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Understanding Burnout

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the jobs-contoured-to-fit-your-ego dept.

Businesses 289

Cognitive Dissident writes "New York Magazine has posted a feature story about the growing phenomenon of 'burnout' and the growing interest of both healthcare professionals and even corporate management in this problem. Probably the most surprising thing learned from reading this article is that work load is not the best predictor of burnout. Instead it has more to do with perceived 'return on investment' of effort. So work places are having to learn to adjust the work environment to reduce or prevent burnout. From the article: '"It's kind of like ergonomics," [Christina Maslach] finally says. "It used to be, 'You sit for work? Here's a chair.' But now we design furniture to fit and support the body. And we're doing the same here. The environments themselves have to say, 'We want people to thrive and grow.' There was a shift, finally, in how people understood the question."' NPR's Talk of the Nation also had a recent feature story based on this article."

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Are we sure it comes from work? (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17135920)

I'm a very busy individual with peaks and valleys -- I go from 80 hour weeks for 3 months to 5 hour weeks for 3 months (on purpose). I see a lot of people in my fields burn-out regularly, and I wonder if it really has to do with workload, or if it has to do with a lot of other secondary causes. For me, the closest I came to burn-out was during a time of my life when my workload wasn't excessive (maybe 20 hours a week of billable labor and 20 hours a week of secondary support work). The workload was feeling stressful, but it was everything else in my life that was really having an effect that I didn't realize. I vented at the job, but it was carryover from other problems. I had a house that was too big ("housing prices always go up!" they said). I had big new cars that we replaced too often ("never buy anything on credit that depreciates"). I didn't take time to congregate with family and real friends -- my only friends were either employees, customers, or people in my field of work. I didn't take time to really have a vacation -- vacating from "reality." I wanted the newest toys, and I wanted them before others ("bragging rights.") My relationship with my significant other was cluttered with just that -- clutter. We had junk everywhere, and when we got our big 4 bedroom home, we had to fill it with more clutter or it felt empty. That clutter around me ended up cluttering my thought process peripherally, adding to the stress.

So what did I do? I downsized the clutter (physical, emotional and labor) and upsized the real personal time. I don't discuss business or politics or religion with my real friends and family -- instead we talk about reality, the now, the past. I "fired" a few of my worst customers who never seemed to pay on time but always called with this or that emergency. Sure, the billable rate was great, but the peripheral stress didn't balance out. I sold my home (and bought a few mobile homes throughout the regions I work and vacation in). I sold all 3 new cars and bought 2 used cars. We sold almost all our possessions except for our books and heirlooms (including all our technology, clothing, household goods, etc), and when we moved into our tiny 2 bedroom home, we bought new items that would last until our grandchildren would inherit them.

Now life is much easier. Work never stresses me, even when deadlines happen. I don't feel like I have to worry about traveling or spending time with my aging parents or younger siblings. I am able to really work on building real friendships of honesty and caring. My relationship with my significant other is so much better because we actually have time for one another, not for the junk and clutter we used to have. I actually work MORE now than I ever have, but I still have time for myself and for others.

Many of my old friends are burning out right now -- a few of them are millionaires who can't keep a grasp on living for today. I'd say a huge percentage of them are in major debt (50%+ of their gross income), some are living way beyond their means even though they're in the top 5% earning bracket. They hate their job, their spouses, their kids, their homes, their cars, and their lives -- because there is just too much. Where do they vent it? At work -- the place they spend 8-10 hours a day invested in. Their offices are clutter piles, their cars are messes, and their face and eyes show it.

If an outsider met them, they'd say that they work too much. They wouldn't blame the (leased) BMWs, the (mortgaged) McMansion, or the (on-credit) Armani sunglasses. They'd not even notice that they're living 1 person to a bedroom and practically 1 person to a bathroom, whereas historically we've seen the average around 2:1 on both, even 3:1 in some cases. They don't realize that the more you have, the more your mind is occupied on some level with all that stuff. On top of all that overhead, they're also paying probably 40-50% of their gross income to all the various government taxes, fees and costs. That's something most forget about.

Downsize your life outside of work, and you'll be surprised how much happier you'll be at work. A happy worker is one who is the most efficient, has the best job security, the strongest opportunity to advance, and even the greatest chance of attracting the interest of competitors in using your talents. It isn't your work that is killing you, it is your life outside of work. If you're a type-A personality that always has to keep busy, find time to de-busy yourself. My recommendation? Have one day a week with NO technology -- no TV, no radio, no iPod, no laptop, no cell phone. Try it. We have a "minimalist" room (the bedroom) with two lamps and a buzz alarm. That's it. It's great and lets me hide out from all the noise and clutter that still creeps in on occasion.

Anyone else go through a life-altering experience, and realize it wasn't your job that was the problem?

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (5, Insightful)

sprins (717461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136008)

Burnout isn't work related. It's stress related. You can also burn out on other places than the workplace. Too much stress, for too long without relief results in Burnout. Stress itself isn't the problem either, it's healthy and can cause you to excell. It's the long periods without relief that's the killer.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136454)

Burnout is work related. By definition. I've had a discussion about it with several pro's in the field. When it has to do with work, they call it "burnout". When it's nothing to do with work, it's called chronic stress or something else. It's stupid, but that's the definition. I believe this makes it easier to blame the employer in a legal sense.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (4, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136482)

No, it isn't. I hear the word burnout used all the time, especially in relationship to video games and hobbies "I burned out on WoW", "Don't try to level too hard or you'll burn out". It is not used solely, or even mainly, for work.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136606)

That's the difference between the professional definition and daily language. Professionally, it is only about work!

