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BURNOUT - 6 Factors and 5 Red Flags should be watch out before accepting Job Offer

"The greatest wealth is health" - Virgil

If you experience continuous overwhelming in your job and this sensation persists regardless of your attempts to ease or redirect your efforts, it may indicate burnout, and it’s always your employer.

BURNOUT - When we should take a break instead of burnout
BURNOUT - When we should take a break instead of burnout

A research study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, Rutgers, and Deakin University identifies six primary factors contributing to workplace burnout:

Six Primary Factors of Burnout

  • Excessive Workload An unreasonable workload is a leading cause of burnout. According to career experts, burnout occurs when the demands of a job exceed what a person can reasonably handle.

  • Poor Responsibilities One major contributor to exhaustion is role conflict. When individuals are unsure of their roles, the direction of their work, or the priorities they should focus on, it leads to a sense of helplessness and burnout.

  • No Recognition and Incentives In this context, financial rewards play a significant role, particularly when they are proportional to the effort put into the job. Also, the presence of recognition from both peers and leadership is crucial in preventing burnout.

  • Zero Community Support Having a supportive network at work, including supervisors and coworkers, is vital in buffering against exhaustion. Studies have shown that employees who have close connections, even having a "best friend" at work, are more likely to be engaged and less prone to burnout.

  • Lack of Fairness In an organization where fairness is absent, people fail to consider each other's perspectives and do not respond adequately to their colleagues' input. A fair work environment is essential to prevent burnout and foster engagement.

  • Misalignment of Values and Capabilities When personal values clash with organizational values, it can lead to disengagement, reduced motivation, and a diminished sense of accomplishment, ultimately contributing to burnout.

Above factors can significantly impact an employee's well-being and job satisfaction, ultimately leading to burnout. Identifying and addressing these issues in the workplace is crucial for promoting a healthier and more productive work environment.

“Rather than being bored to death, our actual challenge is to avoid anxiety attacks, psychotic breakdowns, heart attacks, and strokes resulting from being accelerated to death.” - Geoffrey West

Shockingly, certain bosses and companies might even encourage this unhealthy environment. To help you identify the kind of workplace that could lead to burnout, here are some key red flags to watch out before accepting the job offer:

Five Red Flags of Burnout Workplace

There are some words and phrases in online ads that should be considered flashing warning lights to those trying to avoid potential job burnout:

1. High-performance culture:

Some people thrive in highly demanding jobs, but just about everyone requires a supportive environment to make it work for more than a few months straight.

2. Ability to handle stress and work under pressure:

Any employer that mentions “stress” in a help-wanted ad is probably someone you want to avoid, especially if it’s phrased like “you have to be able to handle a stressful environment.” That indicates that they already know their employees are burning out, and they blame their workers instead of considering it a workplace problem.

3. Looking for a “rock star” or a “ninja”:

Employers who use these kinds of descriptors in their ads are being unclear about the qualifications they’re actually looking for. It reads to me like, “we want someone we can take advantage of.”

4. We’re like a family:

This could indicate a workplace without proper boundaries. My family doesn’t pay me to show up, but they do inspire a different kind of loyalty and commitment than a workplace has a right to expect.

5. An ad that’s been there forever:

If you notice the same position advertised for a long time, it could be indicating a poison pill job that no one wants. Or it could be a “ghost job” that isn’t real anyway.

“Uncertainty, not outcome, is the root of stress.” - Naval Ravikant

Methods to identify toxic work culture during the hiring process.

Toxic employers can be stealthy and may seem to be offering a reasonable position at a normal workplace. However, there are some red flags that you can look out for during the hiring process to help you identify these employers.

  • Check Glassdoor reviews. Glassdoor is a website where employees and ex-employees can leave anonymous reviews of their workplaces. This is a great way to get an honest assessment of a company's culture before you apply for a job there.

  • Pay attention to the communication leading up to your interview. If the employer is unprofessional or rude in their emails, this is a bad sign. It could indicate that they have a toxic work culture.

  • Be clear about what you're looking for in a position. If the employer is vague about the position or who you'll be interviewing with, this could be a sign of disorganization. Disorganized workplaces are often filled with burned-out employees.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you're concerned about the company's culture, ask the interviewer about it. They should be able to give you a clear answer about what it's like to work there.

  • Talk to current and former employees. Glassdoor reviews are a great resource, but they're not the only way to get feedback from employees. If you know anyone who works at the company, ask them about their experience.

If you see any red flags during the hiring process, it's best to walk away.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” - William Shakespeare

How to find out about the workplace culture during the interview

This helpful article from The Harvard Business Review offers some specific questions you could ask, based on each of the six main factors that can cause burnout, but they are similar to the kind of questions you might already have in mind—only more tactfully phrased.

So instead of saying, “You won’t make me work a lot of extra hours without extra pay, right?” you can ask,

  • What are the usual work hours?

  • How often do people work on weekends?

If the answers to these questions seem too vague, don’t hesitate to ask for concrete examples.

Even if a question makes you uneasy—like,

  • “How do you deal with mistakes on your team?”—it’s worth asking.

Pay close attention to the answers, looking for signs of vagueness, irritation, or dishonesty.

If you ask clear and direct questions—such as

  • How does the team communicate when they have too much work to do?

you shouldn’t be throwing anything at them that isn’t easy to answer. But if you do stumble upon something your interviewer is unprepared for, expect a courteous, “I’ll find out and get back to you.” And then make sure they actually follow up with a satisfactory answer."

“Many people in our civilization are hyperactive ... They are in a hurry with everything. That's the stress disease of our civilization and a form of madness. That has to be relinquished because it's an insane way to live ... Reducing the hyperactive mind—slowing that down—is of the essence and the most important part.” - Eckhart Tolle


Remember: No job is perfect, and you can still experience burnout even if you have a great job and work in a supportive environment.

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