Even the best jobs can lead to burnout. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier it is to get in over your head.
The prevalence of burnout is increasing as technology further blurs the line between work and home. New research from the American Psychological Association and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reported the following:
- 48 percent of Americans experienced increased stress over the past 5 years
- 31 percent of employed adults have difficulty managing their work and family responsibilities
- 53 percent say work leaves them "overtired and overwhelmed."
A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll found that "burnout from my current job" was one of the top reasons that people quit.
Burnout can get the better of you, even when you have great passion for your work. Arianna Huffington experienced this first hand when she almost lost an eye from burnout. She was so tired at work that she passed out, hitting her face on her desk. She broke her cheek bone and had to get four stitches on her eye.
"I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion." –Arianna Huffington
Burnout often results from a misalignment of input and output; you get burnt out when you feel like you're putting more into your work than you're getting out of it. Sometimes this happens when a job isn't rewarding, but more often than not it's because you aren't taking care of yourself.
Before you can treat and even prevent burnout, you need to recognize the warning signs so that you'll know when it's time to take action. Here they are, in no particular order.