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (4, Funny)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137328)

WoW is work, duh

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136574)

Burnout happens any any activity.

Often the sign burnout is about to occur is an increase in intensity (which is really denial that they are burning out).

In my online gaming guilds, a person saying they love it so much that they are here for life is the surest sign that they will be gone within a month.

It's different than merely losing interest. It's an increase in interest and them a flameout.

Frustration burnout (5, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136048)

It is not the amount of work that causes burnout, but the fitting of the person to the role they are performing. Make bad fits and the people get frustrated and burn out easier. Make good fits and the creative energy flows.

Re:Frustration burnout (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136570)

It's not the job. It's not the fit. It's the type of person... The one who gets RSI, who gets a whip-lash in a car accident.

But wait! That's not true either! It's all of this. The whole package. There's no easy way to define this.

Call it life. Some people just have a more difficult time handling life. And as pressure is increasing on people, more people crack and get sick. By the way, they say 90% of all sickness is stress-related, that cold or flue or whatever. It just comes out in different ways in different people.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136074)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Also, please expand on the 3:1 people-to-bedroom ratio.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

NinjaFarmer (833539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136462)

Also, please expand on the 3:1 people-to-bedroom ratio.
It usually involved children iirc.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136734)

Ewww!

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (-1, Flamebait)

eWarz (610883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137130)

You sick, SICK fuck...

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Informative)

NinjaFarmer (833539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137284)

Its not my fault your mind works that way.

I seem to recall sleeping in the same bed as my parents sometimes. It was pretty comforting. I know my brother and my cousins did it as well.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (5, Insightful)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136088)

I don't discuss business or politics or religion with my real friends and family
Why would you want to do that? Those are the people you're SUPPOSED to discuss those things with. Your points about the financial aspects of our lives (aka accumulating "things") are well-taken and, IMO 100% correct; however, in my experience discussing business and politics and religion with people I care about and love and respect does far more for me than, say, either bottling these feelings up completely or letting them spew to faceless, nameless beings on the Internet.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136446)

"I don't discuss business or politics or religion with my real friends and family -- instead we talk about reality, the now, the past."

"Why would you want to do that? Those are the people you're SUPPOSED to discuss those things with."

I disagree. Usually politics, unless they are the most local of politics, and religion are the most abstracted aspects of your life. Federal funding of whatever program or the existence of your soul will not change a damn thing in your life. Take one person who is a conservative Christian and another who is a liberal Buddhist. They might have the same background, education, and interests -- practically identical lives -- and be best of friends, but if they ever discussed politics or religion they would soon get into a heated argument, could not agree on anything, and generally invest a lot of energy into something that had zero impact on their lives.

What GP is saying that he doesn't bother to discuss things that are totally abstract, irrelevant, and inapplicable to their everyday life, and instead discuss things that can actually have an impact their everyday life.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136540)

And politics don't have an impact on your everyday life? They sure as hell do on mine- every time I drive on a road, pick up my mail, pay sales tax, etc. I'm an atheist, but I know religious people think that religion is the major facet of their daily life. I really don't see how you can call someone a friend if there's huge subjects you can't talk about because it will cause a fight. I discuss all of the above with friends all the time- there's rarely agreement, but never heat.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136560)

You speak as if there is nothing that the Buddhist can learn from the Catholic and nothing the Catholic can learn from the Buddhist(specifically about religion). I disagree. It scares the shit out of me that huge swaths of people agree with you.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (5, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136610)

Actually the conservative christian and the liberal buddhist will get along MUCH better than the conservative christian and the liberal christian. Or even the conservative christian who believes differently about some minor point of dogma.

The buddhist is safely far enough away that you can disconnect and ignore them. The person who believes almost the same is much more maddening to those who believe there is only one true way.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (4, Interesting)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136958)

Actually the conservative christian and the liberal buddhist will get along MUCH better than the conservative christian and the liberal christian. Or even the conservative christian who believes differently about some minor point of dogma.

The buddhist is safely far enough away that you can disconnect and ignore them. The person who believes almost the same is much more maddening to those who believe there is only one true way.


See Wikipedia's entry on The Uncanny Valley [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (2, Insightful)

Foolicious (895952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137502)

What GP is saying that he doesn't bother to discuss things that are totally abstract, irrelevant, and inapplicable to their everyday life
And what TP (this poster) is saying is that such a robotic, anti-social (yes, I think constant, emotionless and shallow interaction with others is eventually anti-social) existence would cause the very burnout that we all want trying to avoid. Perhaps another way of saying it would be that one cause of burnout (among many) is the removal of honest self-expression from one's life.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137386)

I keep politics and religion online to the best of my ability. After a long period when I didn't know what my weblog was for, I've concluded it is for all the other things that I want to talk about or say, but don't have anyone physically around me that I want to talk about them with. Slashdot and other such postings also fill in for that.

I've been around the Internet a lot. I've heard, say, the arguments for and against abortion that you can fit into two minutes (already a very long monologue in a real-world conversation) a million times. You can't even begin to interest me in the topic unless you dig a lot more deeply than that.

Similarly, in politics, I've heard that the Dempublicans are evil and are going to kill your children a billion times. I need something deeper to be interested. Soundbites from CNN don't cut it.

Note I'm not even saying people are so stupid as to think in soundbites. The problem is the communication medium; you just can't say much in a conversation. Soundbites work because a five minute impromptu speech debate on a topic can do nothing more than toss such soundbites at each other.

If I'm going to debate politics and religion, I insist on being able to finish my thoughts without immediate, inline interruption. (For instance, it would require an extremely tolerant audience in a real-word conversation for me to have gotten this far into this point.) I insist on being able to link things. I like having conversations with multiple people in an organized fashion. For all the faults of online debating, and there are many, it's better than real-world debates by a lot.

