You can break the cycle.
1. Be proactive about solving the problem.
Rather than being a "happy hour complainer," address the things at work that bother you.
"You'll feel less helpless if you assert yourself," Fanning says. Not having authority is no longer an excuse to not make a difference, he says.
2. Make a list of your regular tasks, and compare them to your job description.
"It's often surprising how job descriptions don't reflect the work you're actually doing," Fanning says. He suggests comparing a copy of your job description to a self-made list of what you've actually been doing, and show them to your boss.
If you point out the extra things that you've been doing, you may "gain a little leverage by showing that you've been putting in work over and above the parameters of your job," he says.
3. Define and visualize the perfect situation.
It's easy to complain about the things that aren't going well, but can you give an exact description of your dream job? What work hours, activities, and relationships would be part of your day?
"Only you can answer that," Fanning says. "If you don't take the time to define it yourself, you'll be living someone else's dream, not your own."
4. Propose a solution to your manager.
Don't simply walk into your boss' office and ask to do something new, Fanning says. Make an actual proposal. "It could be a different department entirely, a new territory, or something as simple as a tweak of your current role," he says.
It's important to prove yourself first. One way to do this is to work on a project you're passionate about during your personal time and get results. You should enjoy doing it, and you'll have solid evidence to back your offer, Fanning says.
5. Take some time off.
A vacation is a great way to take a break from office stress, but there are other ways to get that much needed time off. If you're truly suffering from job burnout, anything that can help is worth trying.
Consider using your sick days or asking for a temporary leave of absence, Fanning suggests. Then take that time and completely disconnect from your laptop and cell phone. "Use the time away to recharge your batteries and get a new perspective," he says.
6. Get a coach.
Venting to family and friends can help temporarily relieve stress, but it isn't a long-term solution. Plus, they'll likely grow annoyed if it continues to happen. Talking to a wellness or stress coach may help.