6 INDIVIDUAL BURNOUT DEVELOPMENT OVER TIME

Underneath graph is a 'typical case', not necessarily representing all cases, but is quite insightful.

(c) Jean Philippe Blankert 2014

Input and output are considered one and the same parameter, on the x - axis - questionable, but useul for fort insight.

On the x-acis time is represented.

It is assume the worker is new on the job. Input is very high, initally output is zero, as well as 'output in terms of work being done for the boss' as well as in terms of 'personal reward for the worker'.

The worker learns to pull the robes on the job, and reaches point t=1 in time, where input = output: the job is still fresh and requires a lot of input, but all the required output is there too (output for the boss, and for the worker: output in terms of 'satisfaction' and 'mastery'- 'I mastered the job!').

In the period thereafter, with a variable t=2, the worker noticed that a 'learning curve' exists: more output withe lesser effort. More compliments of work environment because of high output.

Towards point 3 in time, after having had a fairly relaxed period after mastery of the job, the worker gets even more motivated and wants to reach 'high acheavement'. The output increases too, initiall, but then flattens off.

Towards point 4 comes the 'fatal' mistake/ambush/boobytrap: to even INCREASE input/effort whilst output has flattened. Due to 'overwork', and lower quality of concentration, the output for the boss drops.

The worker however, because of high input , increases demands for reward.

Around t=4 the first feedback and criticism comes on the worker's output for the company. The worker is not amused, and frustrated negative comments are coming despite increased input.

Confusion.....the worker decides to make a ;'last effort sprint to the top' (t=5) but performance crashes: our worker needs a whole morning to type a sheet of paper of mediocre quality, for example, and feels exhausted and has the urge to make himself unvisible or unavailable by - for example - sitting on the loo for hours, wondering what to do, being afraid of failing, being afraid of being fired etc.....

Welcome to the state of BURNOUT!

Let us assume the employer is a good one, recognizes burnout and offer the payment of burnout recovery therapy with a burnout specialist.

Inpout and output remain 0, and should, at least for 6 weeks or 3 months.

In the burnout recovery therapy, the BURNOUT development is being ANALYSED.

  • What can the worker remember as very unsatisfactory events and interactions? As 'traumas'? As 'allergies"? As energy-refilling activities? As energy-draining activities/demands/interactions/events/circumstances?
  • What should change in the attitude of the worker?
  • What should change in the work environment including interactions?
  • What should change regarding job content?
    What should change regarding demands and deadlines?
  • What should change regarding (non-financial) reward?
  • What signs can the worker work out, to see the phenomenon of increasing stress next time? Who can he involve in this monitoring for the sake of prevention?
  • What can the worker LEARN, for example in role playse, about....,not being assertive...taking on too much responsibilities...accepting vague job descriptions and vague responsibilities?
  • What can change in the 'degree of control' the worker has about the job?
  • How should the worker re-start working part time? (tip: choose the for the worker most rewarding activities to quickly build up slef-confidence again)

After that, a 'statement of changes' can be written, that may contain requests to the employer.

Burnout usually heals 100%. However, if once burnout is established, time is used to legally defend one owns's position, to proove right, to fight, the burnout gets deeper and may gain some chronic features after wcich some lifelong impairments may develop.