Quésaco: “burn-on”, this other form of burn-out

Home Quésaco: “burn-on”, this other form of burn-out
Written by Doug Hampton

(ETX Daily Up) – Burnout is now a well-known phenomenon among managers and HR managers. Burn-on is much more confidential and invisible. However, its consequences on the well-being of employees are just as serious and deleterious. Explanations.

“Burn-on” describes the mechanism by which an employee continues to kill himself even though he is emotionally and physically exhausted. He brilliantly accomplishes all the missions entrusted to him, goes through meetings, responds to all emails and Slack notifications, works during his (rare) holidays and stays in the office until late… even if he is on the edge of the implosion. Indeed, people in “burn-on” shine by their productivity and their professional involvement, which often gives the impression that they are fulfilled.

But the reality is quite different. Extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, fear of disappointing colleagues and superiors, inability to separate professional and private lives… The symptoms of “burn-on” are multiple, which makes them difficult to detect. However, they are similar to those of depression, according to Dr. Bert te Wildt. “[Le burn-on] can also be described as a hidden depression. The people concerned are always on the verge of breaking up, but they continue and cultivate, behind a smile, another type of exhaustion and depression”, explains this psychotherapist, co-author of the book “Burn-on: Always on the Brink of Burnout” with Timo Schiele, to the South Morning China Post.

Take a step back to work better

The “burn-on” can lead to burn-out since those who suffer from it underestimate their discomfort. They minimize their fatigue and emotional fragility, or attribute it to factors other than work. But the “burn-on” does not evolve systematically into burn-out: some people are victims of it for years without it preventing them from going to the office every day. This explains why this phenomenon is still poorly understood by public authorities and businesses.

If the effects of “burn-on” are more pernicious than those of burn-out, prevention is essential in both cases. People who are part of our close ecosystem are usually the first to notice a decline in physical and mental health. It is important to take the time to listen to them and, if necessary, to make an appointment with a doctor to see if psychological support is necessary. Taking time for yourself is essential to guard against “burn-on” by reassessing the place occupied by our careers. But it’s not easy: work is a determining part of our identity, which explains why we automatically talk about our profession when a stranger asks us what we do for a living. Many remain deeply attached to it, even if they no longer thrive there. However, working does not mean exhausting oneself. That’s why it’s important to rethink your priorities and learn to say “no”, as Bert te Wildt explained to the South Morning China Post. “You have to ask yourself what you are ready to give, to do, and what clearly exceeds your limits, then set a clear limit”.

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