Professional burnout is a widespread condition among white-collar employees. If you constantly feel worn out, irritated, dissatisfied, and misjudged, you know what burnout feels like. You may even want to quit your job in pursuit of a less demanding occupation. But work burnout arises from a number of issues besides too much work.

Burnout Symptoms

Burnout can manifest both physically and mentally. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of burnout can help you take action before things unravel too far.

Common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Frequent upper respiratory infections
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Cynicism and lack of empathy
  • Feeling bitter or sorry for yourself

Top Causes of Job Burnout

  1. Lack of control. To feel content and qualified at work, people need to have some sense of control over their workflow. If you are being micromanaged or you don’t have all the tools you need for productive quality work, you will quickly develop a sense of lost control. Self-discipline issues often arise when you do not wield enough power over your work or your working environment. Your workflow may become less efficient, and you may lack the motivation to put forth your best effort when your working conditions feel oppressive.

How to deal with burnout associated with lack of control: If you are feeling depressed at your current job, speak to your manager about changing positions or taking on more responsibility. Be willing to master new skills or further develop the skills you already have. If you are unhappy with the way you are treated by your higher-ups, try showing more initiative to shed some light on what is expected of you.

  1. Lack of recognition. Although recognition is often equated with monetary compensation, people also need to be verbally praised and recognized for a job well done. If you are not being adequately rewarded by your employers no matter how hard you work for them, it can undermine your morale and bring on job-related burnout.

How to deal with a lack of recognition: You will most likely feel burnt out if the rewards you are given do not align with your expectations. Communication is key. Let your boss know how you feel, and explain why you deserve more money or more acknowledgment. Another option is to lower your expectations, but that will not resolve your feeling of burnout. If you are truly dissatisfied, look for a better work situation. 

  1. Lack of community. Connecting with a work community leads to streamlined teamwork, fewer conflicts, and positive vibes among the team. A strong sense of community is essential for reducing work stress. When employees encourage and support one another, performance goes up and job dissatisfaction goes down. If you feel isolated and lack community support, you are more likely to let little things get to you, making you feel burned out. 

How to deal with lack of community: If you have not established a sense of community within your working environment, think of ways you can connect and generate positive vibes among your coworkers. Look for ways to eliminate unhealthy competition among your colleagues. If you are self-employed, connect with groups or professional organizations made up of positive people who are also striving for success.

Burnout can have many causes, and overcoming it requires flexible solutions. Once you recognize the signs of burnout, take proactive steps to identify and eliminate the underlying cause. You may be able to improve your current situation, or your burnout may be a sign that it’s time to move on to greener pastures.