Burnout syndrome is a concept coined by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974. Freudenberger named 12 stages of job burnout. These stages of burnout can be exacerbated by other life stressors such as the current pandemic we are facing in 2020. Freudenberger’s stages are not always linear and don’t always occur sequentially. Yet they provide a good reference point and place to start so we can understand the road to burnout.
The journey to burnout begins with a desire to prove that one is competent. This is a common human desire that is rooted in our need to feel worthy. If our sense of self-worth is validated by our work then we work harder and harder even to the point of neglecting our personal needs. If work is our main source of fulfillment and validation we run the risk of neglecting other areas of our life and focusing only on work. Our values then get revised and our life narrative revolves around work. We may end up in denial and even withdrawal from others if we cling too obsessively to work as our sole source of fulfillment. Our overwork eventually catches up with us and we feel empty inside because winning at work and being validated at work can only take us so far on the ego’s journey of success. Over time this emptiness can lead to depression and eventually Freudenberger’s last stage – burnout syndrome.
External stressors ebb and flow. The COVID-19 pandemic is an additional stressor that can contribute to burnout. George Everly, a disaster mental health specialist at Johns Hopkins, wrote “the coronavirus pandemic will be the most psychologically toxic disaster in anyone’s lifetime, this pandemic is a disaster of uncertainty, and the greater the uncertainty surrounding a disaster, the greater the psychological casualties.” A common theme on the road to burnout is chronicity. In fact burnout is defined as chronic psychological and social stress. A major long term social stressor such as the pandemic, combined with psychological stress is a perfect storm for burnout.
It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of burnout along with the type of stress that causes burnout. Silicon Valley Therapy’s job burnout workshop goes into detail on all of this. We explain the 4 categories of burnout symptoms and also present a process on how to treat it before it’s too late. Life balance is another important topic that is addressed in our workshop. Humans require nurturing and feeding across multiple domains including mind, body, spirit, and social. The workshop is divided into 2 parts, lasts one hour, and can be done remotely. The first part is educational while the second part is open to a discussion or hands-on exercises.
Contact us to learn more or to schedule Silicon Valley Therapy’s job burnout workshop. Your team’s morale will thank you for it.