The World Health Organization (WHO) has redefined burn-out in the new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11). Burn-out is a syndrome tied to “chronic workplace stress that has not been managed.” Burn-out is not classified as a medical condition but considers it an “occupational phenomenon” that can influence an individual’s health. The Harvard Business review reported that the problems of employees with burn-out cost up to $190 Billion a year in the US. What does this mean for a new professional, and how can it be avoided or managed?

WHO characterizes burn-out by the following: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, feelings of negativity or cynicism related to one’s job, reduced professional efficacy. It specifies that these feelings and behaviors relate specifically to the workplace and should not be applied to other aspects of life. Burn-out can result from multiple things: unclear job expectations, workplace dynamics, lack of control over things such as schedule or workload, monotony or high demand at work, feelings of isolation, poor work life balance. Many of these factors are not within the employee’s control, but there are things that a person can do to alleviate some work-related stress.

How can a person help avoid or reverse workplace burnout? First you should identify your strengths and weaknesses. Identify your passions, the things that make you excited about audiology; look at new projects that are engaging and interesting to break the rut.  Identify weaknesses that are holding you back from succeeding; would additional training or learning about new subject areas improve your daily workload.  Next, talk with your supervisor or manager; communicate your needs and discuss ways top relieve workplace stress. Develop partnerships with your coworkers; having someone to talk to about workplace stress is good for your mental health. Additionally, keeping good health habits can affect your daily attitude and mental health; make sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.  Finally, if you have done all of these things, and are still feeling burnout, consider a change; sometimes a workplace is just not a good fit.

Other Resources on Workplace Burnout: