By Jessica Adamee | Burnout: A Modern Day Career Epidemic


Job burnout is a popular topic in recent years, and for good reason. If you search for the phrase “burnout symptoms” in Google, you’ll get about 502 million results. Unfortunately, for a lot of people out there, things are pretty bleak. In our hustle-based culture, burnout has become a widespread epidemic.

By recognizing the signs and causes, you’ll be better able to spot it in yourself, your colleagues, or your teams. And, most importantly, you’ll be able to take preventative action.

So, what IS burnout?

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is characterized by “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Burnout is way more than a bad day or a groan-worthy project. It’s a persistent feeling of disinterest, disdain, hopelessness, and fatigue in regards to your work life.

Origins of Burnout

Lots of things can lead to burnout. Some of the most common paths to burnout are:

  • Overwork. Working too many hours, taking on too many projects, or simply committing too much of your limited energy to your job is perhaps the most common cause among workers.
  • Lack of career growth / Monotony. If you feel as though you’re stuck in a role you don’t care about any longer, it can lead to feelings of resentment, cynicism, and negativity. In that same token, monotonous routines can be mind-numbing. Long periods of repetitiveness, combined with a lack of variation or challenges can burn you out that much faster.
  • Toxic workplace dynamics. A dysfunctional working environment makes it difficult to stay focused or believe in the company’s mission. This can very quickly lead to mass burnout among employees.
  • Work-life imbalance. While it may not be possible to achieve a perfect work-life balance, it is possible to manage stress in a way that prevents work from overtaking your life.
  • Lack of results. This can lead to the feeling that your role doesn’t matter, and is a major cause of burnout.

Symptoms: What to Watch Out For

Burnout can manifest in a number of ways. Below are a list of common symptoms.

  • Cynicism about your work/company/role/industry
  • Physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Increased physical health complaints
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Difficulty eating or sleeping properly

If you feel yourself experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge them, rather than trying to put on a brave face and carry on.

In our upcoming article we will discuss realistic steps that you can take to beat burnout and reignite some excitement about your work (and life).

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