Are You Suffering from Job Burnout?

Last Updated Jun 29, 2011 11:52 AM EDT

Whether it's due to the lingering recession, job insecurity, increased workload or other factors entirely, job burnout is on the rise around the world, according to the World Economic Forum.

Job burnout isn't simply being bored or disenchanted with your work. Rather, it's the result of prolonged work stress and is characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, a lower sense of accomplishment and severely reduced productivity. Burnout can also lead to increases in stress hormones, heart disease, and mental health issues like depression. Studies on the condition have found that there are generally three types of burnout: frenetic, under-challenged, and worn-out.

In the latest study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, researchers from the University of Zaragoza in Spain identify the factors can contribute to each type of burnout and suggest possible "cures."

Frenetic burnout
  • You work increasingly harder to the point of exhaustion and border on being a workaholic.
  • The more hours you work, the more at risk you are of burnout.
  • You are extremely involved and ambitious, and overload yourself to fulfill the demands of your job.
  • You feel guilt about the idea of not achieving your ambitious goals and are often driven by this guilt.
  • The Fix: Work on understanding the cause of your excessive ambition and your guilt, while reducing your personal involvement in work to satisfy personal needs.
Under-challenged burnout
  • You have little to motivate you at work, and have to cope with monotonous and unstimulating conditions.
  • This type of burnout is more common in men than women and in fields like administration and service personnel.
  • You feel indifferent and bored and don't experience any personal development in your job.
  • You feel cynical, because you've lost interest in their work.
  • The fix: Understand the disenchantment caused by feeling trapped in a job that bores you. Look for ways to renew your interest in your personal development at work.
Worn-out burnout
  • You have been in the same organization for many years--the more you're there, the greater your risk, but being in one place more than four years can trigger it.
  • You give up when faced with stress or lack of gratification.
  • You don't have any control over the results of your work and no recognition, which leads you to neglect your responsibilities.
  • You have a somewhat passive coping style and may become less productive, which can lead to feelings of guilt.
  • This type of burnout can be buffered if you have a college degree, a stable relationship and children.
  • The Fix: Work through your feelings of despair and your passive coping style, and seek out a social support network at work to help you become more motivated.
Have you ever experienced burnout? What caused it?
Related:
Laurie Tarkan is an award-winning health journalist who writes for the New York Times, national magazines and websites. Follow her on twitter. Photo courtesy of Flickr user William Brawley
  • Laurie Tarkan

    Laurie Tarkan is an award-winning health journalist who writes for The New York Times and many national magazines. She is a contributing editor at Fit Pregnancy magazine and the author of three books, Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility, Perfect Hormone Balance for Pregnancy and My Mother's Breast: Daughters Ace Their Mothers' Cancer.. You can follow her on Twitter at @LaurieTarkan.

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