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Burnout 2: Overbooked, Overworked, Overwhelmed?

Do these words describe your work life?


If the answer is 'yes,' you might be experiencing burnout.

  • Burnout, according to the World Health Organization, is

    • 1) a syndrome

    • 2) resulting from chronic workplace stress

    • 3) that has not been successfully managed

In the previous post, I addressed the 1st part of the World Health Organization's definition of burnout, the syndrome. These are the signs and symptoms of burnout. Check it out [HERE].

Let's dissect 2nd part of the definition, the root of chronic workplace stress.


Chronic workplace stress is simply the ever present stress connected to our work tasks and responsibilities. This kind of stress is much like the cloud of dirt that hovered over the Peanuts character, Pig Pen. No matter where he went, his dirt cloud followed.

Where is that stress coming from? Workplace stress can derive from two factors: internal factors and external factors. We are going to focus on external organizational factors today.


The Areas of Worklife Survey (AWS) describes six areas of the workplace (external organizational factors) that contribute to work-related stress, which can lead to burnout.

  1. Workload: The unmanageable or unreasonable amount of work that needs to be completed at any given time

  2. Control: The inability to make choices or decisions about your job responsibilities

  3. Reward: The lack of financial and social recognition for your job contribution

  4. Community: An unsupportive and negative work culture

  5. Fairness: The Unjust or inequitable treatment of employees

  6. Values: A mismatch between your values and the company's values

How many of these can you relate to?


The more you are aware of the extent of your external factors, the easier it will be to manage the stressor. Pay attention to your stressors and stay tuned for the final dissection of the burnout definition at the next post!


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