Burnout: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes

A year ago, a friend of mine had been setting her eyes on a promising job position that offers good pay and pretty awesome benefits. She got the job and was enthusiastic starting her career with the company. However, she got more than what she bargained for. The workloads are insane. Sometimes they even need to work on weekends and holidays, add into that the toxic company culture. There wasn’t a day she didn’t stress over her job. Now, despite the good pay and benefits, she is planning to submit her resignation letter and leave.

Many people around the globe are in the same boat as my friend. People who have difficulty coping with the constant stress at work have the highest risk of feeling burnout.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion wherein you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

Albeit not considered as a medical condition, WHO calls burnout as an occupational phenomenon. Burnout doesn’t only affect our job- HR managers believe that 46% why employees quit is because of burnout. It can also cause strain on our personal lives. That is why burnout should be addressed right away.

Signs and Symptoms

You are on the verge of burnout when going to work every morning seems like a very difficult task to do. Feeling lazy thinking about work is normal, however, hating your job is a different thing.

The signs and symptoms of burnout are subtle. You won’t know it right away but once you do, it’s hard to shake it off. The thing about burnout is it doesn’t show in just one area of your life. It affects you physically, emotionally, and eventually affects your behavior as well.

What Causes Burnout?

People experienced burnout for various reasons. It differs from one person to another, depending on the situation and circumstances. However, a report from Galup cited five main causes why employees suffered from job burnout.

1. Unreasonable time pressure. People who always go overtime just to finish a deadline are more likely to suffer from burnout.

2. Lack of communication and support from a manager. Managers have a great influence on employees work life. Richard Branson, an English business magnate, once said,” “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

3. Lack of role clarity. Job description is not enough in setting up an employee’s expectation. When goals, targets and priorities are not defined clearly by the higher-ups, employees might get confused and exhausted trying to figure out what they need to do.

4. Unmanageable workload. This has been often the problem of many. Some managers give impossible tasks to employees, not considering the existing tasks an employee has to complete. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. If it continues and happens regularly, it can rapidly lead to burnout.

5. Unfair treatment. Favoritism, unfair compensation, and mistreatment from a coworker can cause a high level of burnout.


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