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7 Underhanded Signs of Job Burnout



Steve Blank's damn moment came during a sales meeting on Friday afternoon. He split his time between two technical jobs in Silicon Valley, one for a company outside of Palo Alto serving the defense and intelligence communities, and one for a microprocessor maker called Zilog. He was good at his job – even necessary. He used six or seven 16-hour days a week and accepted the crazy schedule.

At the Friday meeting, a colleague "about three-quarters of my working week" reminded him of upcoming classes that he had to teach. "The devil is in the details," advised the colleague. Blank nodded, responding to the defense company's obvious joke: "I can control it as long as the devil coming at me is not an SS-1

8." (He was referring to a Russian ICBM called "Satan." has been.) . Blank expected at least one or two giggles and saw only blank looks. Strange, he thought. Then he realized: these were not his colleagues from the defense company. He was not even at his Defense gig. He was in Zilog and to his growing horror he realized that he could not remember driving around the city, not remembering to have greeted his colleagues, and having no idea how he did most of the business Had passed through the afternoon without even knowing where he was.

Blank later left the meeting and sat confused in his office.

"Make yourself comfortable this weekend," the vice president of sales told him. "You look a bit burned out."

What Burnout Is

Most of what you think you know about burnout is probably wrong. Occupational burnout, as with Blank, is not a simple matter of fatigue or boredom. It is not just tied to the amount of compensation. Heavy burnout can be debilitating. You may become deeply cynical and feel as if you would never achieve anything at work. You can hate your customers and colleagues and strive to find the courage to get out of bed. You may feel disconnected from your life as if you were working with the autopilot. Burnout syndrome can, at worst, devastate workers and even entire companies.

According to psychologist Michael Leiter, Ph.D., 25 percent of the workers he studies suffer from at least one symptom of burnout, and he suspects that this number applies to the workforce as a whole. Burnout does not discriminate and affects people across the board – workers and employees, entrepreneurs, call center employees, technology professionals and teachers. In this ever-changing age, it's not surprising that the problem seems to get worse when you first and foremost read a new email from the boss on your smartphone every day.

"It's cultural – real men work until they drop," says Blank. "I learned it from my boss who learned it from his boss, who probably learned it from a Neanderthal man."

Ron Friedman, Ph.D., a psychologist working with private and corporate clients. Men and their supervisors may have misconceptions about what burnout is and do not know how to stop it. One assumption is that employees crack because they can not handle their workload. This view assumes that something is wrong with you when you have problems: "You must be weak and not competent," says Dr. Christina Maslach, Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley. But burnout is not just about being overworked. In fact, researchers have identified several common causes. Here is an overview and especially how to avoid them.

1. They are always connected.

This may be the main reason burnout is increasing. "We are surrounded by devices that attract our attention and make everything feel urgent," says Friedman.

"Before the Blackberry and the iPhone, the default setting was to leave your work in the office. Today we all have our office in our pocket. "In a recent survey of corporate executives at Kronos and Future Workplace, 32 percent stated that" too much overtime / overtime after work "has been a major contributor to employee burnout.

To make it easier to check your smartphone, the Center for Humane Technology recommends turning off the color. Why: Your brain loves color. It reacts to it. It is happy about it. And that's probably one of the reasons why you love your smartphone so much. If you scale the screen to grayscale, you're less likely to retrieve it and spend less time online. For instructions, see Google Grayscale and your specific phone model.

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2. Their co-workers are idiots.

Leader, Professor of Organizational Psychology at Australian Deakin University , Studying Burnout and Inivility at Work He asked burned-out nurses what they were most distressed at work: Many mentioned "unpleasant interactions" with colleagues, namely the woman who does not say hello when she passes by, doctors who are rude to anyone " and to find out whether this inability contributed to her burnout, organized ladder meetings where he encouraged all ages to discuss their feelings, then he said he "taught They basically talk nice to each other. "The result? One year later, with a new social climate in the hospital, the absence rates of nurses had dropped dramatically and d The follow-up examinations were positive.

People want to feel valued. If this is not the case at your workplace, change your wishes. Say hello tomorrow morning. Do not be dismissed by support and reduce your own snark. Courtesy is contagious. If a colleague continues to behave like an idiot, try to be respectful and honest about how his behavior affects you. And if all else fails, remember the personal motto of General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, which was popularized by Barry Goldwater and displayed on the desk of former House Speaker John Boehner: "Do not let the bastards wear you down."

