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From Burnout to Bliss: Overcoming Burnout, One Step at a Time



Are you tired of feeling disengaged at work? You're not alone. Low engagement can have a disastrous impact on companies. Not only does it increase job turnover, but it also results in reduced profits.


In fact, Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy a whopping $7.8 trillion in lost productivity each year. That's a staggering figure that no company can afford to ignore!


But what does that mean generationally:

Insider states that..

  • "Since the pandemic hit, there's been a startling shift. From 2019 to 2022, according to Gallup surveys, the share of people under 35 who reported being engaged with their jobs dropped from 37% to 33% — the lowest level since 2011. May not sound like much but that's millions of people!

  • "This rise in workplace disenchantment has been so powerful that it has virtually eliminated the old-young engagement gap. Gen Zers and young millennials, in other words, have soured on work just as much as everyone else."

The truth is, employees who feel disconnected from their work are less likely to be motivated, less productive, and more likely to leave their jobs. This can create a negative cycle that's hard to break, resulting in even lower engagement levels and even more lost productivity.


What this means for you pro:

  • Lack of interest in work can impact how you are able to highlight your achievements or update your resume as the "experience" of the job sours everything else.

  • You may become stagnant in your career and it may impact your job search.

  • It may impact how you "show up" at work, and with peers, and possibly result in missed opportunities. I remember, feeling o burnt out and such a workaholic that I missed opportunities when I was in front of executives that I would've crushed and stood out more if I wasn't so burnt out. #byebyebyepromotion

Ok, so what's the jam about burnout?


Have you ever thought that burnout was just another word for exhaustion? Well, think again. According to Dr. Christina Maslach, a leading burnout researcher and author of The Burnout Challenge: Managing People's Relationships with Their Jobs, burnout goes beyond exhaustion. In fact, it has three core attributes that affect us both physically and mentally:

  • First, burnout leaves us feeling exhausted, drained, and with no energy to do our best work. It's like hitting a wall and not being able to push through.

  • Second, burnout makes us feel cynical and negative about our projects. We lose our passion and sense of purpose and feel disassociated from the people around us, whether coworkers, friends, or family.

  • Third, burnout makes us feel ineffective, as though we're not achieving as much as we should. We lose our motivation and can't seem to muster the energy to be productive.

I love this mention and quick 2-minute burnout test from the Harvard Business Review (written by Chris Bailey as summarized by me):


Maslach’s research has found that chronic stress at work usually comes from six primary sources:

  1. Workload: It's like trying to carry a load that's too heavy for you. You might manage for a while, but eventually, your arms will give out, and you'll collapse under the weight. The same goes for your workload. If you take on too much, you might be able to manage for a while, but eventually, you'll reach the breaking point.

  2. Values: Think about it: if you're working in a job that goes against your values, you'll feel like you're constantly swimming upstream. It's like trying to force a puzzle piece into the wrong spot - it just doesn't fit. But when your work aligns with your values, it's like all the pieces fall into place, and you feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  3. Reward: It's not just about the paycheck - the level of reward we get from our job is a key factor in avoiding burnout. When we feel adequately rewarded for our work, we feel valued and appreciated. It's like getting a gold star for a job well done - it motivates us to keep striving for excellence. But when the rewards are insufficient, we can feel like our efforts are going unnoticed, which can lead to feelings of frustration, disillusionment, and even burnout.

  4. Control: It's not just a frustrating feeling - the level of autonomy we have over our work is a crucial factor in avoiding burnout. This includes having the freedom to choose when, where, and how we work even if the location has to be in the office. When we have a sense of control over our work, we feel empowered and motivated. We're able to work in a way that suits our preferences and needs, which can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and productivity. But when we have no control, we can feel like we're just going through the motions, which can lead to feelings of exhaustion, cynicism, and disengagement - all of which are key components of burnout.

  5. Fairness: It's not just a minor annoyance - the feeling of fairness is a key ingredient in avoiding burnout. When we feel like we're being treated equitably in comparison to our colleagues, it promotes engagement and keeps cynicism at bay.

