Work Related Causes Of Burnout Psychology Essay


The symptoms of burnout are general. They are neither very unusual nor very mysterious. Nobody is free of symptoms. An individual with symptoms of burnout loses interest in work and in extreme cases, the burnout victim literally become unable to perform work. The work still remains intact, but burnout leaves its victim unable to get involved in the work. It reduces motivation. Following symptoms are given by Potter in the year 2005.

Burnout does not occur overnight: It is a collaborated process, which begins with small warning signals. If these signals are not checked at proper time can lead to a profound and lasting dread of going to work.

Negative Emotions: Occasional feelings of anger, depression, frustration, anxiety and dissatisfaction are normal parts of living and working conditions. When people are trapped in the burnout cycle, they usually experience these negative emotions very often until they become chronic. In the worst case people complain of emotional fatigue or depletion of energies.

Frustration: Life is fraught with frustration. Some barriers are always there to prevent us emotionally. If dose of frustration is small it can be a helpful emotion, inducing us on to try some new methods or to solve problems with alternative ways, then we expand and explore. But when frustrations remain continuous and unsolvable, the stage is reached for feelings of futility. When stem of frustration grows largely from the job situation, intense feelings of dissatisfaction from job result to frustration.

Depression: Feelings of negativity can put down all the emotional batteries of even the most energetic person. The result is feelings of profound depression and a kind of emotional and spiritual exhaustion where individual feel like he is running on one watt, without the resiliency to recharge. While depression may begin as a response to a job situation. It can become a problem in itself, leading to poor health and impaired work performance.

Interpersonal Problems: Interpersonal relationships are usually affected by interpersonal relationships. Feeling of emotionally drained makes communication with people more difficult, both on job and home. When inevitable conflicts arise, burnout victims generally overreact with emotional outbursts or intense hostility. Such instances make communication with co-workers, friends and family very difficult. Getting along with people requires tolerance and patience, but tolerance level drops so the burnout grows. Emotional overloading also makes interaction with others very precarious. Difficulties firstly appear in your private life. Frustrating and conflicting relationships also put additional stress on emotional circuits, creating even more frequent blowouts.

Emotional Withdrawal: People suffering from job burnout withdraw themselves from social interactions. This tendency is most seen among helping professionals who often become aloof and inaccessible to the every people they are expected to help. People often try to defend themselves from adverse job situations by emotional withdrawing.

Health problems: In burnout victims emotional balance gets depleted and they their quality of relationships with others deteriorates their physical resilience. They remain in the state of chronic tension or stress. They generally feel tined and rundown. They face problems of cold, allergy, insomnia and many other problems.

Substance Abuse: When the occupational problems become so chronic, many burnouts victims seek chemical solutions to overwhelming emotional demands and stresses. People generally drink more alcohol, eat more or eat less. They also use drugs such as sleeping pills, tranquilizers and mood elevated. Chain smoking and drinking large amount of coffee and sugar are also common. This substance abuse make problems more complicated. People suffering burnout often prefers to uses substances in attempt to self-medicate their anxiety and depressed.

Declining Performance: The necessary conditions for peak performance are high energy level, good health they all gets depleted in burnout. An individual becomes bored and unable to get enthusiastic about projects, or in other cases, the burnout victims may discover that concentrating on project is increasingly difficult. In both cases efficiency suffers and quality of output declines.

Feeling of Meaninglessness: People do job to get money and satisfaction of doing something meaningful. Virtually everyone wants to do something meaningful to come home from work. These feelings plays very important role in our life. Unfortunately for the burnout victim, working can become meaningless as they question if working accomplishes anything important. Enthusiasm is replaced by cynicism. Working seems pointless.

Vicious Cycle: The Burnout syndrome takes on a life of its own. Feeling of futility, disappointment, and guilt provoke interpersonal hassles and depression. Emotionally drained health problems can set in and performance ultimately drops. As performance deteriorates, there is an even greater sense of futility and guilt as vicious cycle becomes entrenched.

