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Popularising burnout

Herbert J. Freudenberger, having experienced the state of burnout himself, wrote an essay on "staff burnout". He extended the idea to staff of all sorts, including attorneys, child-care workers, medical professionals and parents. He found burnouts everywhere and popularised the idea in interviews and self-help books.

Now, burnout wasn't what happened to you when you had nothing - it was what happened to you when you wanted it all. It made the term a yuppy problem, a badge of success.

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MORE IDEAS ON THIS

The term 'burnout' borrowed from drug users

Herbert J. Freudenberger, the psychologist who defined burnout, became involved in the 'free clinic' movement in the late 1960s. It was a community-based clinic that served alienated populations in the US, including hippies and drug abusers.

Volunteer staff helped with drug abuse treatment...

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Burnout as an occupational phenomenon

Burnout as an occupational phenomenon

To suffer from burnout is to be used up, like a spent battery that can't be recharged. Defining symptoms are exhaustion, cynicism, and loss of productivity.

The World Health Organization recognized burnout as an occupational phenomenon in 2019 but it is

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The world is suffering from burnout

The diagnosis suffers from two confusions:

  1. If everyone suffers from burnout, it's meaningless and just part of life.
  2. If burnout is a recent problem, then the question is what caused it?

The term 'burnout' g...

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Possible reasons for burnout

  • Declining church attendance could be one reason with less than half of the population attending church. Wellness, mindfulness, and meditation are secularised versions of prayer, Sabbath-keeping, and worship. However, many Christians also suffer from burnout.
  • Another is overwork, bu...

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Burnout is a modern problem

For philosopher Byung-Chul Han, burnout is depression and exhaustion - it is a sickness that plagues a society bent on excessive positivity and achievement to the point of self-destruction.

Burnout keeps on spreading. With the emergence of the internet, people start speaki...

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Burnout sceptics

The press picked up on burnout and filled pages of newspapers and magazines with new categories of burned-out workers, from lists of symptoms to quizzes. Everyone suffered.

The sceptics fired back. "The new IN thing is 'burnout,'" a Time columnist wrote. "If you don't come do...

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"What is called genius is the abundance of life and health." - Thoreau

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The term 'burnout' borrowed from drug users

Herbert J. Freudenberger, the psychologist who defined burnout, became involved in the 'free clinic' movement in the late 1960s. It was a community-based clinic that served alienated populations in the US, including hippies and drug abusers.

Volunteer staff helped with drug abuse treatment...

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