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Ways to Avoid or Recover from BURNOUT

As we have discussed earlier, some level of burnout over your career is almost unavoidable.  But it is important to know the warning signs as well as the emotional and physical damage caused by job burnout in order to either avoid the collision when you see it coming or to recover if you missed the early warning.

Avoid or Overcome Burnout…

Is There a Difference Between Stress and Burnout?

One of the very best articles I have read on “burnout” was outlined in an article from Stress and Burnout in Ministry.  Many times the lines between the two conditions are blurred and we become confused to actually what is going on with our moods and emotions.  Many of the symptoms between stress and burnout are similar; leaving us often times attempting to solve a problem that we don’t actually have the correct diagnosis to begin.  Are we experiencing stress or burnout?

What Leads to Job Burnout?

There are many causes of job burnout.  Sometimes it can be that a person is working in a job that is not properly suited to their natural talents and abilities, causing them to work much harder than the work duties actually require.  Other reasons cited for burnout include a mis-match of key values between the company and the employee.  Someone who is working outside of his or her value system is a prime candidate for burnout.

Other work-related causes of burnout are:

  • Lack of a feeling of control over your work
  • Unclear or “moving” job expectations
  • Working in a high-pressured environment
  • Lack of recognition or appreciation for a job well-done

Do You Have Job Burnout?

It is the rare individual who, at some point in their working life, does not experience some degree of job burnout.  There are varying degrees of burnout and noticing the signs as well as taking some action to prevent full-blown burnout can stave off most cases.  Burnout was first studied and reported in the 1970s through the Maslach Burnout Inventory methodology.  This tool continues to be the standard today for measuring burnout and is based on a three dimensional model:

  1. Exhaustion (physical)
  2. Cynicism      (emotional)
  3. Inefficacy    (lack of results/productivity)

Herbert Freudenberger coined the term “burnout” in 1974.  Along with colleague and psychologist, Gail North, they established common phases of the burnout process.  They are: