How Not To Become A Corporation Slave

In: How to

10 life hacks on how not to become a corporation slave and avoid burnout at work

A leading HR expert Michael Pritula has prepared detailed instruction on how not to become a slave of a work you do not like. So read our post on how not to become a corporation slave and follow our tips.

Michael wrote an article ordered by Microsoft Company, which invited him to hold a discussion club. The burning at work issue seemed the most attractive, and there is no wonder. When a person is sick and tired, he usually solves the problem quitting the job (read post on when to quit job on our resume writing website). However, is it possible to quit a job in Microsoft Company, which is number one on the labour market according to many parameters? Many corporations face such a problem, when employees literary become slaves of their company. On the one hand they do not enjoy their work anymore, on the other hand they can not leave. Maybe this is a deliberate slavery, but still workers do not feel better with this fact.

Michael's experience

Before describing what burnout at work is and how to avoid it, Michael shares his own experience of burning out.

At the age of 21 he became officially employed (although his first income he started to earn since he was 14, so he had already work experience by the time). His first job was in a big corporation, position was quite prestigious, but he did not get any satisfaction from his work. And there is more, he did not see any interesting work in the company at all, and the only way out was quitting.

After that his career developed fast, he quickly moved up the ladder in an interesting company, but when his development slowed down, he started feeling the signs of a burnout. When he was 28 years old, he faced the problem that he lacked energy for work, since the intensiveness was extremely high, and he did not have time to restore his forces. It was difficult and he burnt out. Only at the age of 30 he found a cure from burnout and started using it in his everyday life. Now he is 32, he has favourite job, which is perfectly organized, and he knows how to restore energy. So he wants to share his experience with you.

What is burnout

So what is burnout? Initially work burnout was related with workers of such professions as social workers, nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, policemen, salespeople, i.e. professions with the highest emotional load. However, now any worker is threatened with burnout.

In 1986 Kristina Maslak said that burnout at work is another side of involvement. So we will consider burnout and involvement two opposite sides. Everything that will contribute to involvement will reduce burnout at work and vise versa.

According to medical classification burnout at work is connected overwork and is usually expressed in the form of different diseases caused by psychosomatics. By the way, when was the last time you got sick at work and what was the reason?

It is important to distinguish ordinary stress from burnout. So what is the difference between them? Stress is accompanied by the strong emotions, and burnout vise versa is characterized by apathy. Stress is followed by physical exhaust and burnout by emotional.

How to become a lucky owner of a job you like

1. Start with the evaluation of your burnout level

Kristina Maslak has created a questionnaire that allows to define the burnout level. Our resume service suggests you to pass a brief test and answer some simple questions putting numbers from 0 to 6 (0 – never, 1 – several times a year, 2 – once per month, 3 – several times per month, 4 – once a week, 5 – several times per week, 6 – every day).

Now evaluate the following statements:

a) After the work I feel like a squeezed lemon

b) Working with people I have to make great efforts

c) I feel that my work breaks me

d) I feel disappointment from work

e) I feel that I work hard like a horse

f) Work with people is a big stress for me

g) I feel like I am on the brink.

Now let's assess the results of the test: less than 17 points – you are absolutely fine. It happens to everyone at work. From 18 to 29 – burnout has begun, you need to start working on its elimination. From 30 points and more – you are at the deepest stage of burnout, urgent actions are demanded.

2. Figure out what is the reason for burnout

To eliminate the burnout at work it is extremely important to know its causes. Unfortunately there is no one description of the burnout causes and its treatment. Usually, authors consider only one aspect of work burnout, in particular the los of energy and self-defining.

Maslak defines three main reasons for burnout and gives instructions that allow to identify the reason, as well as to work on its elimination. Besides, she gives some tips on how to fight the consequences. So, here are three reasons.

Hate to work. The things are easy: if there is no basic love (interest, passion, call it whatever you want), if in the morning you do not have desire to go to work, it means sooner or later burnout will come.

Poor work organization. There is a famous saying: "People come to work to the company, and leave the employer". When work is poorly organized, an employer has low emotional intellect and poor management experience, when company business processes are not organized, when there are no common goals in the departments, no strategy, but much politics, then it all leads to the work burnout of employees.

Lack of energy. Any work requires energy, some jobs require more, others less. Each of us has some amount of energy, which we fill first and then spend. The amount is different for everyone: some people have more, others less. Besides, we fill it differently and spend it also differently. If the amount of our energy is not big, then work requires more efforts, we spend energy faster and restore it more slowly. In this case we start working too hard exhausting ourselves. And this is a straight way to burnout.

3. Realize the consequences of burnout

This is very important. The realizing of treatment absence consequences form the desire to cure. Very often the first symptoms of a disease are so insignificant that we are ready to live with them. And understanding of how the disease will progress and the treatment will become more complicated, we find forces (time, resources, money) to cure the disease at an early stage.

Burnout leads to professional death. First a person starts to behave aggressively (aggression can be active as well as passive in form of indirect attacks) towards the colleagues, he starts criticizing of everything what is happening. Trying to restore the energy, he starts drinking much coffee at work, much alcohol after work, smokes more (also to have more breaks during the day).

On the burnout background career growth stops as a rule, because employer is not interested in promotion of a worker who hardly copes with his present work. The result of burnout is usually a deep depression.

Such a famous phenomenon as procrastination is also closely related to burnout. This is an attempt to avoid tasks fulfilment that appears as a result of burnout. There are different procrastination causes and burnout is not its main source. However, on the base of burnout procrastination appears more and more often, deadlines are being broken, projects are not implemented and as a result workers get rebukes from their employers, lose money or can be even fired.