Plus I like being able to read such things, because I read much, much faster than you can talk. I'm willing to pay the price that I type much slower than I can speak. (Besides, my typed sentences are much more valuable than my spoken sentences, and I can edit them.)

I suppose this is off-topic.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136152)

You know what? After reading your lecture, I have lost all my desire to reply anything meaningful.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136494)

I think that's from reading Slashdot too much. You can get burnout just from pressing F5 all the time. The common fate for all refresh monkeys.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136346)

I realized at some point that work wasn't really quite exactly the problem, but more like work-habits. While I was working at one job that was fairly high-stress, I was feeling close to burnt out. But I realized that the problem was that I was procrastinating on some of my projects, and I started feeling better when I tackled those problems instead of putting them off. Sometimes pushing through can be somewhat therapeutic.

But then I also realized that working through it wasn't quite enough. I started limiting myself to 8 hour workdays unless there was an emergency, making sure I used my vacation time and took my lunch break, and making a habit of taking lunch outside of the office. Getting outside every now and then helped a lot. I also found that it didn't really have as much of an adverse result on my productivity, because I was more productive when I was rested and happy.

So the problem wasn't the work itself, but the fact that I wasn't putting limits on my work. Without limits, the work overran the rest of my life. I would work through lunch and stay for 12 hour work-days even when it wasn't absolutely necessary, which put lessened my outside-of-work time, which made me unhappy, which made those twelve-hour work-days less productive.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136356)

I think you wrote this comment months ago, and have had it sitting in a vi window just reloading /. every few seconds for that whole time, waiting for an appropriate story in which you could make this a first post.

Nonetheless, it's true. Stress happens everywhere, and it all adds up. I get blistering headaches when I'm under "too much" stress. Oddly, any single area of my life that's under stress won't do it - there needs to be at least two - possibly three - areas that are overwhelmed. Finances, family, work, school - if you can keep at least two in the "low stress" column, the rest is managable.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

geodescent (871514) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136572)

See that little asterisk next to the parent's id? That means he/she pays for a subscription and therefore gets to read the story early. With a 6-digit id, you should know this by now.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136616)

That's true, although in the case of the OP, the GP is right too. That particular poster writes essentially the same post every time a topic like this comes up.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137372)

That particular poster writes essentially the same post every time a topic like this comes up.

No mention of the free market either. Ward, I'm worried about the Beaver.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Insightful)

Osiris Ani (230116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136400)

Anyone else go through a life-altering experience, and realize it wasn't your job that was the problem?

I knew full well that at one point in my life, I was working so hard and for such long hours just because it seemed to be the only thing I could really try to control in my life. However, I also knew that I was doing this largely because I was living in an area that did not suit me (the city of my birth, of all places), and thus had a life that I could not happily claim as my own. I relocated from one geographic region with surroundings and friends that made me blissful to another I'd wanted to avoid since first leaving it for college, but had little choice in the matter simply because I needed the job. The stress from all of this literally made me sick; it actually triggered new allergies.

I worked my ass off in a deliberate attempt to substitute career success, money, and some level of prestige for my lost contentment. Of course it didn't work, and I'm sure that the strain couldn't have been good for my relationship with my then-fiancée. Fortunately enough, I didn't go overboard in the acquisition of "stuff," and even better, I managed to get away from all of that. I relocated twice and now live in a place that directly contributes to my happiness and overall well-being, and best of all, I rather enjoy my job, it pays more than previous ones, and I telecommute. I didn't have to give anything up, save for a bit of sanity along the way.

...and who needs that, anyway?

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (2, Funny)

sunwukong (412560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136742)

I didn't have to give anything up, save for a bit of sanity along the way. ...and who needs that, anyway?

Whew -- good thing that little voice in your head told you to add that last little bit!

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136782)

From the summary:

Probably the most surprising thing learned from reading this article is that work load is not the best predictor of burnout.
From your comment:

I see a lot of people in my fields burn-out regularly, and I wonder if it really has to do with workload, or if it has to do with a lot of other secondary causes.
RTFS much?

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

nickron (1036524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136912)

Seriously... that's burnout.. LOL

Are we sure it comes from work? For many, yes... (2, Interesting)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137244)

A lot of people work at jobs where too much is expected in too little time, NOT necessarily from hours worked. Now for some people, long hours are symptomatic of these absurd expectations, but it's definitely possible to work 80 hours and still be happy. It's all about control - are you working like that because the boss is forcing you to (i.e., gun-to-your-head) or because you want to (i.e., time-flies-when-you're-having-fun).

Pressure creates stress.

By reducing your financial obligations, you've done a good job of reducing these pressures. If a client gives you too much shit, you fire 'em. Employees should have the same attitude. If your boss is unbearable, fire his/her ass and get a new one. Live in a place without many jobs? Find contracts where you can telecommute, move, or find a new line of work.

Don't buy top-of-the-line everything. Learn to enjoy Doom 3 at 800x600 with a 32 MB of video card. You don't have to get rid of everyhing, but you have to get rid of some things and scale back on others. The bottom line is that people need to take active steps in setting up their lives so that they have as much leverage as possible over their own lives and so that "stress" like this won't be a problem.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (3, Interesting)

Brummund (447393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137522)

Well put. I work as an self-employed programmer, and have basically worked as an consultant all my working life. (1995-> now)

About 4 years ago, I started working for myself, and have so far had no problems getting work in my field of expertise. However, I've never spent that much of the money on things per se, but have had a rather "maniac" save for a rainy day attitude. Most of the time I've had around 2-3 major customers, and then quite a few smaller jobs on the side.

