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How to Identify Burnout


Burnout can happen to anyone. It can occur when you're not in control of how you carry out your life, your job and business, when you're working hard towards your goals that may be challenging, and when you lack social support. If you don't tailor your responsibilities to match your true calling, or at least take a break once in a while, you could face a mountain of emotional, mental and physical health problems.

My Experience with Burnout

Ten years ago, I experienced a turning point in my journey. I was dissatisfied with my career as a marketing executive in a telecommunications company. I was discouraged and later, due to heavy workload and stress, I found that I was constantly juggling different areas of my life. As a result I experienced burnout and was out of balance. Even though I was very successful with my career, it meant nothing because I couldn't sleep properly, my relationship and social life were suffering and I constantly felt fatigued and anxious.

Stress or Burnout?

For a person to be diagnosed with burnout, these three components need to be present:

1. Emotional exhaustion.

You feel tired all the time. You don’t feel up to facing your workday, even if it’s just a normal day. You may wake up every morning with a feeling of dread. Day after day you feel this, and it doesn’t lift, even after a week off.

2. Detachment

You may have started out as someone who really enjoyed working with people or dealing with clients. Now, you find yourself feeling increasingly angry and irritable toward them. You have a growing sense of detachment from your life It seems there are so many people out there suffering, in a similar way, unaware of the root cause of these changes.

3. Losing Confidence

You work harder and harder, but seem to accomplish less. Your productivity has dropped significantly, and your belief in yourself has fallen along with it.

As leading burnout researchers Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter describe in the article "There Is More to the Job Experience Than Just Burnout" , you may initially experience just one of the above profiles, as you head down the road from healthy work engagement to full-fledged burnout.

A more precise assessment always helps. Not only should interventions be implemented earlier, when the first warning sign appears, they should be customized to the particular work profile that is emerging. When it comes to solutions for workplace problems, one size does not fit all.

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