LinkedIn is fast becoming one of my favorite places to meet like-minded people: like Davida Ginter.
Davida is the founder and CEO of Enkindle Global and a bright, articulate leader in burnout prevention and culture change. Our conversation shifted my thinking on burnout and work culture — and left me smiling and inspired.
What sparked your interest in burnout?
A conversation with a friend from my sustainability and leadership studies. We were talking about our industry, and we wondered: why do so many people in our field suffer from extreme stress? It seems ironic — people who care so much…
Burnout is not just a bad day, or week, or even a challenging month. Burnout is an ongoing state of extreme exhaustion, cynicism, reduced capacity and loss of identity.
Understanding why burnout happens is essential for a healthy future of work, and, well, a healthy future of us: burnout is a massive issue for individuals, organizations and societies.
So, why are so many of us reaching this state of utter, wretched emptiness?
Burnout is caused by chronic workplace stress. In other words:
Chronic = ongoing or relentless
Workplace = related to work
Stress = stress on our psychological, physiological, mental…
I reached out to New Zealand-based leadership expert Suzi McAlpine after we connected through our work on burnout on Twitter. And I’m so glad I did.
Suzi is the author of Beyond Burnout, a book which gives leaders and organizations practical, actionable strategies for shifting culture and ending burnout. She is bright and wise. I loved our conversation — I’m sure you will, too.
How would you describe burnout in simple terms?
Eric is an inspiring example of courage, working to create change and innovation within a very traditional work culture.
During our awesome conversation he shared his story, and his thoughts on what can be done to reshape the legal industry into one where lawyers and clients alike are treated with dignity and kindness.
Tell us a little about your mental health struggles as a young lawyer.
When I graduated from law school, I…
Last week, California congressman Mark Takano introduced proposed legislation to reduce the US national standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours.
Take a moment to let that sink in. A 32-hour workweek.
4 workdays. 3 leisure. No change to your salary.
It’s not law yet, but even the fact that it’s being proposed is huge. It represents a shift in how we conceptualize work. Profound changes to work culture that would have seemed impossible a few year ago are not just becoming feasible — these ideas are entering the mainstream.
To be clear, this is not about working four 10…
Many of us grew up believing emotions were bad.
“Girls shouldn’t be angry.”
“Boys shouldn’t let emotions show.”
“Stop that incessant laughter.”
“Don’t be sad.”
When the message was emotions are bad — when we were punished for our feelings — we didn’t learned the basic truths of emotions and the wisdom they offer.
When we are in chronic workplace stress, burnout is often a matter of when, not if. Here’s why.
Stress of itself is not bad. We need stress to grow and learn.
Chronic stress is different.
When you are subject to ongoing, chronic workplace stress, eventually, you are pretty likely to start experiencing one or more of the four dimensions of burnout:
And once you’re in burnout, you will generally lack the perspective and motivation you need to change things and…
When we are overwhelmed by chronic workplace stress, it can be tempting to quit and head straight into another job.
I totally get this.
When I was in the middle of my burnout, my boss offered to find me an in-house legal role with one of our clients.
Not because I wasn’t tempted (I was).
Not because it didn’t make a lot of sense (it did).
But because I knew, intrinsically, that going straight into another job — a different version of the same one I had been doing when I burnt out — would not make me…
Angela came to me after hitting a wall — she woke up one day and could not lift her head. As a software engineer based in Paris, she had been working 80-hour weeks as long as she could remember. Now, her body had given way.
As she put it in her email, “I hate typing these words, but I need help. Now.”
Over the course of the next few months, we identified the following phases in her burnout, which had played out over years.
>> overworking, high on caffeine, mega-productive, “killing it”
>> exhaustion starting to creep in, less productive…
Right now, mental health issues are at the forefront of popular culture.
This is great: shedding light on these topics forms an important step towards destigmatizing mental health issues such as burnout.
But much more needs to change, to end burnout stigma.
A stigma is a barrier rooted in prejudice, avoidance, rejection, and discrimination due to a lack of understanding.
In burnout, stigma usually plays out in two forms.