11. Burning Out: A Twelve Step Program
1. Compulsion to prove yourself
2. Working harder and harder
3. Ignoring other priorities: work/life balance, family, friends, resting
4. Starting to blame others and your job
(i) Cynicism comes on strong
(ii) You struggle to isolate the true causes of your stress and problems
12. Burning Out: A Twelve Step Program
5. Only your work matters now, YOU MUST SUCCEED!
6. You start blaming your workload, denying anything is wrong with you
7. You withdraw from non-work life
Thoughts of work consume your waking and sleeping times
You might start dreaming of work
8. Others start to notice changes in behaviour
You don't believe them
Or you feel they're not helping
What do they know? They can't possibly understand!
13. Burning Out: A Twelve Step Program
9. Inefficacy is in full force
You don't see yourself or others as valuable
10. Emotional withdraw and emptiness
11. Depression kicks in
Exhaustion and feelings of hopelessness
12. Full burn out syndrome
Emotional and physical collapse
Medical attention sometimes required
13 FREUDENBERGER/NORTH, "BURNED OUT", SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND, JUNE 2006
17. How I Burnt Out and Recovered
• Started in June 2013
• A "simple" project: Migrate from a proprietary to an open-source system
• Steep learning curve for new system
• Lots to learn, lots of fun!
• Really wanted to prove I could pull this off
• … prove it to whom? Hmm …
18. How I Burnt Out and Recovered
• Started working a few late nights
• No-one minds much, it's important work!
• Only person on the project
• Everyone else is busy
• If I pull this off myself, it'll be amazing!
• … I can work a little harder, right? Hmm …
19. How I Burnt Out and Recovered
• September 2013, summer is over
• Can't sleep in every day, family needs me
• Starting to feel more tired
• Family starts picking up the slack at home… Hmm…
20. How I Burnt Out and Recovered
• December 2013, exhaustion is in full effect
• Learning has been difficult, but I made it!
• Colleagues are proud of my work
21. How I Burnt Out and Recovered
• March 2014, reality is starting to kick in
• Work is taking much longer than expected
• Refusing to accept I can't complete this
• Feelings of inefficacy are quite strong
• Why won't others help me?
• Are they plotting against me?
22. How I Burnt Out and Recovered
• June 2014, things are dark
• Stopped turning up to work on time
• Work is depressing
• Life is depressing
• Feeling hopeless
29. Pulling Yourself Out of Burnout
• Identify which areas are disconnected:
• Workload, Job Control, Reward, Fairness, Values, Community
• How can you re-establish that connection?
• First define the problem, then find a solution
• Rebuild self-confidence:
• Start with small wins in your work
• Doesn't have to be significant, just successful
• Slowly build up to bigger work
30. Pulling Yourself Out of Burnout
• Are you too available?
• Is there too much work?
• Is the pressure to complete work too high?
31. Pulling Yourself Out of Burnout
• Job control
• Are you micromanaged?
• Do you have weak leadership?
• Are teams ineffective?
32. Pulling Yourself Out of Burnout
• Do you need more money?
• Could more perks, rather than money, help?
• Is your work being recognised?
38. Signs of Burning Out
• Mood changes
• Are they frequently cynical, unhappy or complaining about their work?
• Reduced efficacy
• Are they producing less work?
• Making mistakes they normally wouldn't?
• Are they regularly staying up late, or missing deadlines?
• Do they complain of exhaustion?
39. Helping Others Out of Burnout
If you see signs of burnout:
• Encourage a longer vacation (2+ weeks)
• Help find tightly scoped tasks
• Each task should be quick (< 1 hour)
• Ask them for answers they know
• Make them feel wanted and valued
• Start looking for bigger tasks over time - it may take months