Sustain issue #8 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)
What’s become clear since the pandemic started is that burnout from work doesn’t just come from work.
Life, social issues, and global conflict carry over no matter how much we’re told to leave it at the door.
Which is is why some recent headlines I’ve seen about burnout don’t tell the complete story, like this one in The Atlantic:
Only your boss can prevent burnout
People refer to various forms of malaise as “burnout,” but it’s technically a work problem. And only your employer can solve it.
While I agree that organizations and managers play a massive role in creating a workplace without burnout, it’s not right to say we mere mortals are completely helpless.
In reality, there are three distinct groups responsible for creating work that’s burnout free:
- The organization - Through focus on policy and culture that supports employee well-being
- The manager - Through proper localized support and work prioritization
- The individual - Through enacting strong boundaries around work and creating restorative time outside work
Since most organizations are doing next to nothing of substance (yet) to programmatically prevent burnout (no, a zoom yoga session during a mindfulness week doesn’t count), are we supposed to shrug and just succumb to burnout as a foregone conclusion of working?
This is very similar to the conversation that’s happening around social media platforms. While regulators and the social media companies themselves have hugely important roles to play in the ethical and addictive issues around social media, we as individuals are not powerless to take back control of our time.
We can control our privacy settings. We can turn off notifications. We can remove social media apps from our phone.
Similarly, with burnout, you can call out when you’re overcommitted. You can set a time to log in and out each day, and then stick to it. You can carve out time to do daily activities that refill your tank and help clear your mind.
We don’t have to accept withering away while we wait for our organizations and/or our manager to have the perfect policy and programs. We as individuals hold power to avoid burnout.
At a sustainable pace,
Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?
Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.
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