“Why should we do all the work, while she is at home having a holiday”, is a common remark from colleagues at work who clearly don’t know what burn-out is. We cannot blame these co-workers on their ignorance, since they don’t know what they don’t know.
Our experience in burn-out prevention and curing is that you cannot fake a real-burn out. Now that more and more doctors are facing this work disease, more and more accurate tests and case studies are facing the medical surface.
When your stress hormone (Cortisol) has been an inner guest to your body for several weeks or months, your body and mind are a total waste…Believe me, you don’t need a blood or urine test to diagnose an extreme burn-out.
But sometimes burn-outs grow gradually, and then these tests and an analysis of your mental state can be life savers.
Use the model below for a personal check-up or to help and check your colleagues, because most of the time the person who is heading for burn out is not aware that he/she is on a way to hell.
Freudenberger and North have created an abstract model of burn-out outlining a twelve-stage process. These are more of a suggestion than an actual diagnostic process. The steps do not have to occur in this specific order, or some aren’t present at all. Others have reported experiencing two or three stages at the same time. It is an individual process unique to each individual and personality type (Source: Herbert J. Freudenberger, Geraldine Richelson Burnout: The High Cost of High Achievement Paperback – Bantam books 1980).
- Compulsion to prove oneself, excessive ambition
- Working harder, taking on more work to realize ambition
- Neglecting personal needs, the self disappears for the company
- Displacement of conflicts, can’t see roots of problems, physical symptoms begin
- Revision of values, changed perceptions, emotions become blunted
- Denial of emerging problems, problems are caused be everything other than them
- Withdrawal, loss of hope or direction, seek release through alcohol and drugs
- Obvious behavioral changes, usually fearful, shy and apathetic, increasing feeling of worthlessness
- De-personalization, detached from the world and then divorced from themselves
- Inner Emptiness, leisure time becomes dead life time,
- Depression, indifferent, hopeless, apathetic, life loses meaning
- Burnout syndrome, suicidal thoughts become the release mechanism
These phases have become the standard for gauging how far into the burnout process someone is. It has been handout, preached, and reproached since its inception. Due partially to the readers’ ability to identify with the stages and fear of stress’ effects on them.
So my dear co-workers and management…. it is up to you to keep your workplace healthy. BE AWARE.