If you are a school teacher, healthcare worker, mental health counselor, airline pilot, or a project manager, you are expected to be dynamic, productive and well prepared and most importantly, polite in all situations, at all times. Usually, the relationship between the provider (of service) and the recipient (patient, student, client customer) depends on the culture and context of the institution in which the contact happens. The institution also determines the nature of service-how much, what type, and for how long. Many times, it is not the resources available to the service provider, but the constraints that are placed on her or him that shape the job setting.
Most of the time, we are trapped in the security the system offers (tenure, pensions, benefits, or retirement perks) that keeps us hooked, making it hard to leave despite clear signs of burnout.
First step to tackle burnout is to recognize if you are in a burnout prone job. Ask yourself, if are in one of these job-settings?
Hospitals, emergency rooms, prison guards, Air-line service, school or college, de-addiction centers, mental health worker, crisis-management centers.
Once you acknowledge that you are in burnout prone job, next step is to get specific. Ask yourself these specific questions:
1. In trying to accomplish all these tasks, do you feel alone in your job, most of the time (despite support from the staff)?
2. Do you feel that your job circumstances are actually promoting emotional stress rather than rewarding you for your hard work?
3. Do you feel burdened by the next task at work? For instance, do you feel like your patient or client is just another item on your checklist that needs to be checked off?
4. Are you overwhelmed and even sickened by the direct contact with tragedies and emergencies that you face as part of your job, such as fire-fighters, police, emergency room staff, airline disaster management team?
5. Do you have a sense of lack of control over your job duties? One good way to recognize this is by listening to yourself. Is your inner voice constantly telling you, “I can’t give anymore,” or “I can’t stand the people or circumstances at this job?”
The telltale signs of burnout are emotional exhaustion, negative feelings about oneself and the others and diminished sense of self-worth. If you answered YES to any one or more of these five questions, it means you are already burnt out. It’s time to rehabilitate yourself.
First step to tackle burnout is to recognize if you are in a burnout prone job.