According to Wikipedia: “Burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest (depersonalisation or cynicism), usually in the work context. Burnout is often construed as the result of a period of expending too much effort at work while having too little recovery, but it is sometimes argued that workers with particular personality traits (especially neuroticism) are more prone to experiencing burnout.”
In this web page there’s a global overview of burnout that might be useful: Burnout is a chronic condition that happens when your body or mind can no longer cope with overwhelmingly high demands. You are trapped in a state of emotional exhaustion, and it is hard to get out of that state. You stop caring about what you do, even though you may feel guilty about that fact. Even if you still continue working, it seems to be hard to make progress. You hardly accomplish anything significant, just go through the motions.
Certain categories of people and professions are particularly susceptible to job burnout. Most often these are people who are highly committed and motivated, who have high standards and idealistic dedication to their jobs.
Common burnout causes include:
- An overwhelming workload. Could be due to insufficient time management skills, especially lack of planning, prioritizing, or delegation skills.
- Hard work with no clear goals. You work hard and hard, but no matter how long you keep at it, you cannot see any progress. But how could you see that you have got closer if you don’t know your destination?
- Powerlessness to change something important to you. Something that you are very much emotionally attached to, but that is at the same time beyond your control.
- Forcing yourself to make the impossible happen. For example, solving problems without having the necessary resources.
- A conflict between your personal values and the values of the company your working for. You don’t believe in or disagree with what your are doing, but you feel the circumstances force you to keep doing it anyway.
- Hitting the invisible ceiling. No matter how good or competent you become, there is hardly any chance of recognition or promotional opportunities.
For all of those burnout causes what is important is not as much the external factors that fall on you, but how you interpret them, what you say to yourself, and what actions you take in response. Finally, it is important to understand the risks of burnout in your personal or job situations. Once you are its victim, it may not be easy to get things back on track. That condition does not go away in a day. You may not be able to recover by yourself, and you may need to have drastic changes in your attitudes and life style. You are much better off preventing it now than putting your life back together later.