Job Burnout: Part 3 – Signs and Symptoms

Do you know your burnout level or if you’re in danger of job burnout. The impact to job burnout can grow exponentially and burn you out well before you realize it. By knowing the signs and symptoms in advance of burnout, you can avoid or prevent further damage.

Stress vs. Burnout
While unrelenting stress can contribute to burnout, stress alone isn’t the same as burnout. To be able to tackle your misery head on, it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two to identify if you’re experiencing job burnout or just stress.

With stress, there is an overwhelming feeling and an inability to cope. Stress primarily deals with “too much” – too much piled on, too much to do, too much to handle. The effects of stress often lead to psychological and physical issues, such as heart problems and high blood pressure.

On the other hand, job burnout is about “not enough.” As a result of unrelenting stress, someone burned out feels empty, has little to no motivation, and simply doesn’t care. The effects of burnout translate to emotional issues, such as apathy and depression.

One important difference between job burnout and stress is that you’re usually aware of stressful situations, but job burnout can be present for weeks or months before you notice it. When experiencing workplace stress, you tend to care too much, but with burnout, there is a constant pessimistic attitude. This is usually how you can differentiate a few bad workdays from job burnout.

Causes of Professional Burnout
Constant stress isn’t the only attributing factor to job burnout. When you dealt with stress in school, friends were readily available and “the light at the end of the tunnel” (graduation) was always in sight. In the professional world, the next step is hard to visualize. Unrealistic goals – whether set by you or by others – and the inability to constantly achieve them can result in job burnout. Even if employees enjoy the work that they do, they’re at risk when they feel underappreciated and underpaid. Matters out of their control also cause professional burnout including – being pushed around by the office bully, undermined by co-workers, or micromanaged by your boss.

Though these factors can contribute to burnout, there’s no one combination. It’s different for everyone. However, there are some tried and true solutions for dealing with it. Don’t miss our next post to learn more.

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