Eventually painful emotions give way to lethargy. The person becomes unable to participate in life, talents remains dormant. The knowledge remains untapped and potentially squandered. The vital driving force has become a whimper. As a malasie of the spirit, burnout attacks and depletes motivation. The cycle rarely stops by itself. In desperation, the burnout victim may quit one job to seek another. But shifting to a new job without understanding actual problem with the first job is a set up for another disaster. It is easy to unwittingly get into another job with the same problems. Essentially, the new job picks up where there first one left, then the second job may promote burnout even more rapidly in the face of fewer frustrations. The burnout victim may once again seek another job only to find a repeat performance and eventually become unable to work at all.

1.1.4 Work related causes of Burnout

Burnout is described as the reduction of motivation or incentive, especially where individual’s devotion to cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results, and is a stress related state. There are several factors that can contribute to burnout, including job-related features. The following causes of burnout are given by Scott (2006).

Unclear Requirements: When it becomes unclear to the worker how to succeed, they hardly show any confidence in themselves, do not enjoy their work, and feel they’re doing a good job. If the requirements are constantly changing and it’s hard for them to understand.

Impossible requirements: Sometimes it’s just not possible to do a job as it’s explained. Time limit given to complete work is mismatching with worker. Workers will put lot of effort and never quite feel successful which also leaves them at risk for burnout.

High stress times with No “Down” Times: Many jobs have ‘crunch times” when workers have to work for longer hours and handle a more strained workload for a long time. In the cases where such “crunch time” occurs year round and there no time for workers to recover.

Big Consequences for Failure: People make mistake, its part of being human. However, when workers face very big consequences to the routine mistake, the overall work experience become much more stressful and the risk of burnout goes up.

Lack of personal control: Workers who are unable to restricted to exercise personal control over their organizational environment situations and daily decisions tend to be at greater risk for burnout.

Lack of recognition: It’s difficult to work hard if they are never be recognized for one’s accomplishment. There should be awards, public praise bonuses and other tokens of appreciation and recognition for accomplishment so as to keep morale high.

Poor Communication: Poor communication in a company can cause or increase some of these problems. When an employee has a problem and no social support is there to discuss it with someone who is in a position to help. This can lead to feeling of low personal control.

Insufficient compensation: Some occupations very stressful and it’s one of those things that we just accept along with the pay check – if the paycheck is sufficient. In some cases demands are high and financial compensation is very low, workers find themselves thinking. “They don’t pay me enough to deal with this” and the burnout risk goes up.

Poor leadership: It all depends upon leadership. Employees can feel recognized for their achievements, supported when they face difficulties, value, safe etc. Poor leadership also influence many others – which can put an employee at risk for burnout

1.1.5 Personal factors leading to Burnout

Many burnout risk factors are related to job structure and lifestyle factors. Some personality characteristics can increase one’s experience of stress, making them more susceptible to burnout. Since much of personality is inborn, it’s important to be aware of how our personal makeup and tendencies which can contribute to our stress response, so we can adjust what we can. The following personal characteristics can affect stress level and put a person at an increased risk for burnout is given by Elizabeth (2006).

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Perfectionist Tendencies: The sign of hard work is striving to do best. It can be a positive trait that leads to excellence. However, perfectionism can also cause excessive stress and sometimes be crippling. Perfectionist beat themselves up if everything is not perfect, whereas mere hard workers are happy with a near-perfect job well done. Perfectionists sometimes won’t even try to accomplish a task because they’re too terrified of ‘failure’ – which can be defined as anything less than perfect.

Pessimism: World is more threatening for pessimist as compared to optimistic. Pessimist worry more about things going wrong, expect more bad things than good and believe in themselves less. Pessimists give themselves unnecessary stress in many everyday situations. They also put themselves at an increased risk for burnout.

Excitability: There is category people who naturally remain more excited than others. They have a stronger response and are more prone to stress and are also triggered more easily.

Type A Personality: Type A personalities put people at an increased risk for cardiac disease and other health and lifestyle difficulties. Being Type A can cause additional and chronic stress, increasing burnout risk.

Poor Fit for the Job: If the personality characteristics does not match with your job requirements, one will feel stressed most of the time, and be at an increased risk for burnout.

Lack of Belief in the job: There is poor compensation in some jobs, but supply great opportunities in terms of making a difference in the lives of others and making the world a better place.



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