Do You Experience Professional Burnout?

Series: 4th Installment for Health Issues and Anxiety of 4

There was a recent hostage crisis that happened in V Mall, San Juan Metro Manila. It has inspired me to write about my final installment of the health issues and anxiety series. It’s a “professional burnout” that has enabled the ex-security guard to undertake such hostage drama.

In this blog, let’s talk about professional burnout, which I previously endured too. Let’s dig in and understand ‘burnout,’ so we would not end up doing unjustified revenge against someone like a company, employer, or superior, similar to the hostage crisis story.

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What is Professional Burnout?

Professional Burnout is commonly known as Job Burnout, and it’s a distinct type of work-related stress. Although ‘burnout’ is not a medical diagnosis, it’s a severe factor behind mental disorders like Chronic Stress, including Depression.

What are the Signs of Professional Burnout?

Here are some of the feelers that we can ask ourselves to check if we are in such a state:

  • Have I become pessimistic at work?
  • Do I think about doing incredibly critical at work?
  • Do I drag myself to work?
  • Do I have trouble starting my tasks at work?
  • Do I find it hard to concentrate?
  • Have I displayed irritable behavior or impatience with colleagues, customers, or my boss?
  • Do I feel disappointed about my job?
  • Did my sleeping habits change?
  • Do I experience unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
  • Am I using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to become numb?
  • Do I think serious hate about my work?

You might be experiencing professional burnout if you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions.

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What are the Causes of Professional Burnout?

Based on an article, these are some of the possible causes that bring much higher stress to Professionals like you:

  • Impossible Requirements
  • Unclear Requirements
  • High-Stress Times with No “Down” Times
  • Poor Leadership
  • Insufficient Compensation
  • Big Consequences for Failure

Impossible Requirements

Sometimes a job is more manageable in words than done. Unreasonable workloads can disrupt us from meeting our deadlines. When I worked in the facility management industry; it was so much fun at first because it was new to me, I’m learning. I met several types of personalities until it got to the point that my workloads are incredibly uncontrollable. Regardless of how much time management I do, it doesn’t ease the problem. Despite my putting in so much effort, I don’t feel successful and happy about what I was doing. The experience brought so much tension and anxiety.

Unclear Requirements

The mission and vision of a company are vital to its success as well as to its employees. Having a noble company’s mission and vision nurture the core values and principles of the firm. Not having these will result in a vague path to success. Imagine a work without proper processes. How about having no clear job description? Or scattered team assignments? Imagine constant irrational changes done inside a company? What do you expect? Eventually, all these can lead you to professional burnout.

High-Stress Times with No “Down” Times

All kinds of jobs have “crunch times” – where employees must work longer hours and handle a more intense workload for a period. Having constant crunch times and not being recognized or compensated well can lead to a dissatisfied employee. If we no longer have time to let ourselves recover from excessive workloads, then there’s a higher chance of us getting burnout.

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Poor Leadership

The ex-security guard who hostage allegedly more or less 40 admin mall employees blamed his previous security agency and superior for being mistreated. Leadership is critical when handling a workforce. Poor leadership can turn a simple internal work problem into a life-threatening incident. Poor leadership has a considerable impact on contributing to professional burnout. 

Depending on leadership, employees like the ex-security guard can feel recognized for their achievements, supported when they have problems, valued, safe, etc. Employees can likewise feel unrecognized, unappreciated, mistreated, not in control of their movements, anxious in their position, doubtful of their jobs’ requirements, and so on, which can lead to unwanted professional burnout.

Helpful Reads: 10 Great Leadership Traits You Must Acquire, 10 Inspiring Leadership Quotes

Insufficient Compensation

Other occupations are stressful by nature; hence are offered enormous paychecks and countless benefits. But, if demands are high and financial return is low, employees find themselves thinking, “They don’t pay me enough to deal with this!” I previously worked in the facility management industry, which offers 24/7 services but has a limited workforce. Can you imagine how much stress that will bring you? 

There were many occasions when I don’t get a decent sleep at night because I had to wake up at midnight to check on our team. I continuously experience interrupted lunch breaks, which led to no lunch breaks because I manage excessive deliverables. The worst part is, I was underpaid and had fewer benefits. I started pitying myself, having anxiety, and a high-stress level began to kick in me.

Big Consequences for Failure

We are human; we make mistakes. But, when there are terrible consequences to the error we commit, like the risk of getting a lawsuit, they often have a higher professional burnout rate. I previously worked in a business process outsourcing industry, and being threatened with a case from customers who didn’t get a dollar refund is typical. Until I experienced witnessing a frantic landlord coming into the office with police officers threatening to file a lawsuit against us because of some unsettled concerns about our staff’s accommodation.

Occupations like the involvement of law, healthcare, and government have a higher rate of getting lawsuits if grave mistakes occurred.

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What to Do About Professional Burnout?

Sadly, the ex-security guard sorted resolving his grievances in a hostage-taking incident. He had options to choose from, like going to government agencies that sort such labor problems or going to NGOs that help maltreated employees like him.

However, his mind was already in distress and is incapable of thinking positively and rationally. He was determined to doom his previous superior and management radically. I believe he is then suffering from a greater level of stress. He continually thought about how his superior mistreated him and how he absorbed unethical statements thrown at him during some confrontations.

We don’t want to reach such a state. Mental health is essential. Suppose you feel like or know someone that is experiencing professional burnout. Act and get started. Here are the best steps:

  • Do simpler stress relievers like breathing exercises and positive reframing, and walk it off.
  • Maintaining a meaningful hobby as your personal balance
  • Evaluate your options
  • Talk about it with your most trusted family member or friends
  • Most importantly, seek support from experts if needed

Helpful Reads: 6 Types of Creative Employees, 6 Types of Toxic Employees to Avoid, 8 Habits of a Happy Employee

My Takeaway!

If you are an employer or managing a workforce, be sensitive enough to your subordinates. It’s okay imposing strictness and apply discipline. But safeguard work-life balance and humane treatments. If you are an employee, remember not to take things seriously when being reprimanded. Take this as an area of opportunity to improve yourself.

Regardless of the job, we may have, keeping ourselves healthy physically, mentally, and morally must be our top priority! Because these aspects will help us be our very best!

References: MayoClinic, VeryWellMind, PhilStar Global, CNN Philippines, Interaksyon

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