Experiencing Job Burnout, Part 1: Identifying

March 19th, 2019
By: Heather McMillen

Merriam-Webster defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration”. There are three types of burnout, Overload, Under-challenge, and Neglect burnout and they all have one thing in common. Work.

Overload burnout happens when a person works themselves as hard as possible, sacrificing almost everything including health and personal life in order to achieve success.

Under-challenge burnout could make you feel like you are simply spinning your wheels. There are feelings of not being appreciated, no opportunities for building or learning new skills, and boredom. This causes people to lose drive and enjoyment in their work and they begin to withdraw.

Neglect burnout leaves you feeling helpless, incompetent and unable to fulfill job responsibilities. This can be brought on by a lack of control in workload assignments, unclear job expectations, and dysfunctional workplace relationships such as an undermining coworker or micromanaging boss.

There are several factors that can contribute to experiencing job burnout. In addition to the above mentioned, you can be more likely to have burnout if these apply to you:

  • Your work has become your identity
  • Unable to balance work/personal life
  • Healthcare professionals have a higher risk
  • A job that is either very mundane or chaotic
  • Type A personality

Determine whether you may be in danger of burnout with this self-assessment checklist:

  • Experience exhaustion, extreme weight loss or gain, headaches, muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Increased use or abuse of alcohol or substances
  • Difficulty getting to work and starting the day
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Overwhelmed by tasks
  • Withdraw from usual activities
  • Hopelessness and unmotivated
  • Irritable with loved ones and coworkers

Burnout is a condition that builds over time, sneaking up in a way that feels as if the intensity of it happened overnight, but it didn’t, the culmination has been gradually developing. At that point, you may have already experienced life-changing repercussions.

In Part 2 of Experiencing Job Burnout, we will address the side effects of burnout and how to cope.

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