By Dick Lyles

How Do You Deal with Workplace Burnout?

September 16, 2007
Column: Our Catholic Faith at Work

Dear Dick: I hear an awful lot about burnout these days. I’m tired a lot and have lost a lot of the enthusiasm I once had for my job. Does this mean I’m burned out? If so, what should I do about it?

—Tired on the Job


Dear Tired:

If you dread the thought of going to work most mornings, find your job excruciatingly boring, get depressed at the beginning of each new work week, or have trouble concentrating on your job while at work, then you’re probably a good candidate for burnout.

More subtle signs might include increased irritability with family and friends, envy for people who seem to enjoy their jobs, dissatisfaction with your co-workers or boss, or cynicism and a persistent negative attitude about the company.

If you have several of these symptoms for an extended period of time, you could be suffering from burnout. Lower levels of enthusiasm for your prayer life and spiritual pursuits are often another symptom.

The first thing to do is to get in touch with the source of your symptoms. Is it your boss? Has something changed about your job situation or work relationships that is draining your energy? Has continued stress or long stretches of repetitive, monotonous work finally taken its toll?

Once you’ve identified the most likely cause, sit down with your boss and ask for problem solving help. There’s a good chance your declining enthusiasm has already been noticed anyway, so it’s better if you raise the issue and ask for help rather than have your boss raise it in a confrontational or disciplinary manner. Don’t be shy about asking for help. As a general rule people are working harder than ever before, and burnout is becoming more common than in the past.

Prayerfully ask God for guidance to help you make the necessary changes before you physically or psychologically pay too hefty a price.
Dick Lyles has authored or co-authored eight books that have been published in more than 36 languages. The latest is entitled ACHIEVE LEADERSHIP GENIUS and will be released by Financial Times/Prentice Hall in June 2007. Updated 2015: He is the CEO of Origin Entertainment

Richard I. “Dick” Lyles is CEO of Origin Entertainment, a Hollywood film production company, to which he brings not only leadership, but also extensive expertise in... MORE »