That was a big mistake. I know the saying "if you can turn down one customer, try without anyone for three weeks", but really, as a programmer, it is so stressful to always have a bad conscience about something. If you get all your work done by working your ass off, you will feel bad/stressed because you do not socialize with your friends. When you socialize, you feel bad about the work you should have done.

This culminated with a WoW-addiction on top of that. Needless to say, my health has suffered from this. (One doctor wondered if I was on drugs, since I was so skinny ;-)

My advice to deal with burnout is to avoid as much sidework and distractions from your main sources of income. If you got like a 6-12 month contract with a major employer, you can do without the smaller side contracts, EVEN if you can do them on the evening for a week or so.

Having multiple deadlines for several customers occuring at the same day is pure hell. Do not do that on a regular basis, take care of the good customers, and learn to say no to work. Rather, network with other guys, and send them the business. The person you sent away will feel that you made an effort to help them out, and if the other guy needs the business, he owe you one. Win/Win!

It is OK to work a lot on the same project, as long as you can focus on that alone, and manage to take time off. Its all the distractions that has go. (My record is a major python app, one huge .NET-thing, and a J2EE-project at the same time. Sure, the pay was good, but I could probably have earned almost as much by working much harder on one of the projects instead.)

Sorry for rambling.

Re:Are we sure it comes from work? (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137554)

I "fired" a few of my worst customers who never seemed to pay on time but always called with this or that emergency. Sure, the billable rate was great, but the peripheral stress didn't balance out.

Exactly. I did the same thing for the same reason and I couldn't be happier with the results. It seems to me that 10% of your customers are always the cause of 90% of your stress; dumping them left me with more time and energy to devote to the customers who weren't making my life a living hell. Now I routinely reject new customers who seem as if they are going to be too high-maintenance.

Sure, I'm making less than I could, but it's well worth it for me.

simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17135936)

Burnout is really simple to understand. You try to make your car crash as spectacular as possible.

Re:simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17137042)

Siriously.

Article on a single page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17135966)

I remember burnout. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136002)


Friends and I would stay up all night smoking pot and playing Nintendo. Around dawn we'd be useless sacks of shit. I still freak out thinking of the "Death" monsters in Gauntlet.

Causes of Burnout (4, Interesting)

nate nice (672391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136056)

Burnout happens because we live a soulless existence working on worthless things to gain money which will be spent on worthless material things.

When you don't do anything that seem important to you, you simply stop being able to do it.

At some point, your brain figures out it only has one life to live and it's being wasted. So it "burns out" to get itself out of the current, unhealthy environment.

If you burn out, it's not really your fault entirely.

But you should recognize it as your brain and body telling you to get out now, you're killing it!

this is just my theory, of course.

Re:Causes of Burnout (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136436)

Glad its just a theory...like evolution. I was getting worried.

Re:Causes of Burnout (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137032)

In the grand scheme
You really are AC.
We're just mortals,
You and me.

Re:Causes of Burnout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136664)

Burnout happens because we live a soulless existence working on worthless things to gain money which will be spent on worthless material things.

Burnout is fatigue. Material things aren't worthless, because if they were worthless you wouldn't work so hard for them. And souls are just imaginary, so everything is souless.

Re:Causes of Burnout (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137080)

Burnout is fatigue. Material things aren't worthless, because if they were worthless you wouldn't work so hard for them.
Sounds like someone raising their voice in futile protest against what he subconsciously perceives as truth. Erm... or I could be reading too much into it. Personally, I've been burned out and wide awake at the same time...

And souls are just imaginary, so everything is souless.
Eh? Prove it.

Re:Causes of Burnout (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137058)

Without the moral blabla, yes - burnout as I've seen it in both myself and others is the feeling that you're wasting your time and that you as a being are being wasted. ROI is one factor - if what you do doesn't seem to matter, your chances for burnout increase. Most people, however, will simply lower the investment. I know quite a lot of good people who could probably work twice as effective and twice as hard, if only they hadn't stopped caring a year or two ago. Some of them because management has saved on 5-10% of salary raises and another 5-10% of overhead costs for a training or some perks. So congratulations, dimwits, you've just saved the company 15% of expanses at the price of a 50% loss of productivity.

And they call it "burnout" to make it seem there's something wrong with the employee.

Re:Causes of Burnout (4, Interesting)

rvw (755107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137142)

But you should recognize it as your brain and body telling you to get out now, you're killing it!

The body has its own ways of telling it wants to quit, even if the brain keeps on denying the signals. In WWI many soldiers went blind suddenly, without any reason. Many soldiers couldn't walk anymore. But when tested using clever tricks, it was clear they could see or walk. It was simply the body taking over the decision, giving them a reason to get out of that horrible situation.

Just recently I met a teenager who's legs felt like pudding. Sometimes she just fell on the ground, couldn't walk. She was showing all the signs of burnout or chronic stress. Her parents denied her problems - the cause of this - said she was faking, which made it impossible for her to handle the situation. This was her body taking over the decision.

Burnout Solution! (5, Funny)

bepolite (972314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136130)

I don't know about you but whenever I feel burned out I go to http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]

I'm a recent victim, I guess (3, Interesting)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136206)

I haven't been to work in about 3 months. Basically living from my savings and a porn website (check my sig! ;) ).

I thought I was young, invulnerable, but working from 9am to 7pm just got to me, after about 4 years. Now I just can't agree with the idea that I have to go and do stuff for someone ever again.

And I feel happy without that. I think something just broke, and I don't want to fix it.

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136260)

You're not burned out, you are a pussy.