4. Memorize the formula that helps to avoid burnout

Now let's talk about how to avoid burnout, and if it has already begun how to stop it. Thinking on burnout issue, the expert created the following formula that should solve the problem: dream work, involvement into work, constant restore of energy (little bit more than you spend at work). Let's begin with a dream work.

5. Start moving in the direction of your dream work building

Dream work is a combination of just three simple factors: love to work, ability to do your work well, enough salary level. If an ability to do your work well and salary level are obvious factors, then just few people pay attention to the love to their work.

6. Define your burnout type

According to this model there are eight types of burnout connected with inner causes. Absence of one, two or even three factors in a man's work lead to different types of burnout. However, if all three factors are present (love to work, ability to do it and enough salary level), burnout is still possible and has certain features. So, here are the burnout types.

A dream prisoner. This is a man who loves his work very much, but yet he can not cope with it well and has low income. These are beginning specialists who have just started to perform their duties. Burnout in this case happens more often because of the low salary, but sometimes also because of the poor feedback, which a person gets because of his low professionalism.

A burnt down star is a person who some time ago had a good job. He loved it, it was simple and he had good salary, but external factors influenced him, his energy exhausted and burnout came. This is a good example of the fact that burnout comes even to those who have passion for their work.

Lost / Unemployed is a person whose career is not what he wanted. There is no favorite work, low qualification and low payment. This is the highest risk group (cleaners, porters, loaders).

Hard worker (slogger) loves his work and even perfectly copes with it, but earns little money. Usually a dream prisoner turns into a hard worker. The problems he faces are outside the work, usually at home. The reason is low energy level that leads to burnout at work.

A poor thing is very similar to a lost, but he already copes well with his job.

Golden handcuffs. This is a difficult situation when a person is a professional and has a very good salary, but already for a long time does not like his work or did not like it from the very beginning. Burnout happens due to the reason of dislike for work.

A lucky beggar is a seldom situation when a person does not like his job, can not do it well, but has good salary. It is usually the result of family business or political decisions.

Rags to riches. This is another rare situation when a person likes his work, does not cope with it well yet, but already has good income. As a rule, this is the result of successful career decisions. In pursuit of further training a person overloads himself with information, actions, tasks and burns out due to the energy lack.

7. Evaluate how much you like your work

Understanding the current love level to your work helps to choose the further strategy, whether you need to change your workplace or radically change something in your present job.

8. Describe the work of your dream

How to get the work of your dream? There are various trainings and career couches that help to find a dream work. Experts of our professional resume cover letter writing service suggest you to begin with a simple exercise that will help you to understand what you like and do not like in your work.

Take a sheet of paper (or create a document on your computer). Make a table with three columns: “I do not like it in my work”, “I like it in my work”, and “I lack it in my work”. In the first column you write everything you do not like about your job and what you would like to change in the future. In the second column write all the interesting things of your work that you have now (functions, tasks, colleagues, work schedule, office and its opportunities and so on). In the third column you write what misses in your work.

9. Analyze the organization of your work

As it has been mentioned earlier, except inner factors (love for work) there are also external factors that also influence the involvement. World famous Gallup Institute has developed a questionnaire called the Q12. There are 12 questions that will let you evaluate how much a workplace allows to involve an employee. All twelve questions are built on four spheres: 1) the ability to grow on the job; 2) teamwork; 3) management support and 4) the satisfaction of basic needs for the job. Here are these 12 questions. Answer Yes / No and count the number of positive responses:

1) Do you know exactly what results your employer expects from you?

2) Do you have materials and equipment necessary for quality work performance?

3) Do you have possibility to do something you can do the best at your workplace?

4) Did you get praise or reward for a good work done last week?

5) Does your employer or anyone from your colleagues take care of your personal development?

6) Is there a worker who encourages your professional development?

7) Do your colleagues and employer take into consideration your professional mind?

8) Do you believe that mission / goal of your company helps you to realize the importance of your work?

9) Do your colleagues follow work high quality standards?

10) Do you have a friend at work?

11) Did anyone from your work discuss with you your progress during the last six months?

12) Did you have an opportunity to learn and develop professionally during the last year?

Now let’s see the results. More than 10 positive answers mean that your work is great and it has a high level of involvement. 7-9 positive answers mean that your job in general has not bad involvement level, but there is already the risk of burnout. 4-6 points – your work involves you weakly, you are lucky if you like it and you have enough energy. 3 and less positive answers mean that even against the background of love for work and enough energy charge there are high risks for burnout.

By the way, according to the Gallup researching companies with high involvement level of employees are more successful, that is why the creation of involving work is useful not only for a worker, abut also for a company.

10. Answer yourself honestly, do you work for the salary only?

Payment plays great role in the involvement and burnout. There are a lot of people who have a job they do not really like, not very good workplace organization, but they have high salary and thus they are able to travel a lot and to be engaged in their hobby outside the work.

10 the most important ideas in burnout fighting:

1) Define whether you are burning out now.

2) Define the reason for your burnout.

3) Describe the work of your dream.

4) Analyze the quality of your work organization.

5) Evaluate your energy balance.

6) Make up a list of energy sources for you.

7) Optimize your home work.

8) Go home before 19:00.

9) Think about your happiness and watch your steps towards happy life.

10) If you are already on the verge of burnout, take sabbatical (what means a rest from work, or a break that often lasts from two months to a year).

Probably each of us has a friend, a fellow or a colleague who sits in front of us. He / she demonstrates the signs of burnout and thus will be definitely grateful if you show him / her this how to avoid burnout at work post or if you just give our useful tips.