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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How to Recognize Burnout Before You’re Burned Out

Kenneth R. Rosen
The New York Times
Originally published September 5, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

In today’s era of workplace burnout, achieving a simpatico work-life relationship seems practically out of reach. Being tired, ambivalent, stressed, cynical and overextended has become a normal part of a working professional life. The General Social Survey of 2016, a nationwide survey that since 1972 has tracked the attitudes and behaviors of American society, found that 50 percent of respondents are consistently exhausted because of work, compared with 18 percent two decades ago.

Where once the term burnout was applied exclusively to health care workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics or social workers who deal with trauma and human services — think Graham Greene’s novel “A Burnt-Out Case,” about a doctor in the Belgian Congo, a book that gave rise to the term colloquially — the term has since expanded to workers who are now part of a more connected, hyperactive and overcompensating work force.

But occupational burnout goes beyond needing a simple vacation or a family retreat, and many experts, psychologists and institutions, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlight long-term and unresolvable burnout as not a symptom but rather a major health concern. (Though it does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which outlines psychiatric disorders, it does appear in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, a classification used by the World Health Organization.)

“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Ms. Seppala told me. “Biologically we are not meant to be in that high-stress mode all the time. We got lost in this idea that the only way to be productive is to be on the go-go-go mode.”

The article is here.
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