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136702)

Huh, I know how you feel. I'm still coming to work at 9:00 every morning but wish I wasn't. I can't get myself to quit though. :|

Thanks for the link! I like www.thehun.net. And video-post ... sorry, don't have the link handy right now. ;)

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (2, Funny)

HiredMan (5546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136818)

Basically living from my savings and a porn website (check my sig! ;)

Dude, if you're going to try and run a porn site and claim any geek cred at least turn off directory listing.
You look like an amateur otherwise....

Sheesh,

=tkk

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17137112)

Ah, directory listing and wget. Truely a match made in heaven.

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136844)

and a porn website (check my sig! ;) ).

But isn't all the research for the site awfully stressful?

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (1)

ezzewezza (84083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137160)

And I feel happy without that. I think something just broke, and I don't want to fix it.
That's a great way of putting it. So now I'm going to steal it. :)

Re:I'm a recent victim, I guess (1)

smilingman (942304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137216)

Okay guys, be honest. Was that modded up for the comment or for the porn link?

ROI leading to burnout - so true (1)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136214)

I never thought about burnout the way the article describes it, but I wholeheartily agree. If I am working on something where I see great results that positively impact my company's clients, I feel great ... even if I'm working 80 hour weeks. If I am doing something that I view as trivial or unnecessary (but cannot get out of doing it), I quickly feel burned out within a few weeks.

If this truly is the reason people get burned out, it shows that all the money spent on fancy work environments, extra-curricular events, and other perks is largely wasted.

Re:ROI leading to burnout - so true (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136428)

If I am working on something where I see great results that positively impact my company's clients, I feel great ... even if I'm working 80 hour weeks. If I am doing something that I view as trivial or unnecessary (but cannot get out of doing it), I quickly feel burned out within a few weeks.

... and we wonder why our kids hate school and aren't doing well.

Re:ROI leading to burnout - so true (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137062)

", it shows that all the money spent on fancy work environments, extra-curricular events, and other perks is largely wasted."

Shuuut-uuuupppp....

we know this, we just want the perks.

Reminds me of... (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136234)

Yes.. burnout comes from not having a comfy chair. And while you're up, could you get me a few Dews, plug in my iPod, and massage my feet while you're at it?

Quit being a whiny pansy and get back to work.

Just kidding. Burnout is more of your lack of mental ability to cope with whats going on around you than what is actually going on around you.

Anyways.. gotta run, my Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is acting up again.

We want people to thrive and grow (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136352)

This sorry platitude should be dragged out on the street and shot. The head should be put on a stick and tied to the bridge for all who enter the city to see that this just doesn't apply in the modern world.

Work is first and foremost labor/expertise in exchange for some wages and it's done at the pleasure of your boss with your consent.

"Thriving and growing" is something that the worker concentrates on exclusive of work. Should "thriving and growing" intersect with work it should only do so to increase the salary the worker at their current or next job. Period.

"Burnout" is another one. The employee is totally responsible for this as the employer will extract as much productivity as their morals allow with no consideration for "burn out."

In some cases, there are benevolent employers, but this is the rare exception.

Sorry for the rant, but these HR platitudes are a pet peeve of mine.

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (4, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136596)

I call bullshit. I've seen burnout first-hand. TFA says it best: "Getting the most out of people didn't actually mean getting the best."

An employer is *stupid* to "extract as much productivity as their morals allow with no consideration for burn out.'"

You sound like Stalin; marching an infantry battalion through a minefield is defintely an effective way to clear it, but don't expect the troops to be up for much of a fight the next day!

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137072)

I've seen burnout first-hand.
We've all seen it. Most of the time it's ambitious people whose goals/expectations are not met. ex. expect to be promoted but are not. This is the individual's problem. An employer doesn't and shouldn't really care either way.

An employer is *stupid* to...
You may call it stupid, but most employers call it productivity. The more productive their workforce, the more successful the organization tends to be.

I may be wrong, but you sound as if you have very many choices as to your work situations or your economic needs are fully realized. (You, your family is loaded) Understandably, the world is a much prettier place with infinite potential under these conditions.

There's a good reason my original post was modded insightful. The statements ring true for the moderators. Very many others without mod points would agree as well.

Consider yourself lucky and privileged.

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17137320)

Oh another "If you don't like it, work somewhere else" mentality. Who suffers? The one's who have any faith in a corporate system whatsoever. They get to work 12 hour days for well-below-pay, and they better damn well be thankful for the "privilege".

You're right to some extent, the market will correct itself. At the cost of thousands of people's productivity, sanity, and happiness. I personally believe it's in the government's best interest to provide some sort of regulation.

Actually you sound rather burned out yourself (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137530)

I may be wrong, but you sound as if you have very many choices as to your work situations or your economic needs are fully realized. (You, your family is loaded) Understandably, the world is a much prettier place with infinite potential under these conditions. There's a good reason my original post was modded insightful. The statements ring true for the moderators. Very many others without mod points would agree as well. Consider yourself lucky and privileged.

---

IMO your post is insightful insomuch as it exemplifies the mentality of the subjects of the article of those who become burned out perfectly.

The world wasn't meant to be so, perhaps you just need a different perspective.

All employers may not feel it is their duty to ensure their 'workers' are happy. However, the best employers will attend to their employees and inspire them to be the best... If your boss isn't doing that, then they aren't meeting THEIR potential and everyone is losing out.

A CEO who inspires their employees to excellence deserves every $ they make. But they don't accomplish this through fear.