  6. Community: It's not just a social issue - professional relationships play a huge role in avoiding burnout and boosting engagement. When our relationships with coworkers are weak or conflict-ridden, it increases our likelihood of burning out. That's why it's important to prioritize your professional relationships and seek out ways to build a supportive community at work. This might mean collaborating on projects, reaching out to coworkers for help or advice, or finding ways to improve your relationships with difficult coworkers.

  7. BIG ONE: Lean into any mental health resources your company has and may pay for on your behalf. Due to its focus, many companies have this as a focus area so use it whether it is sessions, apps, discounts, etc.

The two-minute burnout checkup is a simple assessment Harvard Business Review shares is quite simple and magical and was created to gauge how close you might be to burning out.


Directions: Rate your level of stress from 0 to 10 on all of the 6 factors of burnout described above. With 0 being no stress to 10 being extremely stressful. Add the numbers up to get to a score of 60, pay close attention to the areas, and even track it over time to see any trends. (Paid version of the below -https://www.mindgarden.com/117-maslach-burnout-inventory-mbi )


One-Month Burnout Tracker

Burnout Factors

Level of Stress (Week 1)

Level of Stress (Week 2)

Level of Stress (Week 3)

Level of Stress (Week 4)

Workload

Values

Rewards

Control

Fairness

Community

Kickers: Outside Forces (Home life, etc)

Kickers: Appreciation for self and what you provide at work( 0-low, 10-high)

Totals

Your Score of the Kickers

Your Score/60

Here's another excerpt from the article: This level of awareness can help you create a more targeted plan going forward. Let’s say your workload is hovering at a 9.

  • Try making a list of all the activities your job entails. Pick three that let you contribute the most to your team. This is your core work.

  • From here, consider meeting with your boss or team to clarify what’s truly important and see if there’s a way to delegate or eliminate some of the tasks, and as a result, reduce your overall stress.

For example, I did this but also noticed one of the Kickers was high for me and it was impacting my work as when I saw the same behaviors in others at work it was a trigger for me. To me, in the modern world, it is hard to separate work and life.


Burnout is a common problem for many working professionals, and it can be challenging to manage. The good news is that there are strategies you can use to recharge your battery and rediscover your passion for your career. What can you do?


The first step in managing burnout is to acknowledge that it's a problem. Many people feel guilty or ashamed for feeling burnt out, but it's important to recognize that burnout is a natural response to chronic stress. Once you've acknowledged that burnout is an issue, you can begin to take steps to manage it.

  1. It might mean seeking out a new job or career path that aligns more closely with what you care about.

  2. Draft out " Joys and Oys": I love this exercise. Make a list of 10 things that bring you joy at work and 10 things that don't. Now some of the don'ts are common things we have to navigate through and some are not. Can you incorporate what brings you joy and use it on the things that don't?

  3. Schedule self-care: Don't just think about prioritizing self-care - schedule it in your calendar this week. Make time for a workout, a walk during lunch, a relaxing bath, or a catch-up call with a friend. The key is to be intentional about taking care of yourself.

  4. Or, it could mean finding ways to bring your values into your current job, such as advocating for a cause you believe in or finding ways to make a positive impact in your community.

  5. UNPOPULAR OPINION: Practice saying "no" if you see you may not be able to provide value or if a meeting is out of your scope.This week, practice setting boundaries by saying "no" to at least one unreasonable request or task. Use a polite but firm tone, and focus on communicating your needs clearly. Remember, it's okay to prioritize your own well-being and following up.

  6. Remember, feeling connected to others is a crucial part of job satisfaction, and it's up to you to take the initiative to build the community you need to thrive. So, reach out, collaborate, and build strong relationships with your coworkers - your well-being depends on it.

  7. Connect with a mentor or coach: Take the initiative to reach out to a mentor or coach for guidance and support. This could be someone in your field or someone outside of it, as long as they have valuable insights to share. Set up a meeting or call to discuss your career goals and challenges.

  8. Plan a digital detox ( MAYBE no Friday meetings or outside of work, close that laptop): Give yourself a break from technology and the constant barrage of notifications by planning a digital detox this week. This could be a whole day without screens, a few hours each evening, or even just a designated time each day where you disconnect. Use this time to engage in other activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

  9. This might mean negotiating for a more flexible work schedule, working remotely, or finding ways to customize your work to suit your individual needs and preferences.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you've used one of the above.




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