The job burnout rate has grown in alarming numbers among men and women, although women are more prone than men. Several studies suggest that the incidences of burnout among women are greater because of differences in job conditions. The most sobering study was conducted in 2018 by Montreal University researchers, who followed 2,026 workers for four years, detailing their emotional exhaustion, cynicism and professional effectiveness. The results, published in Annals of Work Exposures and Health, revealed that women were more vulnerable to burnout than men because women tended to have less authority and were less likely to call the shots which can lead to increased frustration and stress and diminished well-being.

Skye Learning’s 2019 second annual Work Confidence study found that nearly 75% of workers experience burnout. The top-cited reasons: 38% report a lack of time for their personal lives, 28% cite a lack of opportunity for advancement and 23% report a negative workplace environment. Only 82% of workers say they are confident they’ll still be employed in a year’s time–down from 93% in 2018.

These incidences have become so epidemic that earlier this year the World Health Organization (WHO) classified burnout as an official medical disorder and included it in the International Classification of Diseases, the handbook that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. You know you’ve hit a wall if you have energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from your job or negativism or cynicism related to it and lowered professional effectiveness.

New Study Says Workers Plan To Change Jobs Due To Burnout

A study released this month by Mavenlink, the leading provider of cloud-based software for the modern services organization, found that burnout and pay are the top threats to retention. Atomik Research, who conducted the survey of 1002 full-time employees during September of 2019, found that 46% of workers across generations plan to change jobs in the upcoming year for better pay. Nearly one third of 18- to 24-year-olds plan to change jobs due to burnout and lack of flexibility. Employees under the age of 44 said they wish they had better management or more flexibility. Older generations believe they would be more productive with more efficient, targeted, structured meetings or fewer meetings. And 62% among all age groups agreed that a work-life balance was the most important element of a successful culture.

When Burnout Hits Home

They say we teach what we need to learn, and that’s certainly true when it comes to burnout. If you suffer or have suffered from burnout, you’re not alone. Despite that women experience burnout more than men, no one is immune. I’ve been there, too. Emotionally exhausted and slumped in my seat, I could barely lift my hand to wave the flight attendant away when she asked if I needed anything. I had lost so much weight I looked like a refugee from Dachau, so exhausted that nothing mattered. I was on my way to sunny Jamaica to escape he pain of around-the-clock work and subsequent burnout.

Some of the most accomplished women in our country, all of whom have sought to prevent others from plummeting into the same chronic stress as they did, have spoken openly about their struggles with burnout and burnout prevention awareness. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and CEO of Thrive Global, has dedicated her professional career to burnout prevention after her own burnout caused her to collapse from sleep deprivation and exhaustion, breaking her cheekbone. Political activist Gloria Steinem has spoken openly about her own burnout. And Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette talks her many versions of burnout.

A Final Word About Burnout

Burnout is nothing to hide or be ashamed about. It’s a topic to be aware of and talk openly about so you know the signs and can prevent it. You’re not alone. And studies such as the one released from Mavenlink continue to reveal that a huge portion of the workforce is suffering from this medical condition. Burnout is more serious than job stress. You can’t cure it by taking an extended vacation, slowing down or working fewer hours. Once it takes hold, you’re out of gas, more than mere fatigue. The solution is prevention: good self-care and work-life balance to stop burnout in its tracks before it hits home in the first place. For more information on burnout prevention and treatment, go to HelpGuide’s website.


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Founder and CAO of ComfortZones Digital and Author of 40 books.

    ComfortZones Digital

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is Founder and Chief Architect Officer (CAO) of ComfortZones Digital--the digital companion to mitigate workplace stress. He is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself."