Professional burnout is not just a strong desire to quit your job. It also involves feelings of inferiority and constant irritation. But what are the reasons for these drastic feelings? Is it just a mismatch between your personality and your chosen career, or is your current job or working environment draining you of your joy, and you’d be better off looking for a new career path? This article discusses jobs with the highest and lowest burnout rates and common reasons for burnout.
Reasons for Burnout
Did you know that the World Health Organization (WHO) defined burnout as an official diagnosis? The psychologist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term in 1974, and in less than 50 years (in 2022), it was defined by WHO as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter mention some of the most popular reasons for professional burnout in their Areas of Worklife model. They identify six areas that need attention in order to spot burnout in its early stages.
Your capacity is not endless. If the workload matches your capacity, you will get your work done effectively without too much effort. But if you have more tasks than you can handle, you will lack time for recharging and suffer from a poor work-life balance.
How can you handle your workload well?
Take a look at how you approach planning, how you prioritize tasks, and what opportunities you have to delegate tasks to someone else. There is nothing wrong with sharing your workload with others, and there is no sense in being a perfectionist if it affects your well-being. Some people tend toward people-pleasing and take on more responsibilities than they can handle, hurting themselves in their efforts to be “nice.”
Do you feel micromanaged all the time? Do you constantly run into files you need but lack access to? Dealing with a lack of autonomy puts many employees in a bad spot. The inability to make decisions on your own and having to wait for constant approval is no one’s idea of a good workplace experience.
What should you do if you feel you have little-to-no control in your job?
First, ask yourself what exactly makes you feel this way. Write a list of all the possible reasons. Brainstorm possible ways of making a change. If possible, try to negotiate the situation with your manager or HR to find a mutual solution.
Any job should be rewarding both financially and psychologically. If your effort isn’t appreciated in a manner that speaks to you, you will likely feel the time and effort spent on certain tasks are not worth it. This lack of recognition is likely to affect your performance.
How can you determine what would be rewarding for you?
Think about what might make you feel happier. Is there anything you would like to change about your pay or position? When was your latest performance review? Are there any chances of getting a raise? Are you ready to climb the career ladder, or are you okay with where you are now?
The people around us play a large role in how we feel. Those with awesome teams believe in the magic of the office environment. However, not all offices are alike. Some are in dire need of this team spirit.
How satisfied are you with your work community?
If you feel supported and trusted, those are good signs. If not, you can take steps to make your community better. Be an active listener. Express your appreciation and never judge or criticize. Use “sandwich” feedback if you need to tell someone bad news. Exhibit a good attitude—it can melt the heart of the dourest colleague. Don’t silently suffer from bullying or constant criticism; speak up. Once you’ve done everything you can to improve your work climate, if issues continue, consider changing jobs.
Fairness requires the same working conditions for everyone and being praised for work and success equally.
Are you being treated fairly?
Ensure deadlines are set equally and can be extended equally for everyone. Do you know about each other’s accomplishments? Are you sure your work doesn’t go unnoticed?
Both the company’s and your motivations are equally important. A different vision of how things are supposed to work might lead to conflicts, poor performance, and burnout.
How can you check to see if your values match?
Consider the support you get. Are there enough resources for you to perform well? How do you feel about your motivation? Are there any fears or obstacles that are stopping you from achieving your goals?
Professions with High Burnout Rates
In the past few years, we’ve experienced many different crises, and this has led a significant number of people to reconsider their career choices. Among career switchers, one can easily trace some of the fields most often left for greener pastures:
Like most medical workers, nurses have decent salaries but often suffer from their occupations. Having spent years studying and obtaining licenses, the majority bump into reality as soon as they get their first job. Registered nurses share certain duties with doctors, work crazy shifts, and challenge themselves physically and psychologically due to constant interactions and negotiations. The pandemic added more exposure to disease and staffing shortages, to tell nothing of psychological stress.
Retail employees often face customers’ anger and frustration but can do nothing to help. The more negative interactions they experience, the higher their chances for burnout. Moreover, the pay for retail workers isn’t very high, and once burnout sets in, they usually give up on the job.
Educators also get burned out because of constant negotiation with administrators and parents and poorly managed work hours. Teachers are also tending to do more and more work every year due to shortages in the field, without a corresponding increase in pay. Over a third of new teachers quit their careers within the first four years.
The construction environment has several potential risks of trauma. The constant psychological tension between safety rules and the huge responsibility for the final result weighs heavily on many.
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)
Accounting is a game of numbers with strict rules. While it’s not necessarily as stressful as the other careers listed above, it still brings a lot of headaches, especially during tax season, including a long list of clients and individual situations and tons of deadlines to meet.
This list profiles some of the careers with the highest burnout rates, but of course, anyone is free to switch careers when they feel it’s necessary. A toxic work environment can be found in any profession; the people, communication issues, and workflows also influence burnout. And on the contrary, working with great people can make even the most challenging career fun and rewarding.
Once you’ve decided enough is enough, what are the alternatives? Here is a brief list of the happiest careers you can pursue—jobs with a low chance of you experiencing burnout again.
The average salary in the US: $56,970 per year.
This person looks for candidates that might fit certain vacancies. They might work for a recruiting agency or an organization. They work with social media, job boards, databases, and internal software, all of which help them reach potential candidates. Quite often recruiters do screening calls and initial interviews to narrow down the candidate list before passing it on to an HR department.
Manual Quality Assurance Specialist
The average salary in the US: $63,945 per year.
A Manual Quality Assurance Tester is the first person to try out new products. They test digital and physical products to ensure everything works as it should before hitting the market. They collaborate with teams of engineers, fix existing problems, and brainstorm possible improvements.
The average salary in the US: $117,676 per year.
These specialists are knowledgeable about the latest products and are ready to help their clients find solutions for their pain points. Their in-depth product knowledge helps them offer the best solutions.
This person helps create functional and stylish spaces for private and business clients. Designers also assist in setting budgets and visualizing future designs via specialized software. In addition, they define the scope of work and create drawings for builders.
The average salary in the US: $112,105 per year.
Systems Engineers boost the productivity of teams by optimizing their workflows. They perform data analysis that helps them decide on the changes they need to make to boost the performance of a team or the company as a whole.
Burnout is a complicated issue that doesn’t appear out of the blue. This condition grows over a long period of time and is usually unnoticed until it reaches its peak. It’s vital to track your well-being to make the right decisions before it’s too late.
If you're looking to build a career in one of the happiest professions, consider becoming a Manual Quality Assurance Specialist or Sales Engineer. Both of these roles offer immense job satisfaction, a great work-life balance, and excellent earning potential.
To make a smooth transition into these rewarding careers, turn to Careerist for comprehensive training and support. Careerist offers specialized training programs in Manual Quality Assurance and Sales Engineering, designed to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in these thriving fields.
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