Frankly, you just sound bitter. :/

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (2, Interesting)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137176)

Actually that's a pretty good analogy. I've seen burnout where I've worked, and it's demoralizing to everyone whether they realize it or not. People are most productive when moral is high. From what I've seen, if you treat people like heartless machines, they may act like heartless machines around you; but they'll screw your business in ways you can't even imagine. Losing customers? Who cares, I just work here. Oops another paper clip in the shredder, oh well they can buy a new one every month. When people care about the workplace, they protect the business as well. Many businesses chug along just fine with low moral, but when times get tough, it's these businesses which are often the first to fall.

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (2, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136752)

"Burnout" is another one. The employee is totally responsible for this as the employer will extract as much productivity as their morals allow with no consideration for "burn out."

True, employers may have no legal responsibility to prevent burnout or provide for growth. Sure, employees are ultimately responsible for their own growth. Here's an interesting implication of those two facts: if you, as an employer don't provide anything in the way of support to promote an employee's growth and prevent his burnout, he may just seek out an employer who does.

Here's a very short parable:

Al and Bob both bought a set of tools. Al kept his tools clean and dry. Bob left his tools out in the rain. Bob's tools rusted, and he had to get another set to replace them.

Now, which man was within his rights? Both, right? Which man was smart?

The really important question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17137064)

Yes, but which one has the shiniest set of tools, the ones based on the latest, hippest, most buzzword-compliant technologies?

Sincerely,

Your Boss

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (1)

tppublic (899574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136922)

"Burnout" is another one. The employee is totally responsible for this as the employer will extract as much productivity as their morals allow with no consideration for "burn out."

Sorry for the rant, but these HR platitudes are a pet peeve of mine.

I work with them, and some of them are friends... HR people believe in these and try to act on them. They honestly care, and suffer the same burnout effects as others when they can't make progress. I've seen it: Been there, dated that.

The problem is that the plethora of MBAs running around have (as yet) failed to find a way to measure the effects. If it can't be measured, finance feels it doesn't exist. Therefore, it is ignored. You will shortly see Yahoo! follow down the squeezing path as happens with many other companies as growth slows and power transitions to finance.

If you solve the measurement problem, the education, burnout, and morale issues will solve themselves as the businesses act on what is in their best interest. It is not only belevolence, but also the vision to see that not everything of value can be measeured that will lead companies to act on these issues.

Re:We want people to thrive and grow (2, Funny)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137278)

Work is first and foremost labor/expertise in exchange for some wages and it's done at the pleasure of your boss with your consent.

I, for one, welcome our new feudal overlords and overladies.

--Rob

Someone summarize this... (4, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136392)

I just don't have time to read it, I have meetings to go to.

"It used to be..." (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136412)

Ha!

"It used to be, 'You sit for work? Here's a chair.'"
No insult intended, but it actually used to be "You sit for work? Use the floor or figure out how to levitate, or your job's going to Bangalore."

Burnout? The hell with that. If everyone else is burning out, then "Pay raise" is where I'm going.

I am beyond burnout (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136424)

As some of the ranting and raving I have done in the past has shown.

But I have reached beyond it. I am now embracing nihilism.

It is very liberating. Or perhaps I am confusing it with mu.

But in any case, when the maws of burnout clamp down onto you, use the purchase to thrust yourself down its throat. Because it will all come out in the end.

Selfishness and the art of not burning out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17136520)

I found my cure to nearly burning out was to take a more self-interested viewpoint on things. Instead of hanging around that half hour to an hour late to get A out to client B I'd just go home on time. I gave up on carefully balancing my schedule to keep certain amounts of time free for emergencies/high priority issue response because a co-worker was using that as an excuse to dump work on me. If I was was sick I'd take the very next day (or even the afternoon) off no matter what I was assigned so I wouldn't get exceptionally sick the day after that.

Little selfish changes like that did me a world of good. I was being too lenient to the behaviors of both client and co-worker and because of that I was being walked all over. I was always tired and increasingly cranky before. Afterwards I'm able to have a more laid-back and infinitely more positive attitude. It's a bit of a disturbing thought that parts of my working environment are so bent towards destroying a developer (and their life) by default. At least my manager and the rest of my co-workers are rad and I get to work in the languages I love.

Managers (5, Interesting)

Beek Dog (610072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136522)

I almost gave up IT this year. I was working at a financial institute and the work was fun. I wrote a BlackBerry app using java with a .Net backend. Fun stuff. But my manager was a complete jerk. Constantly moody. At my review he said "99% of the time we love you, but that 1% is killing us". I was out for a few days earlier in the year when my son's babysitter almost died, and this was brought up. "I don't care about your babysitter, I don't care about your kid. I just want you to be here for eight hours a day." I gave my notice at the end of the week. Turns out he lost all of his developers in that review month. He must have read somewhere that reviews were the place to smack your employees around.

Although it wasn't the work that made me quit, I was very reluctant to go through the same crap with a new manager. Instead of giving up IT entirely, I went out on my own again. I barely had enough work to pay the bills through the summer, but DAMN I was relaxed! By the end of the summer I was able to stomach another corporate job. It's boring work (See: Read Slashdot), but they are flexible. My old manager was anything but. I'll give it a while and if I get too bored, do my own thang again.

Burnout may not be something you can control, but you can fix it.

Re:Managers (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136908)

>>>> I went out on my own again. I barely had enough work to pay the bills through the summer, but DAMN I was relaxed! By the end of the summer I was able to stomach another corporate job.

Don't you just HATE that! You work self-employed, and about the time you start to say to yourself, "you know, with one more customer like so and so, I could do this forever". And then the siren song of permanent employment sucks you right back into the system.

I've been through this cycle a few times, and each iteration makes it easier to tell a disrespectful employer to piss up a rope, and easier to find self-employment elsewhere.

