Stress and burnout may be closely related but how we handle the two depends on the individual person. If you are working at a job that is unrewarding, monotonous, filled with conflict or overwhelming, you can be experiencing both at the same time. We’ve talked about how some stress levels can keep us motivated and challenge us to work more productively.
Yet, when stress levels increase to a danger level, and you're constantly feeling overwhelmed at work, burnout can follow. Burnout can be defined as, a continuous lack of mental, physical and emotional energy and a feeling of hopelessness. Stress and/or burnout are conditions that many are facing today.
No one likes to wake up in the morning, go to work, work diligently at a job trying to get everything done, and then at the end of the day, receive no acknowledgement of a job, well-done. You become unmotivated. You wonder, “What’s the use, because no matter how hard I try, nobody cares.”
We identify two major conditions that can lead to burnout. The first condition is that you have little control over your situation. This can cause a lot of stress and burnout is likely to follow. The second condition is that there is a lack of quality leadership in charge of the situation.
Let’s look at the first condition. Having no control of a situation may mean that you are given assignments that are unreasonable (maybe you have too much work with too little time to complete everything). There may have been layoffs at your company, and you are now handling the work of other employees who are no longer there. Another example of unreasonable expectations may be that you are being asked to complete work assignments without the proper training.
The second condition focuses on leadership and direction. Without a sense of direction, how do you know for what to strive? What are the goals of the company? The leadership may be asking you to complete job assignments within a highly pressurized time frame, without providing necessary resources. Poor leadership can contribute to increased levels of job stress and burnout when communication is unclear or confusing, when there is no recognition of employee accomplishments, and when compensation levels are no longer matching the quality of work.
We all have experienced office stress when we are worried about consequences if something goes wrong in our work production. But experiencing ongoing stress can lead to burnout.
Recognize the symptoms of burnout: low energy, change in sleep patterns, increase of physical ailments, and lack of caring. Boredom sets in, which leads to feeling inadequate or feeling unmotivated. Situations that excited you before no longer interest you. Here is how to monitor the levels of job stress and burnout that you are experiencing.
Job stress and burnout can be debilitating, but they don’t have to be. Take precautions early if you notice symptoms of increased levels of job stress or job burnout. Life is meant to be enjoyed.