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Dr. Beverly Potter on Dealing with Job Burnout
by Gary Wood

May 12, 2009


I think Dr. Beverly Potter’s comments on my “Leadership Burnout Assessment” post are worth repeating in a main post. I would highly recommend Beverly’s books,  “Preventing Job Burnout, Transforming Work Pressures into Productivity” and “Overcoming Job Burnout, How to Renew Enthusiasm for Work”. The first book was a great help to me several years ago when overload was edging toward burnout.


Dr. Potter notes:


Burnout is a kind of job depression, caused by feelings of uncontrollability – powerlessness. It diminishes motivation and performance nose-dives.


Burnout is stressful, but not caused by stress. Stress and burnout are not on a continuum. Stress MUST be dealt with because, when left unchecked, it can lead to health issues. But reducing stress does not reduce burnout, except when doing so increases your sense of control.


The process is unique for each person. So the first step is to identify what is getting you down. Begin by noticing what is going on each time that you get “that” feeling. then makes notes on it in a journal. After several days, review your “data’, looking for patterns. Those patterns point to the causes of your burnout and to the intervention points.


For more info on the symptoms., causes and what to do about burnout visit my site where I have many articles on overcoming job burnout. -docpotter


There are many helpful books out there on avoiding or dealing with job burnout. Take advantage of them. When working with your Executive Coach, tell them what you have been reading.

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Identifying strongly with one’s work – even if not in balance with private life does not render one prone to burnout – except if the work goes bad and goes bad in a way that the person feels helpless to change.

Burnout is a kind of job depression caused by feeling powerless – uncontrollability. Sometimes it is the way the person looks at situation to create “victimhood” – but more often it is the structure of the organization – often a government or non-profit agency. Additionally, the category of clients make certain jobs high burnout potential. Job working with people have high burnout potential. When those people have serious problems, like drug abuse or disability and the worker has a large case load and small budget, then the burnout potential is extreme.

For the symptons of burnout see: Generally they are similar to those of depression.

Are YOU burning out? Is YOUR staff burning out? Do you know the burnout potential of YOUR job? Find out. Copyrighted burnout quizzes at