If it weren't for the fact that medical care is so f***ed up in the US, we'd gave a lot more happy, self-employed, successful people.

Re:Managers (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137158)

There's no satisfaction to be had working for a loser. Any company that would keep him around is destined to fail. Congratulations on getting away from that guy.

When life hands you poison, make poison-ade!

Or something like that...

Perceived progress (5, Insightful)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136528)

If I'm working on a project and not making any progress, another four hour day at work seems unbearable. If I'm making great progress and enjoying way I'm doing, I'll forget lunch and dinner and find myself starving and exhausted 14-16 hours later, but quite happy. Progress I think is the key.

Health? (4, Interesting)

Darlantan (130471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136586)

I'd wager that overall health is a big factor, too. I recall a study that ended up on the front page here. Rats that were injured and under stress both took longer to heal AND were a lot less active. Speaking from personal experience, any sort of lingering pain/injury can really contribute. In my case, it got to a point where the injury kept me from sleeping well, which made getting up and going to work awful. When I was there, I was horribly unproductive as I was always distracted/unable to concentrate, which ended up causing more stress as work piled up. When I got home, I'd need to wind down before I could get to sleep.

The end result was that I was always tired, hurting, and totally unable to get anything done. It was one massive negative feedback loop, and I found myself just wanting to quit everything. The end result was depression, burnout, and suffering.

I'd say staying healthy is one step in preventing burnout.

Burnout and depression (5, Interesting)

name_of_feather (1036518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136624)

There is a strong physiological underpinning to burnout, as years of constant stress and little sleep take their toll on the brain (in fact, the last stages of burnout are very much like those of a clinical depression). It is possible to recover, but it can take *years* and it's a difficult process.

A while back I wrote an article for Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] on this same subject, and that got plenty of positive responses. It was later expanded and wikified into a Wikibook which you might find interesting: Demystifying Depression [wikibooks.org]

(Yeah, sorry for the shameless plug, but this is important stuff that all of us in IT should be aware of. Besides, the link is to a public wikibook, not to my personal blog or anything.)

Tuesdays with Morries (1)

Maglos (667167) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136636)

If your having burn out check out this book, Tuesdays with Morrie. My favorite quote is along the lines of, If a culture doesnt suit you, don't buy it.

Finally! (0, Offtopic)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136722)

NASA manages to get a satellite photo of what the Fremen have been bribing the Spacing Guild to keep hidden.

Re:Finally! (0, Offtopic)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136798)

Now, if only I could use my prescient powers to figure out which story I'm replying to.

in children it's called Failure to Thrive (3, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136778)

The term is "Failure to Thrive" they typically use it in children that have all their physical needs meet but fail to actually grow bigger or smarter... Extreme cases in infants result in death!!

What they're really pointing to as "burnout" is really a lack of personal growth. Call it the "working dead" if you will. You're working, but never "productive" enough for advancement. you have all the other things but aren't really "alive".

John Mayer even has a Song about it "Something's missing"... you can buy it on iTunes with your credit card to put on your iPod, in your in car stereo adapter, on the way to work!

Re:in children it's called Failure to Thrive (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137114)

John Mayer even has a Song about it "Something's missing"... you can buy it on iTunes with your credit card to put on your iPod, in your in car stereo adapter, on the way to work!

Funny you should mention that -- John Mayer echoing through my dimly lit, dusty workplace was the straw that broke the camel's back. I would not recommend him to anyone already depressed about their work situation.

Burnout is nothing new... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136790)

Burnout is ages old, in my experience, its been around since before the computer. Now, with the advent of the computer are all kinds of new stresses: Operator overload, ergonomics (is that listed as a real word yet?) and distraction stress etc. ad nauseum.

Previously, neither management or worker knew about ergonomics and distraction stress, then workers knew but couldn't get any support at work, now bosses know... still not much support to rid the workplace of it. AFIK, countries other than the US are well out front in the race to reduce workplace stress.

One of the little known problems in the workplace (not trolling here) is scent! If you are distracted continuously by nasty perfume of co-workers, it causes higher stress levels from everything else. Even the little things have to be taken into account when trying to reduce stresses in the workplace.

There are government agencies and laws to support getting a better workplace environment... its just a big effort to get it implemented without causing huge amounts of more stress.... sigh

My View (4, Insightful)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136842)

In my view, burnout occurs due to the reason that people do not have a well-conceived goals.
Understand that, and work for it - you wont have burnout at all. People with real well-conceived goals, work for 100 hr weeks and they are the happiest there could be (cant say the same for the family though )

But, if you are working for the sake of working - or to just to feed yourselves and family, they you are a prime candidate for burnout.

I have come pretty close to burnouts - and it is not during the time when I worked 85 Hrs/week; it was when I was doing stuff for which I had no interest at all. Even though I knew it all along, I understood that money was not my goal in my life pretty much late in my life. Once I understood that, everyday of work was a horror. I was working maybe 5/6 hours a week - and still I was close to burnout.

Outside In (2, Insightful)

Osiris Ani (230116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136846)

I've always felt that within the lyrics to the song, "Outside In," [posterchildren.com] Poster Children has an excellent definition for what directly leads to the phenomenon of burnout.

"Trade the future for a payment
On a suitable replacement
For everything you've lost along the way."

Eventually, it begins to feel more automatic to simply stop caring about what you're not doing instead of working and otherwise engaging in preparation of the acquisition of things like physical possessions or the proposition of stability, which is sadly often just a cycle that feeds itself. The burnout comes when your brain realizes that life has been passing you by while you've been instead focusing on things that are really supposed to be enabling you to live it.

