Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life

{January 24, 2007}   Burnout

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:

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.

Some links:

Miriam Ruiz says:

[...] Some time ago I blogged about burnout. Some of the factors that might cause are an overwhelming workload and powerlessness to change something important to you. This means that you get emotionally very involved in developing something, and you feel that whatever you might do to achieve it just won’t be enough. I feel a bit powerless and also that whatever more I try to do just won’t improve the situation. Sometimes I have the feelings of being fighting against a big hard wall and that it’s not worth it, and that whatever big effort I might do just won’t be enough. [...]

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