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Issue #14: Funk isn't bunk: looking closer at Burnout

“Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.” ~ Garth Brooks'Tis a

Transforming Talent Insights

August 15 · Issue #14 · View online
Feeding the Passion for Transformation: Be it Talent, Culture, Work or HR

“Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.” ~ Garth Brooks
‘Tis a mighty strange day if I am quoting a Garth Brooks song but the lyric drives home the question, are we checked-in or checking out? Are we zesting for life and work? Are we thinking “oh man, that is going to be awesome, I can’t wait to get started”? Are we going through the motions in jobs we thought a few years ago were inspiring? Are we working 12 hour days but still feeling anxious and, at the end of the day, ineffective? Are we hoping to win the lottery to be able to say goodbye to the daily and hello to the swirly? Are we looking for an escape?
Throughout my career, the topic of burnout, exhaustion and being in a funk has come up quite often. While professionally in behavioral sciences there is a lot of debate around what exactly is burnout, depression, anxiety, or exhaustion, slang-wise most understand it along the lines of “being in a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by a prolonged period of stress and frustration.” “No control, lack of freedom, no escape, being swallowed-up by responsibilities, too many coinciding demands, lack of recognition or a never getting a break” - those are the things we as HR often hear.
Many of us have been effected by a team member, friend, colleague, employee needing to step-out to reassess, get help and “reset their engines” (and we are not talking about this type of burnout) and it triggers the discussion: what can we do to help support?
The questions that are often asked are:
  • What can we do to more proactively create an environment where burnout has a lower probability of occurring?
  • How can we recognise the earlier stages - in ourselves or in others - to fend-off a burnout situation?
  • How can we best re-integrate and support a teammate after they have been out on leave?
Let’s look a bit closer…

General Trends, Signs and Stigmas
Employee burnout is on the rise
Dr. Burnout - Episode 10 on Sincerely, X by TED Talks
Workplace Strategies for Mental Health - Burnout Response
Proactively Countering: Understanding Capacity
Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off | TED Talk
Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness | TED Talk
It is personal: What is your Happy Equation?
How Managers Can Prevent Their Teams from Burning Out
Ways to Conquer Burnout That Will Help You Thrive
Happiness & the Gorilla | The Daily | Gartner L2
Question of the Week: What charges your batteries?
The subject of work, stress, frustration, exhaustion, burnout is bigger than a newsletter. This week’s edition is simply meant to give a few resources to think about as we look to ourselves, our friends, our colleagues and teams in creating a work where there is a sense of control, of capacity and connectedness. Little changes can cause big effects.
Therefore, a special shout out to Paula Johnson, co-creator extraordinaire of the “Building our Foundation” program with which, she caused a revolution on the shop floor (using the time on the ribbon of life effectively and meaningfully). Kudos!
Have a great week everyone!
My best regards,
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Elizabeth Lembke, Transforming Talent Consulting: and