Book Cover - Book Review: The Truth about Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do about It

We hear the word burnout more and more. Too often. But even if the burnout has become commonplace in the workplace, it does not mean we understand it. I didn’t. I ignored I had probably experienced burnout in my career. I thought burnout was mainly an individual problem. I was clearly wrong.

Burnout results from a mismatch between who we are and what we do at work. The authors have identified six mismatches — feeling overloaded at work is logically present, just like a lack of control, reward, fairness, community, or conflicting values between us and our company. The “good” news is that we don’t need to satisfy all mismatches to present the three common manifestations of burnout — exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness.

This is not a recent book on the subject but burnout is not a recent problem. I find the book does a decent job to introduce burnout in context, from its origin to its recent proliferation. The authors clearly demonstrate burnout is not an individual problem, but a problem companies should address to their own advantage. Burnout is about the social environment and thus alerts us the productivity of the company is declining. Companies can use burnout to learn and grow better. For the employees. For the clients. And for themselves.

Any employee will benefit from this book, independently of his current state. You can use this book to understand burnout once the first manifestations has started, but I recommend you to read the book right now as a prevention before the downward spiral starts. This book will help you reconsider burnout under a new point of view, understand your partial role in the burnout equation, and avoid doubting about your skills whereas the problem is about the environment. I would like more people to read this book so that burnout could be discussed more openly in the workplace. After reading this book, I think nobody is immune to the mental exhaustion caused by burnout. Read this book or another one on the subject, but don’t ignore burnout.

About the author

Julien Sobczak works as a software developer for Scaleway, a French cloud provider. He is a passionate reader who likes to see the world differently to measure the extent of his ignorance. His main areas of interest are productivity (doing less and better), human potential, and everything that contributes in being a better person (including a better dad and a better developer).

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