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									New Mexico State University                                                           New Employee Coaching
Cooperative Extension Service                                                             Job Burnout
                                                                                                   Tip Sheet XXX

                                                       Job Burnout

It may feel strange to be talking about job burnout before you’ve hardly gotten started in
your position. But knowing what it is and how to detect signs of burnout can prevent you
from suffering from the results of burnout, if you are the kind of person who might be
susceptible to it.

“Burnout” is a popularized term for feeling an overwhelming sense of stress. The stress
is usually related to pressures of time, demands of the job and the interactions with
people. Moderate amounts of stress can motivate a person. But continuous and
unending amounts of stress can lead to a kind of human system shutdown leading to
physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. “Burnout is due to stresses of social
contacts and interactions, not just from the typical job stresses. It appears to be a
response to chronic and continuous stress on the job rather than occasional stress or
crisis” (Worden, 1986).

Physical Symptoms of Burnout – weariness and tiredness, sleep problems, muscle
tension and tightness, low energy levels, chronic fatigue, accident proneness, diarrhea,
back pains, loss of appetite, increased illness, or distressed facial expressions.
Emotional Symptoms of Burnout – depression, uncontrollable crying, helplessness,
loneliness, hopelessness, discouragement, entrapment, disenchantment, unfilled need
for recognition or increased dissatisfaction.
Mental Exhaustion Symptoms of Burnout – negative attitude toward oneself or work,
feeling inferior or inadequate, negative attitude, mental fuzziness, lowered self-esteem,
moodiness, or negative attitude toward others.

Coping strategies are a good thing to build into your daily job routine whether you feel a
sense of burnout coming on or not. They may save you from ever having to recover
from burnout. Strategies can include being aware of what causes heightened stress
levels and finding ways to reduce those things that provide excessive stress for you.
Accentuate the positive with people, tasks, and personal time off the job. Change the
methods or ways you are doing your job. Try to streamline tasks, delegate tasks, and
complete critical tasks when your energy level is high. Keep all projects in prospective
and set realistic goals. And, maybe most importantly, get away from the job. Use up
your vacation days, exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and give yourself permission
to get enough sleep.

Maybe one or more of the following activities is right for you: meditate; talk with others
who have suffered through burnout and learn their methods to control it; take on a
sense of humor and make it a point to laugh daily; get more involved in friendships and
activities that do not involve work; manage your personal time; seek professional
counseling; or find some helpful books on the subject and follow their suggestions.
Worden, Phyllis. (1986). Service in Action publication. Colorado State Universtiy Cooperative Extension Service. No. 11.013.

Wendy V. Hamilton, Ed.D., Department Head, Program Development and Accountability
whamilto@nmsu.edu

The reference citation for this Tipsheet is: Hamilton, Wendy V. (2005). Job Burnout. Tipsheet XXX. Las
Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension. Available: pda.nmsu.edu.

								
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