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Job burnout – who is prone to suffer from it?

An adult man is holding his head. He's afraid that sometimes he's not professionally burned out

Generally speaking, we speak about a job burnout when a person who has so far been engaged in their work is struggling with a loss of motivation for further action. They suffer from mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion at the same time.


There are various symptoms. On the one hand there are stomach aches, insomnia, frequent colds lasting for months. On the other hand – lack of willingness to work, the feeling of discouragement, oversensitivity, and lower efficiency at work. Unfortunately, burnout frequently changes into a depression.


No studies concerning job burnout have been conducted in Poland, but psychologists consider it a serious social problem. The American society that is often studied by researchers has nothing to boast about in this regard. According to the estimates of the US organisation “The American Institute of Stress”, nearly 50% of all working US citizens have the symptoms of job burnout. Every year the US economy loses 300 billion dollars as a result of employee absence, staff rotation, and lower productivity. Apart from economic consequences, job burnout entails also a whole range of tensions between the person suffering from this syndrome and their closest environment.

A burned out employee works longer as their efficiency is lower. They return home later and later and are not willing to follow their previous activities. They spend free days in front of the computer or TV set, reduce their social contacts and are simply speaking unpleasant to their family members.

Risk groups?

A job burnout can affect representatives of all professions alike. Back several decades ago it was believed that representatives of professions requiring strong emotional engagement in the matters of other people were the most threatened with job burnout. Mainly: doctors, clergymen, teachers, social welfare workers, and policemen. Nowadays, we are expected to be engaged in contacts with other people almost all the time – we work in teams, often in open space, and mobile technologies make contact with us possible almost at any moment.

Therefore anyone can burn out: a worker of an advertising agency, an accountant, a manager, a waiter, or a programmer.


Job burnout can be caused by two types of factors. The company’s work culture is important as well as the level of stress we are exposed to on a specific position. In both cases we speak about external factors. We are not entirely blameless, though. Our approach to life is also important. The internal factors include what we expect from life and how we accomplish the goals we set to ourselves and whether we do it at all. Frankly speaking, if we draw a lot of personal satisfaction from our work, we’re not likely to lose motivation.

What is more, the job burnout syndrome is sometimes referred to as diminished motivation disorder. It affects more frequently the persons for whom pay is more important than the work itself and those for whom the choice of their profession was problematic , was made under pressure from their parents, or was simply a coincidence.


Psychologists say that changing your job is not a solution as it’s only an ineffective form of escape. We would only take our problems to a new workplace, and the syndrome and its symptoms would return. In order not get burnt out completely it’s worth remembering about a healthy dose of assertiveness on the daily basis. Too many tasks assigned to us by our superiors or members of our team contributes to increased level of work-related stress, and this is already the first dangerous factor causing burnout. It’s also important that we act in harmony with our hierarchy of values, which we have always followed. Self-discipline should concern our body, our mind, and our frame of mind. Moreover, it’s better to focus on professional successes than recalling failures, and it’s worth reducing the level of negative thinking to an absolute minimum. When you feel that the job burnout syndrome may concern also you, do not wait and ask for help. Psychologists, professional advisers, or individual coaches will certainly help you handle such a complex problem.

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