The truth about job burnout and how to spot it

We’ve all been through the Monday mornings,

“Ohhh it’s Monday already? I want to go back to sleep…”

The Monday blues – the feeling of not wanting to go to work after a weekend.

It’s a normal feeling for everyone, but when every morning is a suffer to get up to work, and the 20-minutes drive to work seems so heavy, and the 9 (or what, 14?) hours at work is dreadful, and then even after coming home from work you can’t function after feeling exhausted physically and emotionally – it’s a job burnout.

A job burnout is an overloaded (or sometimes under loaded) feeling at work, which causes fatigue, first physically, and ultimately emotionally. Left untreated, it can cause exhaustion and the sense of overwhelming, loss in productivity, create a toll in relationships, and finally demolish mental health.

A job burnout does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process, with the causes accumulating the stress, until one day one feels overwhelmed and that none of their efforts seem worthy.

It is important to detect the signs of burnout and take actions to steer away from it. In this post, I will share the signs and stages of burnout. See if you have any.

Stage 1: I work hard because I am important.

At this stage, we are the most functional. Our jobs are challenging, and we feel the push from ourselves to work harder and accomplish results. It is driven by our hunger to succeed, to prove our worth.

This is not bad, but it gets bad when the ability to switch off from work ceases. You come from home work and the mind still thinks about that issue you have at the office. Or, you stop thinking about eating, having trouble falling asleep, and even having problems interacting with people. Everything is is irrelevant, there is no time for hobbies. It seems the only thing that matters – is work.

Stage 2: Everything and everyone is wrong, but me.

This is when we start to feel everything around us is wrong.

Problems are being dismissed or denied.

Co-workers, subordinates are considered as lazy, undisciplined, supervisors demanding, incompetent – they are the problem, not me.

Because we feel everyone else is wrong, we will withdraw from social life. Social contact begins to become small, or even nonexistent. Relief from stress may come from drugs, or even alcohol.

Behavioral changes may occur, detected by surrounding people, families and friends, but not mentioned because by then we have already pushed them away from self.

Stage 3: I am alone.

This is depression.

We start to see neither ourselves or others as valuable. We even neglect our own needs.

Sometimes, it feels so empty inside that we search for ways to overcome it by the wrong activities – overeating, sex, alcohol, drugs – often by abused usage.

The feeling of lost and unsure, exhausted, empty, the future feeling bleak and dark is constant. And by now, there is no one around to support us.



Yes, job burnout can get ugly.

Therefore, identifying it is crucial, to prevent it from getting worse.

It can happen to anyone – co-workers, friends, family member, even oneself. If the signs are detected, find ways to steer it away from escalating. Support each other when behavioral change is detected.

I will talk about how to cure job burnout, and how to prevent job burnout, in later posts.


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