Most of the people are trapped in the cycle of the hustle and grind culture which has been integrated in the last two generations. This cycle started right after the Industrial Revolution when the 9 to 5 model of work was introduced.
Henry Ford created this work structure: to work 8 to 10 hours a day, with a break for lunch in between, and a certain number of holiday days per year.
The problem with this structure is that it has been made for manual work, and even though we have shifted away from manual work more and more, we haven’t shifted away from the 9 to 5 work model.
Manual work has been taken over by technology, but as humans, we have not evolved our ways of working, and the pandemic has shown us in our faces that this is hitting us really hard.
Why do people burnout?
What people don’t understand is that burnout most of the time doesn’t come from working too hard, too long, or too much.
I have seen many people from my industry following the same pattern: the number one factor that people mention when they talk about their burnout experience is the personal interactions not going the right way. They were not feeling appreciated or rewarded at work. And even if they loved their job and they were in a good environment, because they were not feeling appreciated or rewarded, they would eventually burnout.
People burn out when there are consistent ongoing unsolved problems between them and someone on their team, their colleague, their supervisor, or their manager.
If there is emotional stress, it doesn’t matter how hard you work.
How to avoid burnout
Every person has a certain type of capacity: mental, emotional physical, and spiritual capacity. It is different for every person.
For instance, I have a high physical capacity, whereas my mental capacity is lower than my physical one. If I get stressed, my mental capacity drops instantly.
If you look at that, a constant ongoing emotional stress takes away a lot of mental capacity from people, even though they are not actually involved in any specific problem right now.
If you have the idea in your mind that your supervisor doesn’t like you because they are constantly picking on you or always saying something about your work, you will constantly be busy in the back of your mind subconsciously, even though there is not a real problem there. This takes a lot of mental capacity from you that goes on top of your workload, and this leads to burnout.
How to avoid this from happening?
Transparency is a version of radical honesty, although people don’t always receive it well. This means honest and kind feedback, conversations that go both ways. This conversation has to come from the leadership because if they don’t do it, the team won’t be feeling safe enough to do that too.
It is the management’s responsibility to create that level of trust among the team.
Early signs of burnout that we don’t pay attention to
You feel that you are overextending yourself faster than you did previously.
You will realize that your capacity is dropping much faster than before.
You could easily work 2 or 3 hours, take a break, and suddenly after half an hour you already feel exhausted, you can’t get your thought straight anymore, which leads to the point where you wake up in the morning and you hate to go to work.
You feel fatigued, exhausted, and demotivated. a lot of people mistake it with depression because the signs are very similar but the root cause is not the same.
it takes a lot of awareness. if you catch yourself at work thinking how it would be not to have this job anymore even tho you liked it, then this is a sign that you are going towards burnout.
I was bullied at work, I had to wake up 3 hours before my job started just to prepare mentally to go to work.
In Germany with have a toxic work culture although we are always praised for it. But that work culture is highly toxic.
I didn’t even dare to think that I was about to burn out because I was blaming and shaming myself for it, I was telling myself “you are weak”, “you are not strong enough”, and this is how I ended up with burnout.
I had 2 types of burnout. The one that we all know, and a stronger one, Clinical Burnout Syndrome, which left me with a physical injury that I am still recovering from.
The hustle and grind culture is pushing us all the time to give the most of us, to drink coffee, to stay awake overnight working, brainwashing us.
All of this bullshit is not how it is meant to be.
Every great athlete is going to tell you that growth happens while you are resting.
You need to pause in order to speed up. If you would like to know more about how to slow down without losing momentum, click here.
If you like this blog post about burnout, you will love the podcast episode “The Dangers of Burnout and How to Pay Attention to Early Signs” from Unbox Yourself Podcast, where Shivali Beakta and I had a very interesting chat about this topic. You can play it here below.
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