--
"It's easier if you don't think about what's missing at the end of every week."

I tried reading the article (2, Funny)

photozz (168291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136920)

But I lost interest about half way through.. I .. Just .. could... not... go ... on...

I understand Burnout (2, Funny)

galaxia26 (918378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17136932)

You take a car and ram it into other cars. In the end, you either win the race, or blow up. It's more of an adrenaline pumping experience than work related depression.

My life is case in point (1)

sylvainsf (1020527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137040)

This really rings true for me. After working as a Unix/Network engineer for 7 years, I burnt out HARD. Decided I needed a radical change in my life and pursued other things. I'm finally getting back into the corporate world 3 years later and realizing that when I was working 75 hours a week for a dotcom designing and implementing exciting new systems and architecture, I didn't burn out. When I worked for 3 years at a large hospital organization just to have them scrap the 1 billion dollar project and years of work, I realized that absolutely nothing I had been doing was worth anything (in a sense of accomplishment). By structuring workloads of a team so that each member gets to do some design work along with the drudgery, I think employees would feel a greater sense of satisfaction in their work.

Solution (1)

Palal (836081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137070)

While I won't speculate on the cause, I have to say I have found a solution for myself. Ten days in Hawaii is the only place where I can truly relax and unwind. I take other trips throughout the year, mostly exploring cities. While those trips generally provide a good environment for the mind, the body also needs to rest. And for that, Hawaii is the perfect place for me. I can get away from any and all monitors and simply do what I want for those days. Basically, take a vacation every year and go and unwind and let your body and mind relax.

Personal experience with 4 burnouts (3, Interesting)

heroine (1220) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137168)

We've had 4 burnouts. 2 of them were managers. 2 were programmers. The cause is definitely lack of satisfaction and not excessive hours. There is a 100% correlation between rapid company growth and declining individual influence that causes burnouts. They tend to be very ambitious. 2 of 4 quit when another person was promoted above them or hired to fill the role above them. Another aspect not mentioned by the media is that burnouts tend to lock themselves in their cubes and never be seen.

People forced to work excessive hours usually go somewhere else but don't burn out. They actually don't quit or take long vacations to make up for it, which shows they probably bring the long hours on themselves.

Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17137220)

Its better to burnout than fade away

No results? (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137306)

Slightly off-topic but still relating to the idea of burnout as being tied to a lack of progress.

Could it be the seemingly tireless repetition of the same damn shit grade after grade, and going through the textbook for half a year just to go through the whole damn thing the other half preparing for the final, makes a lot of kids feel their time in school is wasted doing nothing?

This was true of myself, at least, but maybe it's true of more kids than we think. Perhaps we should accelerate our school systems, and kids will be less bored, less prone to drop out, and get further by the time they graduate?

-uso.

it's the people not the work (3, Funny)

Wansu (846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137454)



I can happily work long hours when I know it will make a difference. But too often there's somebody causing a disconnect between the work and the reward. That's what causes stress, the natural confusion arising from the mind having to override the body's strong desire to beat the living shit out of some asshole who desperately deserves it. Maybe we should start a fight club.

Welcome to the party, boss! (2, Insightful)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137500)

Instead it has more to do with perceived 'return on investment' of effort. So work places are having to learn to adjust the work environment to reduce or prevent burnout.

So in other words, these geniuses have JUST DISCOVERED that workers tend to react badly to being overworked and undercompensated? Welcome to the party, Boss! It's good to see you finally made it to reality!

What disturbs me, of course, is the framing of this as the //perception// of the reality being the problem, rather than the reality itself. In other words, this is being sold to management as a way to create mere perceptions of work ROI, rather than actually creating work ROI. In short, they're coddling the industrial tendency to insist upon exploiting workers with deception.

Trust me, Boss. The perception is not the problem; it's the reality.

Added 2 cents re physical health (1)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137550)

I've found that an important aspect of burnout can be physical health. If you have a chronic illness (even just chronic pain, and its attendant distraction, can easily qualify), its drag can be limiting and make many areas of your life seem limited and uninspiring.

Being in poor health, even if not with a specific illness, can also be a drag. And inhabiting one's chair longer in compensation, trying to complete the "dreaded" work, can become a positive (in function, not in perception) feedback loop.

It's certainly not the only aspect of burnout, but I think physical health continues to get short shrift in our (U.S.) society, in considering the nature of overall well being.

(And I don't mean that everyone should be Lance Armstrong-buff. But generally fit -- enjoying that feeling -- and certainly without lingering, outstanding health issues.)

The problem is more fundamental than "burnout". (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137564)

The problem is more fundamental than "burnout". The problem is an overall breakdown in U.S. society. For example, the U.S. government has become very corrupt: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [futurepower.org] .

The U.S. has a higher percentage of its citizens in prison than any country, ever, more than 6 times the percentage of those in prison in European countries.

The U.S. is the most obese country in the world, except for a small island nation in which people eat a lot of coconut.

Modern American workplace an abusive relationship? (1)

nadanumber (992974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17137566)

Is it?

Maybe not all workplaces, but many are heading in that direction.

We have to stop allowing the corporate world to determine our national priorities.

This is only tit-for-tat in that clearly, corporations are not loyal to any one nation. If we don't do that we will be like rats in a treadmill, running faster and faster for less and less. We have to say no, stop the addiction cycle. They will thank us for it, but they can't do it themselves.

This is an abusive relationship. Increasingly, the carrots are being replaced by sticks, and people are incentivized not by pleasant rewards, but by the absence or reduction of punishment. This is a sick way to run a society and it is not sustainable. Its a symptom of the decline of America. We ignore the increasing rate of burnout at our own peril.
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