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Why There’s No Shame in Your Job Burnout

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I used to be ashamed of my job burnout.hought it meant I was weak and a failure.

I never heard anyone else talking about it at the office, and it seemed like I was alone in the land of fried and fizzled careers.

Even after I turned my career around, I didn’t like sharing my job burnout history.

Then one day I decided to share it with a group I was speaking to.

My vulnerability seemed to really connect with the crowd, and I gave the most heart felt talk I’d ever given.

Afterwards people came up to me and shared their own stories.

That’s when I really knew that I wasn’t alone and had nothing to be ashamed of.

If fact, it was my openness about job burnout that helped me advance my career, start helping others, and even start this very blog you’re reading today.

When you’re experiencing job burnout, you can take comfort that there’s no shame in it.

And here are three reasons why…Z

#1. Job Burnout is More Common than You Think

The first thing you’ll notice when you start using the term “burnout” at work, is that almost everyone understands it.

It’s become a universal “unspoken word” in Corporate.

It’s the word on the tip of so many employees’ lips, and yet most never discuss it.

You’ll also find that your coworkers are more comfortable talking about job burnout in the past tense.

When I bring up how I help people with burnout, I find them frequently responding with “Where were you 10 years ago when I needed you?”.

At first I thought they meant that were no longer burned out, but when I dug deeper it often meant that they’d just given up and resigned to the fact they were burned out.

They’d just given into the fact that they were destined to be burned out and that’s just the way things are. 

Sad but true.

Recently I found this idea supported when I read the Leadership Dojo by Strozzi-Heckler and ran across some amazing statistics.

  • One in three Americans seriously thought about quitting work in 2000 because of job stress, and one in three expects to burnout on the job. (This was in 2000, just imagine how much higher this number is today)
  • More than forty-two independent Gallop studies indicate that 75 percent of employees in most companies are not engaged…and disengaged employees cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”  (Follow This Path, Coffman and Gonzalez-Molina)
  • The American Heart Association says one-third of the American workforce now has high blood pressure
  • More than one million per day are absent from work due to stress-related disorders
  • Employee stress cost business $300 billion per year in absenteeism, loss of talented employees, health costs, and programs to reduce stress.

Also if you search on the numbers, you can find a long list of statistics.

Here’s one that blew me away:

When you’re burned out, you’re not alone…

#2. Job Burnout Makes You More Valuable

Surviving job burnout is more valuable than any MBA, Doctorate, or corporate leadership program.

You gain significant wisdom, perspective, and self-awareness that you just can’t experience from sitting in a lecture or practicing group projects.

It’s something that you can only gain in the corporate workplace; where so many people (maybe even you) keep pressing through their workday no matter how difficult the work circumstances become…maybe it’s for the paycheck or simply because don’t have a back-up plan.

The most valuable thing about burnout is that you’ll able to spot the burnout symptoms early on in others and actually help.

Your office  urgently needs you to help your co-workers.

They may think their alone in their burnout, just sleep working through their day.

You can make a difference by engaging them in a “non-traditional” corporate conversation.

Ask them about their families, their career dreams, and why they’re working in the first place.

Otherwise you’ll eventually end up with an entire office filled with burned out workers, hosting burned out happy hours with lots of burnout griping.

And that is not a healthy work environment for anyone to work in much less for a thriving business.

#3. Job Burnout is a Badge of Honor

Burnout in Corporate is the new rite of passage for high impact professionals.

I really admire leaders that work hard and have enough perspective to realize that it’s not about working harder, it’s really about working smarter.

However it seems like it’s difficult to digest this lesson until you actually experience burnout yourself.

Wouldn’t it be powerful if there was a spot on your job application to put exactly where and when you burned out for the first time?

By identifying the moment you burned out, it would actually make you stop, think, and reflect.

You’d notice the growth and learning; and then experience work in a much more meaningful way.

What if that’s the very moment that you’d discuss with others as the turning point in your career?

Job Burnout Leads to Bigger Things in Your Career

Ultimately, there’s no shame in job burnout because it leads to bigger and better things in your career that you just can’t achieve otherwise

It’s where new possibilities really open up and magnify the best of your work experiences.

It forces you to reflect and get clear on what you really want from your career.

It also causes you to dig deep to consider why your working in the first place.

It becomes your motivation for taking action.

To Reigniting your Career!


Ben Fanning is a burnout specialist that helps frustrated professionals and teams rekindle their passion for the job and get to the next level in their careers. He burned himself out working in several Fortune 500 companies, and now’s leading the movement against career burnout. He's reignited his own career, and you can now apply his wisdom to your own by clickinghere.


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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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