Rustout - What is it? How it impacts your career.

mindset Dec 07, 2022
Rusted chains to represent the old, unchanged work life


Essentially this refers to someone who has become ‘bored’ in the workplace or in their career, leading to apathetic feelings such as sleepiness, depression, alienation, and self-isolation.

Why does rust out occur….

  • Lack of diversity in a role can lead to high levels of boredom, which in turn over time can lead to stress.
  • When you are never challenged in your job, the tasks become
  • Feeling underwhelmed in your job, due to a lack of new opportunities, promotions, or rewards.
  • After a big project has finished up in your work you may be ‘side-lined’ for a long period of time as the work tasks have dried up.


Rust out vs burnout……

  • Think of rust-out as a cousin of burnout
  • Burnout is extreme mental and physical exhaustion caused by being overworked.
  • Burnout occurs when we have too many demands and not enough resources.
  • Rust out contrasts this by feelings of being ‘underworked’, lack of challenges and new responsibilities within your role.
  • Rust out in contrast again occurs when we have sufficient resources but not enough challenges to use them.


What to do if you’re experiencing rust out…..

  • Talk to your manager/employer. Communicate with them that you are bored within your role and need to be challenged to make your work fulfilling.
  •   Consider if this is a long-term situation or something that may be resolved more quickly. For instance, if a big work project has just finished you may experience feelings of rust-out, but you know there is another project happening in a few weeks.


  • Long term rust-out, seek new employment. Look for a job that will constantly challenge you in healthy ways to maximise your job fulfilment.


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