I'm an illustrator and need some idiom help (obviously visualizing but using existing idioms or metaphors can help). The article I'm illustrating for is about teachers quitting their jobs within 5 years as it's very overwhelming and they're often not prepared enough. There's too much they have to do at once, making late hours and not being able to keep their minds off of work, feeling overexhausted. What are some idioms that fit with this situation?


  • 2
    Can you provide an example sentence where the idiom would be used ?
    – Centaurus
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 0:18
  • "Crummy management" perhaps? Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 21:57

5 Answers 5


They could be "pooped out". It fits your description.



to give way TFD an idiom

To succumb to something. To fall apart or fail.

As in:

After many years at work, X gave way to exhaustion and quit.


"pre-mature" burnout

To me, burnout implies "after a long, exhaustive period of time" of which a mere 5 years doesn't really qualify. However, "pre-mature" burnout seems an apt fit because it implies an earlier-than-would-be-expected burnout.


may not be completely relevant but my trainer says 'flat to the mat' and 'burning the candle at both ends' might appeal to your illustrators sensibility although yours may be slightly more specific.


I'd say they've been run ragged. Gives a nice visual to the situation you've described.

Running someone ragged is defined by Merriam-Webster as making someone very tired.

An example in the wild from a horoscope:

If there's one thing in the whole world you need it's peace. Unfortunately a boss, child or loving partner seems intent on running you ragged with one job after another. Try to make time to put your feet up and switch off but don't be grouchy if you find it's all work and no play!

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