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Burnout signals and signs

Are you a hard charger that can bust through any wall with the sheer force of your will, work ethic, and determination? While I admire your tenacity, I worry about your endurance. Everyone has a breaking point, and there are costs to every broken down wall.

In most law firms, work-influenced misery is a badge of honor that many wear a little too proudly. Staying late into the wee hours of the morning shows that you care–about the client, the firm, and your career. However, when it comes right down to it, no one is going to care 20 years from now about that brilliant clause you inserted into matter #41219 back in 2015. At all. 

It is up to YOU to monitor your personal signals related to burnout. Those with personality traits as perfectionism and skepticism tend to be more vulnerable since they tend not to reach out for help. If you are constantly tired, feel like you are slipping in your skills, and becoming disengaged, they are early signs of burnout. The best way to deal with burnout is to reach out for help from mental health professionals or even a teammate(s). Sadly, victims of burnout tend to look inward and isolate themselves. 

Vacations, yoga classes, resilience training and other short term treatments might help soften the edges, but it doesn’t fix the cause of the problem. This is a multi-stage issue to address. It starts with you identifying the problem exists. Then you must reach out. In the end, the organization must address a culture that causes burnout, anticipate that it will happen, and make changes on how the work is done to  minimize it. 

Step one for organizations should be to demand collaboration and reward team based activities. Step two should be to assume the work environment causes burnout by the nature of the pressures and stop running people on a meter. Step three should be to reduce the incentives for individuals to drive themselves into the ground such as reduced comp/credit for hours over a cap. These are CHOICES for an organization, not challenges.

Does burnout affect you today? You probably know the answer in your gut, but check out this article to help you with it.

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