Mastodon

Quantifying Burnout

The problem with burnout is that we don’t know how to recognize it. This post helps with quantifying the symptoms and seeing where you land.

Quantifying Burnout

The definition of burnout is physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by chronic, unmanaged stress. It’s when you feel exhausted all the time, dislike your job, have reduced motivation and creativity, and start to feel less capable in your role. — Ashley Janssen

The problem with burnout is that we don’t know how to recognize it. Christina Maslach, a US social psychologist came up with this simple scorecard called the Maslach Burnout Inventory to assess how burned out you might actually be. We should all probably, periodically, take a look.

The questions also serve as symptoms and signs of occupational burnout.

The scoring is based on the frequency of feeling the specific statements are true in your case, starting from “never” to “every day”.


Occupational exhaustion (EE)

ℹ️
0 = Never
1 = At least a few times a year
2 = At least once a month
3 = Several times a month
4 = Once a week
5 = Several times a week
6 = Every day
  • I feel emotionally exhausted because of my work
  • I feel worn out at the end of a working day
  • I feel tired as soon as I get up in the morning and see a new working day stretched out in front of me
  • Working with people the whole day is stressful for me
  • I feel burned out because of my work
  • I feel frustrated by my work
  • I get the feeling that I work too hard
  • Being in direct contact with people at work is too stressful
  • I feel as if I’m at my wits‘ end

Add together your scores for the questions and see where you land:

EE < 17 – Low Degree
EE 18 – 29 – Moderate Degree
EE > 30 – High Degree

Depersonalization/loss of empathy (DP)

ℹ️
0 = Never
1 = At least a few times a year
2 = At least once a month
3 = Several times a month
4 = Once a week
5 = Several times a week
6 = Every day
  • I get the feeling that I treat some clients/colleagues impersonally as if they were
  • objects
  • I have become more callous to people since I have started doing this job
  • I’m afraid that my work makes me emotionally harder
  • I’m not really interested in what is going on with many of my colleagues
  • I have the feeling that my colleagues blame me for some of their problems

Add together your scores for the questions and see where you land:

DP < 5 – Low Degree
DP 6 – 11 – Moderate Degree
DP > 12 – High Degree

Personal accomplishment assessment (PA)

ℹ️
0 = Never
1 = At least a few times a year
2 = At least once a month
3 = Several times a month
4 = Once a week
5 = Several times a week
6 = Every day
  • I can easily understand the actions of my colleagues/supervisors
  • I deal with other people’s problems successfully
  • I feel that I influence other people positively through my work
  • I feel full of energy
  • I find it easy to build a relaxed atmosphere in my working environment
  • I feel stimulated when I am working closely with my colleagues
  • I have achieved many rewarding objectives in my work
  • In my work, I am very relaxed when dealing with emotional problems

Add together your scores for the questions and see where you land. Watch out – this time higher scores are better!

PA < 33 – Low Degree
PA 34 – 39 – Moderate Degree
PA > 40 – High Degree

The degree of burnout


Evaluation

You are moderately burnt out or have a high risk of it if the totals of your EE and DP answers are both in the red area, and above all if your personal accomplishment assessment is also in the red.


(EE) Occupational exhaustion (burnout) is typically connected to a relationship with work that is perceived as difficult, tiring, and stressful. Maslach sees this as different from depression, as it is likely that the symptoms of burnout would be reduced during holidays.

(DP) Depersonalization or loss of empathy is characterized by a loss of regard for others (customers, clients, or colleagues), and by keeping a greater emotional distance, which is expressed through cynical, derogatory remarks, and even callousness.

(PA) The personal accomplishment assessment is a feeling that acts as a “safety valve” and contributes to bringing about a balance if occupational exhaustion and depersonalization occur. It ensures fulfillment in the workplace and a positive view of professional achievements.

If you'd like to get some tips on how to cope with burnout, this article is great!

Another good one, giving advice about nonwork environments.