Burnout isn’t a term used to describe an occasional disillusionment with one’s job, says Douglas Battista. Burnout occurs when a person feels a sense of hopeless dissatisfaction within their current career choice…a dissatisfaction that trickles into every aspect of their life. In this brief discussion, Battista shares his thoughts on burnout, how to identify it, and when it’s time to listen to that “inner voice.”
Q: What is corporate burnout?
Douglas Battista: It is a feeling of moving too slow to keep up with the ever-changing (and increasing) demands of the workplace. Burnout occurs when a person’s ability to perform lags behind expectations and there is no way to catch up. This is not because they are ineffective, but a side-effect of being expected to complete more than possible in an 8-hour day. People with workplace burnout feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled.
Q: Are there specific causes of career dissatisfaction?
Douglas Battista: While it can be triggered by different things, burnout is becoming more common as technology continues to insist that work be completed “on the go.” It is not unusual for managers to answer emails during dinner at home or for people in technical positions to pack their work laptop as part of their vacation gear. People are also being pressured to meet higher production standards to keep up with lower-priced overseas competition and many are forced to complete multiple job functions due to the lack of a skilled workforce.
Q: How can I identify burnout in my employees…or myself?
Douglas Battista: One of the first signs to be aware of is interpersonal issues. For instance, you snap at a co-worker over a small “bump in the road” that might not have been a big deal a year ago. People with burnout are emotionally stressed and may become less of a producer as the problem wears away at their drive to succeed.
Q: When does workplace burnout signal that it’s time to make a chance?
Douglas Battista: That’s subjective, but when your job causes physical health issues or you turn to alcohol/drugs to get through the day, it’s time to seek professional help and perhaps a new career path.