To Gini Dietrich’s point, I’ve been close to burning out a couple of times.

Here’s a couple of close-call learnings those white-collar experiences taught me.

DON’T Play The Victim

If you’re pretty good at what you do and a hard worker at that, people will jump at the chance to pity you.

They say that it’s good that you’re “listening to your body” and that it’s “fantastic” that you’ll be taking it easier for a while, but don’t get too comfortable or you’ll have plenty of knives in your back and you won’t notice them until you’re trying to get up.

DON’T Lay Your Weapons Down

It’s like taking a too short vacation. People will hustle to postpone everything that they don’t want to do themselves and when you get back, people will happily smile while opening the dam doors on you.

When you’re ready to give up, it’s better to strategize, clear your table confidently and then scale down. Don’t beg, just get what’s righteously yours.

DON’T Put Your Destiny In Hands Of Others

If your ends does not meet, then you’ll have to learn how to get to that place where they do. Copping out without an actual solution that is yours won’t help that day when you’re back on your feet.

Chances are you’ll just hit every brick wall there is moving forward – cushioned with the occasional time-out – and that’s no way to live your life.

Now, I know this sounds cynical and that it’s quite the opposite of what people who don’t share your ambitions usually say. But it’s the truth and it’s an empowering one.

There’s no-one who can take care of your health quite the way that you yourself can. If you are trapped in bad behavior, then you need to be careful whose advice you take and be prepared to do what it takes to get back.

What can you do, then?

1. Be Proactive And React Immediately
Getting out of a bad behavioral pattern takes time, so make sure you get going when you still have some juice left in your body. First signs of fatigue and you have to at least strategize on how to get out of it. We might worship martyrs in more than one culture, but they’re all dead, right? Better to wipe those tears and do something about your situation.

2. Kick Some Ass, Take Some Names
Instead of going for the fading away approach, claim your space. Why are you getting pressure you don’t deserve? Is someone not pulling their weight? Is someone taking advantage of your willingness to help out? Do you need to learn something new, or change even? If something’s wrong, it’s a wake-up call, not the end of the last rond.

3. Be A Human, Human
Machines can perform almost any task as long as they get all the data and resources they need to execute. Ask yourself if you wan’t to be the most irreplaceable machine in the park? If not, make sure you become a person who solves problems that machines can’t. It pays better, it allows for more freedom and it actually gives rather than steals energy.

4. Share Everything You Know
If you’re trying to safeguard your position in a company, don’t. Instead share everything you know and don’t wait for the opportunity to come to you. Teaching others is a truly profound process that will make you even better at what you do—as well as warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, you can go on vacation. And if they call you they call for advice, not execution.

5. Remember Who You Are (The Douche-Bag Advice)
If your phone rings and you don’t feel like picking up, ask yourself: Who’s problem is it if you don’t? If it’s truly yours, then by all means, pick it up. But in most cases the person just want more than you’re getting out of it and, well, then I guess they have to call you again. Chances are they’ll eventually understand that they (too) have to give to get.

Bonus Tip: Throw Stuff Away
Materialism is nothing but a disease. Owning stuff is fun, but you need to make sure you own things that matters. If you’re blessed with resources, then use them to buy yourself freedom. If not, throw unnecessary stuff away to get the same effect. I do it twice a year and it simplifies my life significantly. Your history is in you, not in the stuff you own.