Keeping the Fire Burning

As the weeks dragged by in the immediate aftermath of the shelter-in-place order of !”, a soupy sort of miasma seemed to settle over a sizable portion of those working from home. For some, this manifested as a sense of pointlessness and stagnation, or a listless disinterest in work and productivity, or even a tendency to snap easily and often.

Sitting on the sofa in a bathrobe and staring blankly at a laptop screen despite a growing to-do list was not a one-off occurrence for those trapped within their own four walls. In fact, during that time period, social media was overrun by people sharing their greatest accomplishments – binge watching entire seasons of the latest Netfix shows in one sitting. For those not ‘in the know’ regarding mental health discourse, the word burnout began making its way into casual conversation. Even now, in a world that has – for better or worse – begun to open back up, it’s not uncommon to hear a colleague remark, “I’m so burned out,” or “the burnout is getting to me.” In its ICD-11 compendium, the World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome caused by unsuccessful management of workplace stress, characterized by symptoms including “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy.”

(Source: World Health Organization. [28 May 2019]. Burnout an “Occupational phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases. World Health Organization)

The fact is, stress-induced professional burnout is an unfortunately common phenomenon among much of the workforce, regardless of how passionate people may be about their careers. Ignoring it or claiming that it’s the sort of thing only lazy or unmotivated people experience will not make it go away. It’s up to both individuals and companies to & and ways to manage stress and head burnout at the pass. In this article, KBDN presents some of the experiences and the advice provided by surveyed industry professionals.