1 Whether you are at the start, midway or nearing retirement - It is very difficult to make good career plans when one is in the midst of full blown burnout. There just isn't the spare mental or physical capacity. The mental agility, time and attitude needed for successful career planning is simply not there.
2 Offering career planning to someone who is currently suffering burnout with or without other mental wellbeing issues..... is misguided.
3 Important decisions should not be made when someone has burnout as even the process of exploring ones career could be very distressing.
Career planning and career crisis management
Addressing burnout requires a blend of approaches one of which may well be a career discussion. However in the first instance a mix of proactive consultant led occupational health related input, job planning negotiations and/or a visit to ones GP are recommended.
It may take some time to persuade someone that this approach is vital. In burnout all a person wants is for it all to somehow magically stop or to escape as quickly as possibly. There is however a big difference between career/burnout crisis management and a steady planned approach to instigating career changes.
A definition of burnout a type of severe psychological discomfort as a result of prolonged ignored stress. It is characterised by exhaustion, lost enthusiasm and motivation with feelings of ineffectiveness. It may also have a dimension of extreme cynicism and as a result creates reduced efficacy within the workplace and disengagement.
Desperation does not promote good decisions
Career decision making in burnout tends to be more of the "help get me out of here" type and less "proactive steady well planned creative" type. No guesses as to which works best.
Two things happen frequently in burnout as ways of dealing with the downwards spiral.... A) changing career by" kneejerk" , "scattergun" or "try once" (often all not quite couched correctly thus resulting in demoralising rejections B) just carry on, batten down the hatches. Neither A or B are really addressing the problem.
Begin career planning BEFORE burnout
In burnout it is vital to realise that career guidance alone will not turn things around. The recovery time for burnout is many months or even years - not days/weeks.
The best approach is to tackle career concerns as soon as they arise and thus avoid burnout altogether. That said - a steady and logical approach to burnout at any stage facilitates stabilising the situation. Once that is achieved - proper career planning can then be done.