Financial professionals are all too familiar with the stressors of day to day work. 

Sometimes even the most resilient of professionals can fall victim to work-related burnout.

Some of the most common causes of burnout in the finance professional field:

  • Lack of work/life balance
  • Long hours at work
  • Extended hours away from home and family
  • Extensive travel
  • Conflict in values with company
  • Lack of adequate financial compensation 
  • Workload 
  • Excessive responsibility/pressure to perform

There is significant expectations for financial professionals to perform their jobs with accuracy, timeliness and decisiveness. 

Other professions may have a bit of wiggle room in terms of their performance on any given day, but those in finance must be on-point with major decisions that can impact the financial lives of thousands of people on a daily basis.

This kind of pressure can lead to burnout and work-related fatigue. 

Signs of Burnout in the Financial Sector

Burnout can be insidious and persistent. There are often key indicators that people notice when they are experiencing burnout. Keep in mind that others may notice these signs before you do.

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Decision making fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of apathy and detachment
  • Cynicism
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Frustration and anger
  • Increase in illness

Higher levels of stress spike excessive cortisol levels in the brain, which set off a chain reaction within the body and mind which can be detrimental at prolonged levels. 

Such prolonged cortisol spikes can lead to high blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, increased abdominal fat, decreased bone density and suppression of immune function. 

As the stress increasingly impacts the mind and body, it is more likely that people experiencing burnout will miss work due to health problems and experience emotional distress that impacts quality of life. 

Determining Individual Causes for Burnout

It can be discouraging to realize one is experiencing burnout in a profession. Often people feel as though they should “push through” the experience and hope it passes, but this type of logic can end up causing more harm than good. Burnout is the mind and body’s way of expressing a need. 

It is important to listen to the underlying causes of one’s burnout so that it can be addressed, and quality of life can improve.

Assess your underlying sources of stress and make a plan of action for reducing the impact of burnout.

  • What are the top five aspects of my work life that stress me out?
  • Can I delegate any tasks to others?
  • What areas of my life need more attention right now, outside of work?
  • Where do I carry my stress and anxiety in my body?
  • What do I need to feel healthy, well and calm?

It can be challenging to pinpoint a specific cause for burnout, but it is important to try to narrow down the sources of distress in order to make impactful choices and declutter the stress of your work life. 

Often financial professionals feel as though they are married to their work. 

This lack of boundary between one’s own time and time given to the company can end up depleting one’s emotional resources quickly. Setting healthy boundaries for one’s work life is crucial in combating burnout for financial professionals. 

October we will have an article on Preventing and Managing Burnout in the Financial Sector.


  • Dr. Teyhou Smyth

    Performance Coach, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Keynote Speaker, Licensed Therapist (#115137)

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