In the honeymoon phase of a new job, employees often approach their roles, tasks and projects with optimism, enthusiasm and creativity.
For some, that positive energy is sustained throughout their career, but for many, the effects of work-related stress over time give way to a gloomier outlook.
At its root, career burnout is a stress management issue caused by prolonged stress that can lead to emotional or physical distress.
A 2018 Gallup study revealed that nearly two-thirds of surveyed workers have experienced burnout on the job.
Forbes Magazine reported that 60% of absenteeism can be attributed to burnout, which translates to $150 billion to $300 billion in annual loss for U.S. businesses.
Burnout is commonly associated with high-stress careers in healthcare, public safety and education, but it can also stem from other sources of job dissatisfaction such as perceptions of career stagnation, monotonous or repetitive tasks, lack of professional growth or opportunities for advancement.
The City of Houston Employee Assistance Program reports that burnout and stress management are among the top three reasons why employees seek EAP services.
“When people experience a lot of stress, they often feel powerless to alleviate the source of their stress,”
Senior EAP Counselor Telecia Rittiman said. “If you don’t address those issues, your stress will only compound and start to effect other aspects of your life including relationships and your health.”
Rittiman and fellow Senior EAP Counselor Calvin Tran encourage employees to explore various stress management techniques, but don’t wait until the breaking point to seek counseling services.
“If you are feeling stressed, come talk with us before that stress progresses to anxiety, or leads to burnout.
Counseling shouldn’t be your last resort. Take advantage of the six free counseling sessions available to all employees,” Tran said.
“Think about how you take care of your car. When your check engine light comes on, you don’t ignore it and wait until your car breaks down to take it to a mechanic.
You take your car in for regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly, and if your check engine light comes on, you heed the warning,” he said.
EAP Senior Counselor Annetta Vaughn said EAP can help to identify the sources of stress or tension and the role you play in it.
“Sometimes it’s something as simple as not setting good boundaries or having good self-care,” Vaughn said.
“Self-care is more than just reading a book or a spa session. It’s about developing awareness of what restores you or brings you joy.
Think of your body like a cake. What ingredients do you need to make your body and your spirit rise above the stressors that drag you down.”