Mythical Monday – Burnout is just the complaining and whining of an unhappy person.

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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.

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23 thoughts on “Mythical Monday – Burnout is just the complaining and whining of an unhappy person.

  1. Firing anr replacing? What sort of a way is that to run things? Very soon, they find that nobody wants to work there. Heaven knows how your clients felf about all this, it hardly seems like they’d be getting a good service.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well that should be the point of it all! As they pay the bills of the hospital.
      Firing yes and take some else, it really doesn’t matter to them, they only need people to ‘fill the floor’. Every time of day there need to be someone to provide minimal care. That their concern in the end.
      I’m afraid they will find people to work there, they found me once upon a time. Other colleagues are afraid to change because they are maybe too old, or they are used to work there, it’s close to their homes or they are convinced that they are not capable anymore to do/learn something else.
      My clients were a bit sad and their families too but I was so empty, tired and disillusioned that I wasn’t capable to provide good care anymore. Weirdly I had a dream about this previous work last night.
      I try to focus on the future, recovery, the love of my life, the dog and a more ‘fun’ job!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Putting people and situations in a “box” is so frustrating. No one asks for burnout, depression, fatigue etc. etc. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with the narrowmindedness of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s dreadful that you were treated in this manner. I think Nurse Managers need more training in people management. Within the NHS, ‘favourite’ nurses were promoted into management positions by their ‘friends’. Our Managers were obviously all nurses but none had the knowledge or skills to manage staff and I think this is where the problem often lies.

    I was fortunate that I was a Human Resource Manager for many years before I became a nurse so I was lucky that I had those skills and knowledge needed to manage teams of staff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that is what that is, the nail on the head. No management skills but sadly sometimes no insight in the human brain and things that can happen in life. Well, it’s all said and done now but the most support I got from the patients, they really understood how it feels to be ‘limited’ in living your life. When I’m a little better I’m going to visit them!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that burnout is very over-used, too. Didn’t go to the gym today because I’m burnt out. Didn’t cook dinner. Burnout. Lol.
    Laziness /= burnout. Genuine burnout takes quite a bit of pressure to cause, I’ve found. It doesn’t happen over the course of two days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no it is the result of chronic stress, it can take maybe years or months to built up. We are very resilient and our mind and body can process a lot of things before it needs to give up. It surely doesn’t happen because you went to the gym too often once.
      I think a lot of term are being over used, like depressed, anxious, burned out, ocd …
      And starting from that ‘over usage’ you get those weird advice’s like, time management for burnout, breathing exercises for anxiety and write 10 things you’re grateful for for depression 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah you’re exactly right. People are prescribing treatments for the over-used, not very extreme symptoms and then saying it’s good for treating actual depression and stress which it’s not.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. People love to slap labels on others when they don’t behave conveniently, assuming they are deliberately choosing to be problematic. I’m starting to wonder, is it ever that simple? And even if it was a choice, wouldn’t that be symptomatic of a different problem? None of us can fix everyone else’s problems plus our own, but maybe it would help if we aimed not to sort out who deserves labels but to support people who falter so that they can stand up again. We might even feel better ourselves for trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can we print this out and plaster it all over the cities? It would be a great Valentine statement.
      Thank you for your heartfelt reaction. That is how it should be and I feel that that would be even the most economical way because no energy or time would be wasted by sorting out who has the ‘right’ to and no time would be wasted on the ‘labeling’ itself.
      As I feel it in my country it’s all about the money. ‘They’ are not happy that so many people are effected by burnout because sick leave needs to be payed by someone and the compagnies are being held responsible. So who can they ‘blame?’ The people themselves.
      I think burnout has a lot to do with the environment and it is actually a big a** warning sign to compagnies. They should be listening and change their style because one day it will be too late.

      Liked by 1 person

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