Quench Your Burnout

Bob Goldman on

1. "Focused breathing, which can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you reduce or manage stress."

Or even better, stop breathing all together. Let's face it, breathing takes a lot of work, and it's really hard to see the benefit of it.

2. "Frequent breaks, preferably five-minute breaks for every 20 minutes spent on a single task, or sitting at your desk."

Twenty minutes on and five minutes off is good. Five minutes on and 20 minutes off is better. Five minutes on and the rest of the day spent drinking Mad Dog Margaritas at the Kit Kat Klub is best.

3. "Ergonomic chairs and desks, like a sit-stand arrangement, or even a small plant in your office."

Yes, and when you request the new furniture, also order an ergonomic mattress. Explain you're going for a sit-stand-lay-down arrangement. A small plant is also fine. Be sure to give it a name and take it to lunch. Go for a plant that fits your specific office environment, like an "atropa belladona," or Deadly Nightshade.

4. "Periodically working out of the office enables you to try working from a quiet and contemplative space in which creativity may grow."

Forget growing creativity. You want a place so quiet and contemplative that moss will grow. Considering the atmosphere at your work, an appropriate out-of-office location would be Virginia's Great Dismal Swamp. It will feel quite similar to your office and will definitely be quiet, at least, until an alligator starts gnawing on your leg.

5. "A trusted mentor at work with whom you can discuss and strategize other ways to deal with work-related issues."

This could help, but it is difficult to find a senior manager who is interested in helping you improve your job. Mostly, she or he will be interested in eliminating your job, which, you have to admit, would solve a lot of your stress at work.

However you combat burnout, you are encouraged to "find some humor in life." You won't find it in this column, unfortunately, but there are other places to look. Psychologist Christina Maslach insists that "everything in life is way better if you're connected to other people."

Maybe, but considering the people in your workplace, I think you'll be much happier being connected to your plant.


Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



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