3. They are genetically wired for burnout.

Burnout could be tightly embedded in your DNA. Studies have recently linked depression to certain genes. Wilmar Schaufeli, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, examines this connection. It has been shown that burnout is more common in children with burned-out parents or siblings, but that may not mean that it is genetically determined. Domestic life could have spurred it on. Research also points to correlations between burnout and depression.

If your pedigree has a few charred branches, you should pay more attention to the state of your mental health. (Mindfulness is the latest craze for a reason.) Be proactive; If you feel burned out slowly, do not let it fester. Some companies offer some sessions with free, confidential psychological counseling as part of their health services. Check if this is the case with your employer and use it if it is.

. 4 Your job is unfair.

The guy who fails up. The loan-winning sycophant who becomes employee of the year. The colleague with the same duties, who deserves more than you. Jobs that feel unfair cause burnout. Four out of ten HR managers in the Kronos / Future Workplace survey named "unfair compensation" as the main cause of employee burnout. it was the most common answer. But injustice is nuanced. A staff member said to Leiter, "The randomness of why some are promoted and others are ignored depletes your mind."

If you are a manager, this may be your fault. Employees can find out if an employee in a similar role earns more money than they do. Salary parity – or the occasional bonus – rewards employees and can keep turnover rates low. No manager? Ask your supervisor what specific responsibilities or achievements you need to get the promotion or promotion you deserve – and nail them down.

5. Your job is your identity.

Jari Hakanen, Ph.D., a research professor at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Medicine, believes that burnout is in part based on our fundamental relationship to work. People who extract all their satisfaction and self-esteem from their jobs are more likely to burn out when things go south at work.

"Although it can be positive to work passionately and dedicatedly, research shows that it is good to get out of work," says Hakanen. "You recover your energies. You need other things in your life to build your identity. Not only work is your life.

The next time a stranger asks you what you are doing, try to answer by not mentioning your job. If you struggle with that, guess what? Your job is probably your identity. Explore new ways to define yourself. Take on a new hobby that is personally challenging and satisfying. Hakanen is ice swimming. "I've never seen anyone thinking about work issues when in ice cold water," he says. If this is too Finnish for you, there are a plethora of other things you can try.

. 6 They feel uncontrolled .

Burnout is defined as three feelings: fatigue, cynicism and something called inefficiency, or the feeling that you are unable to achieve anything. A great way to experience this is to get stuck in a job that gives you no control, says Hakanen. If you do not control your schedule, you can not optimize your workload and there may be an accumulation of problems – another big contributor to burnout, according to the Kronos / Future Workplace survey. And when someone else sets you unrealistic goals and expectations without you contributing, it's easy for you to feel helpless.

If you simply plan your work day on your own, you can reduce burnout. There are three ways to do this: first, realize the day and start with it. As long as you reach your overall goals, the boss should not care how to get there. If this is not possible, try answering "no" to other work requests. Do not get carried away. All that's needed is an occasional "sorry, but I just can not", so you feel invigorated. If neither option is suitable for your workstation, create a to-do list of the functions that you can control (sticky notes on stock, air-dust keyboard) and remove the items as they are executed. In a productivity app, do not just tap on "Full". Write these objects on paper, damn it, and pull a thick, aggressive line through each one when you're done. Satisfaction can help your attitude.

7. Your job is to rest.

Laborious or unsatisfactory work undermines your sense of worth. Nobody likes to throw away eight (or 10 or 12) hours a day if he does not do anything. However, it is not always possible to do an office space stunt. somebody has to pay the rent.

If you're in a decent paid job that just does not do it for you, Hakanen recommends focusing on what you enjoy or what you find fulfilling. Is there another job you could do that you are good at and that you really like, even if it adds to your workload? Do it. The stupid kid who just graduated and is trying to find his way around the company? Think about looking after him. And while this may sound crazy, changing your attitude about your job could also be helpful. Think of it as follows: You not only manage employees and tasks. They are part of a company that drives technology and improves the lives of its customers. Carry on and roll your eyes, but the benefits of such "cognitive restructuring" are supported by research.

Steve Blank has learned all these lessons the hard way. After a frightening Friday, he took a few days off and drove through a pristine stretch of the California coast. In the midst of the redwood groves, the cliffs of the ocean and the smell of eucalyptus, he realized that no one would send him a memo to work less. So he decided to work only on what he was most interested in. And he vowed to forge a life outside work and finally buy a house on a quiet piece of land by the sea.

These life decisions have neither sabotaged Blank's career nor made him less successful. No, he has visited eight different startups and was an innovator in starting up startups. But by keeping the perspective of the work, he did it on his terms. You can also.


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