Career Burnout Essay, Research Paper
Experiencing burnout is a term that we all hear frequently through our working life. Sure, we all might say, I am burned out and yet, next day be fired up. Being burned out is something entirely different from getting four homework assignments in a day. It s a disease that causes pain and suffering in many lives and if you do not cope with it safely, you can become another statistic.
Pines and Aronson found that nurses, who work with the terminally ill, suffered professional burnout most frequently of all the professions studied. The young people who volunteered for these assignments were incredibly idealistic and expecting good things out of the job. Yet, it was the highly optimistic people who crashed earliest. The nurses became very involved with their patients and then the patients would die, thus causing a sense of helplessness. Though the nurses are friendly with the patients, the patients are aware that they could die at any moment and do not return that friendliness, nonetheless adding psychological stress to a nurse s mentality. Nursing is not the only profession in the medical field, in which someone gives and does not receive any recognition or sense of gratitude. Dentists also experience this.
The dentist was second in the ranking of the most stressful jobs conducted by Pines and Anderson. The dentist is the only medical position in which a dentist does not consult with others in his/her field on a day to day basis. One would think that being a dentist would not cause much stress because it is within his or her own domain to control the work enviorment. A dentist chooses his/her secretaries, hygienist, and even the patients. With this choose, a dentist should have a feeling of being in control. But, even with this control, the dentist is still a very stressful profession because he/she knows that when a patient walks into the office they have one goal in mind, to leave sooner rather than later. When a dentist does finally operates on that patient, they know that they will not receive warm thanks for pulling a tooth or filling a cavity. It was found that if a dentist tries more to reduce the patients sense of uneasiness, rather than seeing them as another cavity or someone who moans a lot, then patients demonstrate more gratitude towards the profession.
Burnout is formally defined and usually subjectively experienced as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by a long-term involvement in situations that are emotionally demanding three conditions are necessary for burnout. If you are mentally stressed but feel good about your body, you are not technically burned out. If you are angry with yourself, feel irritated with your friends and feeling like there s nowhere else to go in your career, then you are experiencing burn out.
Burnout may come in many forms or patterns including physical depletion, feelings of helplessness, disillusionment, and the development of a self-negative concept along with bad feelings towards work and people around you. Though burnout has a huge affect on oneself, it also affects the people around you and not just the people that you love, but also people who work with you. If a manager is experiencing burnout, he/she isn t able to give attention to those they are managing. For example, if someone below a manager wants to get ahead, they may depend on the advice of their boss. If their boss is experiencing a burnout, their boss will likely not be a helpful resource but rather a harmful influence. He/she might make it tougher for that employee to get where they want to go due to the anxiety the manager is experiencing.
Unfortunately burnout happens to good people. Burnout is something that can happen to anyone with or without money, average Joe to a millionaire. One example that I came across in Career Burnout by Pines and Aronson, is about a young, optimistic clothes designer. He was a perfect example of someone who was very energetic and ambitious. Charlie just graduated from college and was determined to make it big in the clothes industry. But things didn t happen the way he had planned. Charlie found himself caught in the middle of planning and running the business all by himself because he couldn t trust his employees. Ironically his business was taking off in the positive direction. Though he was making a profit, he was using the profits to expand his business while his family was trying to make ends meet. Anger and anxiety had taken a friendly man and made him very suspicious about the people around him. In the end he was hospitalized from exhaustion and was in intensive care for 5 days. He was soon released, realizing what had happened to him and felt that like he could no longer be creative, or handle financial responsibilities. He took a job as a clerk in a big clothing company.
Though burnout is quite common in the work place, it is also known that people who flourish, are in a position in which they feel important and meaningful. Feeling left out or less important in a workplace is a major contributor to career burnout. For example, someone is told their whole life that they would be a great doctor and is expected to become a doctor. He/she studies to become a doctor but in the final year of college realizes that being a doctor is not for he/she, has second thoughts about the profession, does become a doctor but can t handle the stress of being one. The person is likely to have a serious burnout earlier than one who embraces their new job.
There are four ways to cope with career burnout according to Pines and Aronson: (1) Be aware of the problem and recognize something has happened. (2) Do something about it, you have to take responsibility for the action, only you. (3) Achieve some degree of cognitive clarity, and (4) improve your defense tools for better use next time. These steps are the most well known in psychology and are widely used by psychologists. There are other approaches that are noted such in the case of Richard Lazarus.
Richard Lazarus, a leader in the field of stress research suggest two types of coping: (1) direct action, in which the person tries to master the stressful transaction with the environment; and (2) palliation, in which the person attempts to reduce the disturbances, when unable to manage the environment, or when action is too costly for the individual . What Lazarus is saying is that, when you are coping with the stressful event, use the environment to your benefit, or if the environmental action is too costly or, try strategizing a plan to work around that problem.
In the book Pines and Aronson did a study on 147 subjects and how they coped with stress, In one Study involving 147 subjects, we asked whats their major life and work stress were, and then asked them to decribe how they coped with the stresses. Twenty percent of the respondants reported that they confronted the source of their stress as a coping technique. Twenty percent indicated that they avoided the sources of stress (18 percent) or did nothing about them (2 percent). Forty-nine percent used a vaiety of indirect-active techniques: talking about the stress (20 percent), thinking about it
(12 percent), studying (9 percent), getting involved in other activities (7 percent), physical activities, religious activities, and relaxation (1 percent); 11 percent reported a variety of indirect-inactive coping skills: worrying and crying (4 percent), drinking, eating, and smoking (1 percent), accepting the situtation (4 percent), doing nothing (2 percent) . What was noticed in that survey was that majority of the people coped with the stress in a healthy fashion. There were a few unhealthy ways to coping in there, but it seemed that people had a grip on things.
Career burnout will be around as long as people choose to work. With the benefits of work come the disadvantages. How we ll choose to work out those disadvantages will decide the future of our careers. Career burnout is something people must take seriously and if they do, they may get something out of it that we all enjoy, something called vacation.