21 Symptoms of Job Burnout Everyone Should Know

If you don't know the symptoms of burnout, you may mistake them for something else.

If you don’t know the symptoms of burnout, you may mistake them for something else.

If you are burned out in your job, in a relationship, or on living, there are warning signs and symptoms everyone should know. If you don’t know the symptoms of burnout, you may mistake them for something else. This can lead to a delay in addressing the underlying issues and needlessly prolong your suffering.

People who are burned out rarely recognize it as such. They may incorrectly ascribe their feelings to being ambivalent, anxious, stressed, depressed, sad or irritable. Although, burnout can lead to all of these mood changes, they are not the underlying cause. They are just symptoms.

Those around someone who is burned out may be left to wonder if the change in their behavior is due to stress, depression, drug use, relationship problems, money problems, or personality/character defects. Again, burnout is not usually suspected as the cause. 

There are three principle hallmarks of burnout as it pertains to work – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment. All three of these or some combination of them are always present in an individual by the time they are burned out at their job.

It’s not the employee who burns themselves out. It is usually the work environment which burns out the employee. This is the case 90% of the time. You can take a dedicated, on fire, energetic, passionate and purpose driven person and place them in the wrong, or toxic, work environment and you will burn them out more times than not.

How can you tell if you are burned out or burning out? The symptoms of job related burnout can include:

  • Feeling more and more time pressured at work.
  • A sense of dread associated with going to work.
  • A sense of relief that the weekend has finally arrived.
  • A lack of recognition or not feeling rewarded for good work.
  • Feeling that job demands are unclear or unreasonable.
  • Either work is no longer challenging or it has become overwhelmingly challenging.
  • Work seems chaotic or too high pressured.
  • A sense there is no time you can take off from work without consequences.
  • Feeling that you have to be too many things for far too many people.
  • Feeling as though you have no help.
  • Feeling as though you no longer make a difference.
  • Difficulty or inability to concentrate.
  • You lack close and supportive relationships in both your work and personal life.
  • Less patience. Less empathy. Less enthusiasm.
  • More irritable. More intolerant. More exhausted. More cynical.
  • Feeling disengaged, unmotivated, uninterested or uninteresting.
  • Feeling as though life is no longer worth living.
  • A feeling you should be doing something else.
  • A feeling you do not fit in your profession or current relationship, or they do not fit you.
  • Feeling as though you have nothing left to give.
  • Continuously questioning yourself, “Is this all there is to life? Is there nothing more?”

Of course, there are other symptoms of burnout but these are the ones most often identified in people suffering from job related burnout.

If you feel you or your organization may be suffering from the effects of job related burnout there is much which can be done to mitigate, alleviate, or eliminate these symptoms simply by identifying and addressing the underlying causes. I will be discussing more about how in future posts.

Do you identify with any of these symptoms of burnout? Do you know any one who may be burning out or burned out?

Call me to discuss at 919-735-0433 (please ask for Fay or Jayme) or for more information —


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4 thoughts on “21 Symptoms of Job Burnout Everyone Should Know

    • Hi Dana.

      I have been precisely where you are right now, burned out and at a complete loss for what to do. For me, it was in 2009 when I realized some things had to change or I was going to have to leave the practice of medicine. It took me a little while to figure out what to do to break out of being stuck. I made some changes which made all the difference. I learned quite a bit along the way. I can tell you this with certainty, with intention I know the way you are feeling right now is not the way you are going to feel forever. There is much which can be done to restore balance in your life and rekindle your passion for purposeful living. You have already taken the first step, acknowledging the problem. I would suggest at least reading on the subject of job related burnout. There is a lot of information here on my website within my blog posts along with some free tools available for download. I just put up the the first 4 of 5 videos on Job Related Burnout on my YouTube Channel under Clark Gaither. They will also be posted here on my website sometime this week under the Corporate Training tab. There is a wealth of information on job burnout available on the internet. You might also think about a personal life or transition coach which is a proven way to gain some clarity, guidance and accountability if you are motivated to change. I provide coaching services and there is information about that under the Coaching tab at clarkgaither.com. If you need further information or immediate assistance, please get back in touch with me. I am going to be sending you a private message too which I hope will inspire you to take action. I hope you find this helpful Dana.

  1. Everything said here from high turnover to feeling burned out is running rampant through my place of employment. We need help. I work on a locked psychiatric unit of a hospital and more than 75% of the staff are unhappy and the ones who express themselves professionally are told to seek other jobs if we’re that unhappy.

    • Hi Danni.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. This is a huge problem in the healthcare industry. It is the result of many factors which conspire to create toxic work environments. No one set out on purpose to create toxic work environments but this is what has happened. If turn-over rates are high at your institution and everyone you speak with seems dissatisfied then the burnout scores are probably very high among employees. In order for conditions to improve the underlying causes of burnout must be identified and eliminated from the workplace. For this to occur you need to get the attention of the administrators. Some are very unwilling to change the work environment because they assume it will cost them time, money, and productivity. It is just the opposite. Burnout elimination and prevention strategies are income generating. Suggest the book “The Truth About Burnout” by Dr. Christina Maslach to your administrators or guide them to my website where there are free tools and information available for download. If you cannot get the attention of your administrators to get them interested in changing the work environment from one of burnout to one of engagement then you have a tough decision to make. Read this post from my website: http://www.clarkgaither.com/youre-burned-out-at-work-should-you-stay-or-should-you-go/

      I hope this helps!