A few years ago several of us were working toward a major dead line. We all had been working 18 days straight no less than 14 hours a day. At 11:00 pm a coworker was stomping around grumbling about something that I couldn’t hear. Somehow I got the impression that there was a conflict brewing. He stopped by my office, slammed the door on his way out. I yell infrequently as I am foreverembarassed by whatever escapes my mouth, this evening was the first and only occasion I’ve ever yelled at work. I leapt out of my chair, flung the door open, and at the top of my lungs yelled “Are you mad at me, if you are mad at me then I am mad at you also!” Consider this an example of the impact of burn out. Needless to say I have never lived that down. Burn out causes a person to be irritable, frustrated, fatigued, disconnected etc. Pendulums swing from one extreme to the next until they lose energy and normalize in the middle. In recovery from burn out is extreme engagement. The impact of burn out is to feel a disconnect from self, work, community and al things that make us human. Now as I recover from burn out I feel extreme connection to everything, connection that truthfully is over the top. I’m looking forward to the time where the pendulum of self normalizes in the middle.
I’m currently developing a presentation on recovery from burn out. Seems that time off isn’t enough to bounce back, a person needs engagement. According to “How to rekindle your passion for your work” by CHRISTINA MASLACH & MICHAEL P. LEITER to recover from burn out a person needs to practice engagement. Time off and rest is not enough. We can’t necessarily alleviate the negatives of work instead we can add positives. “When burnout is counteracted with engagement, exhaustion is replaced with enthusiasm, bitterness with compassion, and anxiety with efficacy.” I love this idea but I wonder how exactly does an individual or an organization encourage engagement in the work force? “most person-job mismatches fall into six categories: workload (too much work, not enough resources); control (micromanagement, lack of influence, accountability without power); reward (not enough pay, acknowledgment, or satisfaction); community (isolation, conflict, disrespect); fairness (discrimination, favoritism); and values (ethical conflicts, meaningless tasks)3” As I read through these I can identify with each. I imagine that everyone has dealt with these in all work places. The question I am still asking is how to correct before burnout hits? Also if you’re past the point of burn out how does a person recover? Seems that the suggestion is to identify for each individual which of these six problem areas is to be addressed. My burning question is that if burn out is really caused by persons who are miss matched with their careers is burn out avoidable? I continue to research. If anyone has read any good articles on burn out please send them my way.