The hallmarks of job related burnout have been well described – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment. To be burned out means to be completely miserable in your work. People who suffer from burnout dread Mondays, they long for the weekends or for more time off and hate what they do throughout the workday which never seems to end.
So many people can identify with those feelings. What about the opposite of burnout? What one word describes the opposite of burnout and how is that defined? What does the opposite of burnout feel like?
If you will recall from previous posts, the burnout syndrome is three dimensional with the salient keyword features of exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy. So, what exactly is the opposite of burnout? In a word, the positive antithesis of burnout is engagement.
To be engaged is to be completely present in your work. In fact, work is no longer viewed as work when one is fully engaged. No longer considered labor, work becomes a wellspring of joy and pleasure through intentional and purposeful effort to produce a product or service using one’s unique natural talents and abilities.
Creativity and innovation are unbridled in the engaged individual. Ideas, optimism, and positive thoughts flow from a person who is fully engaged like water from a natural spring.
An onlooker would be hard pressed to tell if a fully engaged individual is actually working or playing. That’s because a fully engaged individual does not work. They are simply expressing who they are by what they do. They are demonstrating to the world their passion and purpose.
An expert may work and say, “Look at what I can do.” Someone who is burned out will work and say, “Look what I have to do.” Someone who is engaged and has found their purpose in life and is pursuing it with passion will shout, “Look at what I get to do!”
Engagement has the salient features of energy, involvement and efficacy, the exact opposites of exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy, the hallmarks of burnout. Engagement describes a positive job-related state of mind characterized by:
- VIGOR – reflects high energy, mental resilience, a willingness invest effort in one’s work and persistence in the face of difficulties. Keyword: Energy
- DEDICATION – a strong involvement in one’s work with a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, challenge and achievement. Keyword: Involvement
- ABSORPTION – happily engrossed and so concentrated in one’s work, time passes quickly to a point where one has difficulty separating and detaching from work. Keyword: Efficacy
Wow! How would you like to feel this way about your work? Do you? If you do, you are already fully engaged. If not, well, maybe the time has come for some introspection.
There are many things a person or an organization can do to alleviate the effects of job related burnout and I will be posting about those soon. In the meantime, if you feel you are burned out and don’t know what to do, just click the CONTACT button below and let’s discuss your current situation.