The absolute best book I have ever read and studied on burnout is 35 years old this year. Christina Maslach, an exceptional psychologist, wrote Burnout – The Cost of Caring. Below is a picture of my book with a well worn cover and a lot of underlining and notes on the inside.
It personally helped me when I burnt out as a youth care worker 35 years ago and, 35 years later, helped me this year when I was feeling cynical, exhausted, and lacking self-efficacy in my work on employee engagement and wellbeing.
Often in pursuit of the latest resource we forget a resource from years ago that can be so helpful to us. I call this resource myopia — the resource is there but we just fail to see it, think about it,or remember the lessons that we already know but forgot for one reason or another.
The book was designed specifically for anyone in the helping professions, but in the subtitle Maslach said it is for, “anyone who cares about people.” As I read that phrase I hope that is all of us and especially everyone who takes on a role of leader or manager in any organization.
Every manager and leader in every organization around the globe needs to care about people. If they don’t, get out of that role. Yet, recognize that caring can come at the cost of burnout if we don’t know how to read the signs of cynicism, exhaustion, and low self-efficacy. When we read the signs we can take action to prevent burnout or assist in full and robust recovery after burnout.
Here is a snippet from the book:
When I try to describe my experience to someone else, I use the analogy of a teapot. Just like a teapot, I was on the fire, with water boiling – working hard to handle problems and do good. But after several years, the water had boiled away, and yet I was still on the fire – a burned-out teapot in danger of cracking, Carol B. (page 2)
I will not stop caring, it is in my heart, soul, and DNA. My personal experiences with burnout provided me with a very authentic and powerful dimension to my work on wellbeing, employee engagement, management, and leadership. I would not chose it but I would never change it.
If you are looking for a very powerful speech or workshop on work and wellbeing I encourage you to contact me right away to help ensure work makes us well: firstname.lastname@example.org
Engage along with me, the best is yet to be.