Job burnout – How people cope
Job burnout - How people cope
Public Welfare, Volume 36, Issue 2. pp.56-58
Job burnout occurs among a wide vareity of helping professionals whose jobs involve continuous, direct contact with different kinds of recipients (welfare clients, patients, prisoners, children). These professionals must constantly deal with other people’s problems. In addition, the interchange between the helping professionals and their clients is often emotionally charged. Over an extended period, emotional exhaustion can result from the stress of interpersonal contact. Many professionals experience a gradual loss of positive feelings, sympathy, and respect for their clients or patients. Often this leads to a cynical and dehumanizing perception of clients that labels them in derogatory ways. Reports of burnout are highly correlated with workers’ low morale, absenteeism, and high job turnover. Some people quit, change jobs, or leave the profession entirely. People undergoing burnout often increase their use of alcohol and other drugs as a way of reducing tension and blotting out strong feelings of hostility and depression. They report more mental problems and often seek counseling over what they perceive to be their personal failing. People experiencing burnout often become involved in increased marital and family conflict as well. Professionals cope with burnout on an individual basis in various ways, such as psychologically withdrawing from difficult situations by intellectualizing, speaking to clients in superficial generalities, taking short breaks when a critical moment arises, and applying a formula rather than developing a unique solution to any given case. Other professionals deliberately enage in special activities that allow them to relax, such as physical exercise, meditating, etc. The article notes that the development of training programs in interpersonal skills would help to better prepare professionals to work with their clients.