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The Three "Profiles" of Burnout.

Find out what your unique burnout profile is.

Congrats Singapore. We are the "Most Fatigued Country in the World".

Well at least according to a study published by Channel News Asia. But wait, that's not the only finding from that study.

That same study also claimed that we are ranked second in terms of "most hours spent working per year".

Can you believe it? We work even more hours per annum compared to big brother China.

We've even gone on to surpass Japan's salaryman culture, which is often depicted by middle-aged men and women in suits whose lives are a never-ending cycle of work-drink-sleep-repeat.

Wow. When did that happen?

Well, I guess it has slowly become more apparent in our daily office culture. If somebody actually bothered to poll what most Singaporeans say the first thing they get to work in the morning, it will probably be:

"Wah, so tired man".

Indeed we are. We are so tired of working.

It's no small wonder that 37% of Singaporeans report feeling increasingly burnout this year. That's slightly more than one in every three people in Singapore.

So yes, burnout is getting real.

Why burnout matters.

Stress is a part of the normal course of work. Ongoing, extreme and chronic stress isn't.

Who doesn't feel overwhelmed and stretched too thin sometimes? Yet, when this pressure becomes unrelenting and ongoing for a prolonged period of time, it leads to the debilitating state we call burnout.

It's a serious problem, and if you experience it, you know that it not only affects you while on-the-job, but it affects your overall wellbeing too. This includes your relationships, your recreational time and your mental and physical health.

In fact, research has linked burnout to many negative physical and mental health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, as well as increased alcohol use.

It's time for Singaporean companies to take this seriously, but on your part, it's important for you to recognise the "type" of burnout you are going through and manage it better too.

The three "Burnout Profiles".

Everyone experienced burnout differently and according to research, there are three main symptoms of burnout.

Read on and see if yours is mostly dominated by one symptoms, or a combination of two or all three of them.

1) Physical, Mental and Emotional Exhaustion.

This is probably what comes to mind when we think of burnout. It's a sense of utter fatigue each and everyday that's been going on for a long period of time.

There are many reasons why you might be feeling exhausted.

For one, it might stem from long working hours or work creeping into your weekends. After all, we are ranked second place for most hours worked amongst all the countries in the world.

Otherwise, it might also stem from intense pressure to get things done each day, or perhaps having too much to do. This might be related to unreasonable time pressures from your stakeholders, or being constantly given a never-ending amount of work to do by your boss.

It might be too that your team or company is understaffed, and that everybody is as equally burnt out as you are.

Lastly, it might come from personal changes in your life. For example, if you are balancing work and planning your wedding at the same time, or if you're finding it difficult to manage your kids or even a newborn baby along with your work.

In such a constant state of exhaustion, you might find that you're unable to concentrate or see the bigger picture at work. You might often find your lost in "tunnel vision", or it becomes difficult to drag yourself to work each day.

This type of burnout is classified as a loss of Energy.

2) You've become Cynical about work.

Cynicism, also called depersonalisation, is a lost of engagement with your work. Essentially, it's a psychological defense mechanism where you subconsciously distance yourself from your work.

You might find yourself becoming detached from work, feeling negative about your company, or even cynical of your colleagues.

Simply thinking of work might stir up a whole bunch of negative emotions for you, including how unfair people are, how much you dislike your colleagues or boss, how the company is a sinking ship, or how your company sucks.

Cynicism might be the result of work overload, but it can also arise when your work environment has a lot of conflict, unfair practices, poor communication, or when employees don't feel like they are a part of decision-making and simply become a cog in the wheel.

Unfortunately, cynicism can lead to lost of passion and love for your work. You might feel yourself slowly losing interest in not just the company, but the industry itself.

This type of burnout is classified as a loss of Motivation.

You before entering the office.

3) Feelings of Ineffectiveness and lack of Accomplishment.

Whether you are new at your job or you've been there for two decades, the slow build-up of these feelings can still affect you.

I recently spoke to someone who is new at his company. Just three months in, he started experiencing burnout and was dealing with anxiety every single day.

It stemmed from a lack of guidance from his bosses and colleagues. People were posing questions at him that he simply didn't have the training and experience to answer. When he tried to get help from his teammates, he was told to "figure out on his own".

Well done. Way to throw your new guy into the fire.

It's tough being in a job where you're constantly feeling like you lack the resources to do your job well. This includes inadequate training, information, clear expectations and good support from those around you.

On the other hand, you might also be experiencing burnout because you're feeling like you're going nowhere. This lack of accomplishment makes you feel like you're stagnating.

You begin to lose your connection to work and feel like you have no control over your career or profession.

Perhaps this is caused by an absence of useful feedback at work, or a lack of meaningful recognition - causing you to constantly wonder about the quality of your work and feeling unappreciated.

This last type of burnout is classified as a loss of Confidence.

These feelings suck. Let's work on them.

(Originally posted on

Thanks for reading and take care now, Hernping.


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