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She quit due to burnout. Here's how she’s avoiding another ‘dumpster fire’ at work.

Ranee Soundara went into overdrive at work at the cost of her mental and physical health. After taking a step back, she knows how to find work-life balance and avoid burnout.

She quit due to burnout. Here's how she’s avoiding another ‘dumpster fire’ at work.
Image Source: naynerz / Twitter

Ranee Soundara formerly worked as a product marketer. During the pandemic, she had worked non-stop as her small company prepared to go public. Like many others dissatisfied with low pay and unfair working conditions, Soundara hit rock bottom and decided to quit during the Great Resignation. The 37-year-old knew it was time to take action following a sobering conversation with her doctor. After a few months off, she is ready to reenter the workforce. This time, she is equipped with the tools she needs to avoid burnout and hold her employer accountable for the work environment they create, CNBC reports.


"I went into overdrive with work," Soundara said in an interview with the news outlet. "When [my doctor] asked me how I was doing, I had a complete meltdown. She said something along the lines of, ‘Your job is sucking the life out of you,’ and that if I continued down the same route, it would take a toll mentally and physically." Therefore, she decided to take action. The former product marketer put down her papers, at which point she experienced a sense of relief. She shared, "My burnout was caused by my job dissatisfaction." It was at this point she began to question how and why things were getting done.


Soon enough, Soundara felt disillusioned by her company’s fervor to go public during a global health crisis. She felt set up to fail because she was given increasingly aggressive deadlines. She explained, "I don’t mind working hard if I understand the goals I’m achieving and there’s meaning to my work. But it was becoming a hamster wheel of just doing things, coupled with overwork." Although her HR manager offered to give her medical leave when she filed her notice, quitting was a release for her. "I was holding on to a lot: anger, resentment, anxiety, physical and mental exhaustion," she said. "When I finally put in my notice, I had a sense of relief that I was now on a new journey to focus on myself."


Once she quit, Soundara lived off of her savings for a few months. During this period, she was able to travel to Hawaii and throughout Europe. However, she understood that she could not simply "vacation away" her problems. She affirmed, "You still have to deal with the root causes of your mental health issues. I had to start thinking deeper in terms of what I really want for myself."


With this in mind, she is now better prepared as she plans her reentry into the workforce. One of the biggest things she presently feels more empowered to discuss as an Asian American woman is how a company thinks about diversity, equity and inclusion within its workforce. When she takes interviews, she asks questions like: "Does the company have a DEI program? Are they intentional about hiring people from underrepresented groups? Are there programs for employees of different underrepresented groups?"


As a manager, Soundara also asks about how the firm supports employee wellness and mental health. "I want to foster an environment where people feel comfortable asking for personal time, and they can tell me if something isn’t working and how we should reconsider," she stated. "The company needs to come to the table with an honest answer of: ‘We know we’re not perfect. These are the gaps we have. And we’re working on it.’" Ultimately, there is one thing she is testing for. She reiterated, "What I really need to know is: Am I walking into another dumpster fire?"


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