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When you think of “worker burnout,” certain occupations typically come to mind. Social workers. Nurses. Emergency response teams. Those who see the direst of circumstances are often at high risk for burnout. But the truth is, we are all at risk. No matter what your job title or how long you’ve been in the same position, burnout is a possibility.
A Dangerous Recipe
The key is the environment in which you work. With the right combination of conditions, experts say you are nearly guaranteed to burnout. Watch for the following circumstances that will leave you feeling BURNED.
- Burden: Is your workload too heavy? If you feel like you’re drowning every week, you are most likely overburdened with work.
- Unfairness: Favoritism, hostility and other unjust circumstances can make your work environment feel unfair. No one enjoys working in a hostile or unjust workplace.
- Rewards: Are there any? When you don’t receive positive feedback, financial compensation or other types of rewards for your hard work, it’s hard to continue being a top producer.
- No control: Do you have any say in your duties? Are you given freedom to determine deadlines? Adjust your workflow? Try new methods? If everything is dictated, a lack of control can contribute to feelings of burnout.
- Employees: Poor morale among co-workers quickly leads to burnout. If there is little camaraderie but a lot of gossip and negativity, workers are likely to suffer burnout.
- Divergence: Working against your morals eats away at your conscience. If your work does not align with your values, it will quickly burn you out.
3 Signs of Burnout
Do you recognize any of these BURNED conditions at your workplace? If you’ve been working under these circumstances for a while, you may be on the road to burnout. How can you tell? When you’re burned, you turn RED.
- Reduced accomplishment: Your output is less than it used to be.
- Emotional exhaustion: You’re becoming too drained to go on.
- Depersonalization: You’ve grown bitter or cynical about your work, your employer or those you are trying to help.
Putting Out the Fire
If you’re concerned about burnout, try these tips to throw some WATER on the situation.
- Watch out for your health: Taking care of yourself physically can go a long way toward having a healthy mindset at work. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Exercise. Take a lunch break – and eat something other than fast food.
- Assign tasks: Let’s be honest – are you a control freak? How often do you let others carry part of the load? Are you convinced you have to do everything, because you’re the only one who will do it ‘right’? Delegate. Then delegate some more. Do it, or burn out.
- Try new things: Are you stuck in a rut? Is life a humdrum routine of work, sleep, work again? Maybe you need to pick up an old hobby, or start a new one. Or, it might help to simply change your workflow a bit. Move your desk. Re-order your work day. Try a new program. Keeping things fresh, and making time for the things you love will go a long way to preventing burnout.
- Expect something different: What are your expectations for our job? Do they match your duties? Are they realistic? Maybe you need to shift from superhero to personal hero. Try aiming for making a difference or improving your performance, instead of perfection.
- Rest: Use your vacation days. ALL of them! Get the rest and relaxation you need to refuel. Go on a trip. Spend time with loved ones. See the world! (Or at least some place other than work.)
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