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Quench Your Burnout

Bob Goldman on

You're tired, ambivalent, stressed, cynical and overextended. Are you in love, or are you burned out at work?

It could be love, but according to a recent "Smart Living" article by Kenneth R. Rosen in The New York Times" the correct answer is behind door No. 2 -- burnout.

According to data from the General Social Survey presented by Rosen in "How to Recognize Burnout Before You're Burned Out," 50 percent of respondents were consistently exhausted because of work. (That percentage would have to be even higher, I think, if the poor devils conducting the survey were included in the results. Imagine how quickly you'd be burned out if your job was to knock on doors across America, asking people if they wanted to take a nappy-poo?)

While burnout was once applied exclusively to health care and public safety workers, you'll be happy to know that the malady has "been expanded to workers who are now part of a more connected, hyperactive and overcompensating work force."

To spell it out, they're talking about y-o-u.

"We got lost in this idea is the only way to be productive is to be in the go-go-go mode," explains Emma Seppala at the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education."We're shooting ourselves in the foot."

This is a diagnosis you should share with your manager. Or you could just shoot him in the foot.

For workers who are so burned out they don't know why they're burned out, Rosen provides a list of "common work stressors," including overcoming challenges associated with new software, unrealistic deadlines, unpredictable schedules and "interpersonal demands such as interactions with colleagues or customers."

Some of these stressors you have already resolved. You have avoided the IT department's latest software upgrade and now do your work with an abacus and a box of crayons. As for "interpersonal interactions with colleagues and customers," those have been reduced to almost zero. It's amazing how much useless chit-chat you can avoid when you unplug your computer, turn off your phone and circle your desk with 200 feet of yellow, plastic tape reading, "CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS."

Can you do more? According to the experts, here are five ways to douse your burnout:

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