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In some ways it was a typical breakfast
The waitress was pleasant, the eggs
were average, and the restaurant was full of busy people.
We shared a cup of black, coffee-like
substance, and the first few times my client took a sip he
managed to spill quite a bit of it. His trembling hand was
just one of the symptoms of his burnout. That's why we were
He wanted to know if I could help him.
I picked up a fork and explained that
as long as I used it for eating, the fork would last indefinitely.
However, if I began to use it to drive
nails or dig trenches, it would soon break. The key was to
use it for what it was designed to do.
The look in his eyes told me he got
it, but I still went on to say that people are like the fork.
When they do what they are not designed
to do, they eventually break.
Sure enough, his career assessment
showed that he was designed to work on projects where there
was a definite goal. He derived immense satisfaction from
He also needed to work by himself about
half the time. He was a scientist and enjoyed lab time, doing
calculations, and interpreting test results.
What his job required on a day-to-day
basis was another story.
His primary task was to supervise a
dozen people and maintain operations. No goals. No projects.
No time alone. Consequently, his job was sucking the life
out of him.
Much credit for his recovery goes to
his boss who was willing to change the job content to fit
the design of a valuable employee.
So how do you know if you, a loved
one, or someone who reports to you is suffering from burnout?
Here are the early-warning signs.
- chronic fatigue - exhaustion,
tiredness, a sense of being physically run down
- anger at those making demands
- self-criticism for putting up
with the demands
- cynicism, negativity, and irritability
- a sense of being besieged
- exploding easily at seemingly
- frequent headaches and gastrointestinal
- weight loss or gain
- sleeplessness and depression
- shortness of breath
- feelings of helplessness
- increased degree of risk taking
Do what you were designed to do.
If you know someone who fits this description
send them a copy of this article.
Henry Neils is President and Founder
of Assessment.com the leading online career assessment company
focused on helping employees and employers work together for
their mutual benefit.
Millions of people have gained
personal insight into their careers by using the tools, such
as MAPP™ (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential),
provided at Assessment.com
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