clients to compensate for the lack of the ones I had. I remember it was particularly tough feeling unfit for my job and not believing in my skills, while still having to find work and money to sustain myself. I still somewhat struggle with that to this day.


Some Positive Outcomes


After January, things got a little better, as I also started solo traveling abroad. In particular, I fondly remember my first time taking part in the ELIA Together 2024, a famous conference for the translation industry that took place in Riga, last February.


I met a lot of incredibly talented people, and that gave me an insight into what's more behind the industry I work in. More than just me and my computer in my room, confined by four walls, that is. It also gave me more motivation and some insight into the meaning of my work.


I might continue the account of my 'trip in burnout' in a future blog post. For now, I'd rather not give you (and myself) too many expectations on when or if that will be. I will probably restart posting more translation tips and tricks, as well as a bit more about myself on these pages as I keep getting better. I'll just add that I'm back with the blog. Stay safe!

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