The Three Types of Burnout

If you’re a modern worker, you know what burnout is—hell, you may have experienced it—and if you haven’t, we can only assume that you’re a government accountant. In case you are and happen to be reading this in between uselessly using the copy/paste function in Excel instead of applying the formula to the entire column, burnout is fatigue, cynicism, and inefficiency that comes from workplace stress.

As it happens, new research published in PLOS One suggests that there are three types of burnout. The first, overload burnout, occurs when an employee works to the point of exhaustion. People who suffer from this might try and deal with their stress by complaining about the hierarchies of their workplace, which, incidentally, doesn’t work.

The second type of burnout, related to boredom, tends to be treated with avoidance. Bored workers attempt to distance themselves from their jobs, managing their stress by becoming aloof and cynical, which is why this type of burnout is also called “Screw it, I’m going fishing” syndrome (editor’s note: no, it isn’t).

The final type of burnout, worn-out burnout, happens when a worker wants to achieve a specific goal, but lacks the grit required to defeat all the barriers in their way. This type of burnout is usually accompanied by the coping strategy of giving up.

So, now that you’ve diagnosed yourself, what to do? Well, certainly none of the above coping strategies, given that they don’t work. Get more sleep, try mindfulness meditation, go for a run, or tell your boss to take this job and shove it. And hope the job market improves.

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