Job Burnout (Part 4) – How to prevent / deal with burnout when you do have a choice

This is the fourth and almost final part of the introductory series on Job burnout. I have given some details on what it entails and some of the causes; the effects it has on health and job performance; and how to deal with job burnout when you don’t have a choice.

What I mean by “when you don’t have a choice” is if you’re are one of those who work in very rigid workplaces and need to stay in a job (any job) to make ends meet; or are in a system where Health and Safety is ignored and there’s really nothing much you can do about it- for example in Nigeria where corruption is rife and though there is an unenforced Health and Safety Legislation in place (The Factories Act Cap 126, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990), most people / companies do not bother to implement it. Multinationals, oil and gas companies and a few other companies who appreciates the benefits of a healthy workforce have a health and safety system in place but most follow the regulations of their country which to me is fantastic!

However, my focus in this article is for those who enjoy the benefit of a working Health and Safety system but still suffer from burnout possibly because you choose to be stressed and bombard yourself with too much work, or you just don’t like or enjoy your job despite the fact that you have so much good resources at your disposal. Where there are no major organisational factors that cause burnout how then can you deal with burnout when it has occurred and how do you prevent it in the first place?

This is an individual problem. It is clear that it is the individual employee that needs to be worked on but how? Here are a few tips.

Learn coping skills.

Training sessions and retreats can help individuals cope with the demands of their jobs. Training sessions on work-life balance, healthy living, health promotion, stress management, conflict management and many others can equip you with the skills to cope. However, transferring these skills to your job is not as easy as it may seem. This is because your organisation has policies and procedures regarding work time and where work should occur (which is normal and present in most workplaces). You shouldn’t feel trapped by this. I have heard many people say that ttheir organisation’s policy if organistaion-centred and I tell tell why not?

Have you ever started a business? You don’t want it to go downhill because you decided to rekax and let emoployees dictate to you. Policies and procedures are normal as long as they are not meant to make you the employee commit crimes or kill your self. If you cannot abide by the policies and understand the company’s vision and wok in line with it, then you have no business working there. You will get found out and sacked.

Yes if there is no degree of control over your work, it will be difficult to transfer your newly acquired coping skills but you could deal with this lack of control by learning time management skills, team-building and working as apart of a team, interpersonal and social skills – after work, try hanging out with colleagues and friends before heading home.

When you hang out, drop every topic / conversation relating to work. Talk about your school days, your high school mates, the recent addition to your family, who’s dating who now, that upcoming church concert,….. Talk about everything except work. You will find out that you are smiling all the way home and will have a restful night.

As an individual you could be doing just fine and have done all you can and should but burnout seems to still be lurking around the corner? Maybe your organisation like Caroline’s is a slave driver and doesn’t really care about it employees health as long as profit is being made? or is it possible your employers are just ignorant and need a piece of advice or some indepth help to make their workplace healthful? Help is readily available.

Here’s an article on changing the organisation to help deal with burnout (coming over the next couple of days) which is targeted at employers. If you are serious about making that change and dealing with burnout and need hands-on support, then contact me via email professorike@hsewise.org or use this contact form.

#BeHSEWise