Preventing Job Burnout
by Lorna Riley
Could this be you? Do you have a decrease in energy, sleep difficulties, chronic fatigue, nagging colds, tense muscles, increased cynicism, decrease in work satisfaction, frequent headaches, nausea, back pain, dizziness, frequent depression? Are you more accident prone, easily irritated, tearful, more negative, pessimistic, or indecisive? Do you feel emotionally drained, incompetent, or helpless?
If you've been experiencing even just a few of these symptoms, you may be showing early signs of job burnout.
Job burnout is a term used to describe a decline in one's emotional, mental, and physical well-being as a result of long-term stress without sufficient compensation. Stress alone is not the culprit. In fact, stress allows people a sense of exhilaration when it is used constructively and helps people to function at their best. When stress continues for months or years without adequate rewards and support systems however, we easily become candidates for the more serious effects of stress called job burnout.
The term "burnout" was first coined in the 1970's when describing the damaged vein of a heroin user. It is now used to describe the best and the brightest of people who experience a gradual erosion of their capabilities and spirit.
Who gets it? Your susceptibility largely depends on who you are, where you work, and what you do.
Who are you? It is often people who love their work who become burnout victims. Perfectionists and "A" type personalities with high expectations are high on the list too.
Where do you work? People who have heavy contact with the public--teachers, sales professionals, flight attendants, restaurateurs, human resource personnel etc. are more susceptible. Those with deadline work (newspaper/ magazine journalists, advertising executives, designers etc.) or with high responsibility for others (lawyers, doctors, caretakers). Repetitive tasks on the job also contribute as well (assembly workers, file clerks, data entry etc.)
What do you do? Stressful working conditions on the job contribute as well--constant change, inadequate feedback, little or no compensation, constant rejection, extreme competitiveness, or unchallenging work all add to the mix.
When these conditions merge, it is time to reexamine work priorities, balancing efforts, and coping strategies. Here are a few just a few tips for getting out of the embers.
Copyright © 2002 by Lorna Riley. All rights reserved.
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