Did you know that burn-out is classified as an “occupational phenomenon” in the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization (WHO)?  It’s in a section describing factors that influence a person’s health without being an illness or injury.  

Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.

It’s a syndrome (associated symptoms of opinions, emotions, and behavior) essentially brought to fruition from the unsuccessful management of chronic workplace stress.  It is characterized by three dimensions:

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  3. Reduced professional efficacy

Now, I’ve been saying I feel burnt-out for quite a while now.  But even through all the crap, I’ve still been wondering, “Is it all just in my head? It’s not really all. that. bad, is it?” So in true Lacy fashion, I looked for a way to justify my feelings.  Since burn-out is diagnosable, there’s got to be a measurement tool to verify, right?

There are actually several different assessments you can take. Here is an example of one. I can’t find the one that I used, but here are my results:

  • Emotional strain = 30
  • Interpersonal strain = 31
  • Task strain = 30

Scores higher than 25 in each indicate a high degree of strain.  If you add each score, anything higher than 75 indicates that “you may be feeling intense strain or burnout.”  You guys. 😳 My total score is 91.  Yeah, you can say I’m feeling intense strain.

I have been having a hard time keeping it together. And now, it’s starting to show up in my attitude and behavior. And only now that it’s becoming visible does it seem anyone is taking notice. Remember when I said everyone has an innate desire to feel seen and heard? Yeah, true story. 🙄

My leadership and emotional capacity have been exhausted over the past several months. It pains me burn-out is even showing up in my attitude and behavior, because great leaders are supposed to have it all together. But at what point is it okay for me to not be okay?

Don’t freak out by that statement. I’m fine. My point is: why does it have to get this far? Burn-out doesn’t just happen over night; it happens over time.

As an employee, resources are not readily available for me to access. I have certain parameters I must work within. Open communication with my boss is critical, then it becomes a test of his leadership.

But I’m not putting this all on him. Aside from the uncontrollables that have contributed to the unsuccessful management of this chronic stress, the rest is my own fault. Either I poorly managed my time, I didn’t prioritize effectively, I wasn’t working efficiently, or I wasn’t assertive enough in expressing, “I’m drowning in work.” Perhaps it’s a combination of some or all of these things.

While I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, I do have a perfectionist mentality – another contributing factor. 😬 But on the bright side, some deadlines are coming to a close this week. And if that’s not enough of a silver lining, the season slows down in about 3 months. So, you know, that will be here before I know it. 🤣👩🏻‍🌾

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