Basically burnout is ‘their’ problem. That is how I feel people (me too) can be addressed when talking about burnout. I’ve heard that burnout is reserved for the very passionate. I’ve heard that you won’t get a burnout when you’re not working hard enough. I’ve heard that people with burnout are the ones who ‘profit’ from society moneywise. I’ve noticed that there is a negative perception surrounding burnout and I believe most people just believe or hope that it won’t happen to them. That it is ‘the other’ that has a weird gene or something. Too lazy, too mellow, too open, too everything but not addressing the question that really lies at the bottom of the problem. Time to bust some myths!
The assumption is that the problem lies within the individual.
The assumption is that the problem lies within the individual what makes it more difficult to speak up and to connect with others in the same situation.
The ‘solution’ is also aimed at the individual, they need additional stress management or go to a therapist. Throughout my life I tried to adapt to so many external demands that at one point I couldn’t do it anymore. How much more effort I was going to put in the job? As a result of a stress management course, I needed to take more breaks, let the team know that I was going on a break, tell my colleague (if I could find one) what the important things were at that point in time in regards to the patients. In order to be able to take my break. A break is only allowed when you work more than 6 hours per day. I worked shifts that were just 6 hours, so no break then. When working with my burnout coach she saw some changes that could be made in the job itself. Management didn’t see that. End of discussion. Firing and replacing people is one ‘solution’ that is implemented.
I also needed to put up boundaries. I didn’t know what and how because the treatment plans weren’t clear at all, if there were any! So I needed to ‘feel’ what would be an appropriate boundary for that patient through ‘looking in my coffee’? What, why, how? I can tell you, THAT gave me really some stressful times. I was seen as weak, not up for the job. ‘Too good to be good’.
Research doesn’t support this myth of burnout being solely on an individual level at all. People are not per se incompetent or not a ‘fit’ to work at all. It’s not that they ‘just can’t take it’. People are judged in a negative way. Science says that burnout is a response to chronic stressors in the workplace (or in your surroundings actually), which can affect many people. Burnout has serious effects on health and job performance. Focusing on the ‘person’ ignores the more powerful effect of the job situation. What is happening in the environment is much more important.
Understanding burnout, Prof. C. Maslach at U.C. Berkeley.