When You’re “Done” Done

ZeroHedge- The Epidemic Nobody Talks About: Burnout

The epidemic kind of burnout isn’t temporary. Taking a weekend off doesn’t restore one’s ability to work. This kind of burnout is the collapse of one’s ability to go to work at all, a physical, emotional and psychological collapse.

Burnout isn’t just the result of overwork. It’s the collapse of the entire no limits, self-exploitation way of life.

People who haven’t burned out are at a loss to understand this collapse, as it’s so far outside their experience. Those who love their jobs and have boundless energy can’t understand those who have been running on empty for far too long and are now too exhausted to get out of bed.

28 Replies to “When You’re “Done” Done”

  1. Taking a weekend off doesn’t restore one’s ability to work.

    We see that with Prinz Dummkopf. Skedaddling to the Fortress of Stupidtude every weekend makes no difference. Then again, he never had any ability to work in the first place.

  2. When in a job interview, and you’re told “You will wear many hats, and work in a fast-paced work environment”, its time to get up and walk away.

    1. I once had an interview with a firm in which I was told that it was a “pressure cooker” environment. Having had several employers before, I knew it usually meant that it wanted cheap labour to work long hours.

      I was told much the same at the first company I worked for after I got my B. Sc. I had just been transferred to the division’s head office and I inquired about what the overtime policy was. There were provisions in labour law that allowed one could work extra hours and be allowed to take off the equivalent time on another occasion. One would sometimes do that for holidays or, say, travelling before a weekend.

      My boss bluntly told me, “We’re professionals here. We work unlimited hours.” In other words, we want cheap labour and you had better comply. Less than 4 months later, he fired me, citing my apparent laziness as one of the reasons I had to be canned.

      1. Not citing a certain profession, but the Land Surveyors of BC always viewed their help as slave labour. It doesnt appear the P/Engs were any different, though I have met very decent ones over the years and since.

        AND YOU BETTER LIKE IT! Because Shut Up!

        Needless to say, that career path quickly lost appeal. Working for $10/hr in nowheresville 6-10s a week gets drab fast. Then the dude hinted at a remote job in the NT for 3 months. Buh-Bye!

        Wasn’t the first job with a BCLS (who all seemed to suffer from Sudden Arsehole Syndrome, including former fellow students), but it was THE last, and shifted career focus, never looked back! The “mentorship” that had been broadcast clearly by the instructors at BCIT, was just a mysterious carrot, in reality, they preferred the Stick, and didn’t necessarily want more competition from the younger BCLS wannabes.

        1. That company I referred to earlier was stuck in the 1950s with respect to what was expected of its employees. The way firm shown in the first 2 or 3 seasons of the AMC series Mad Men functioned reminded me a lot of that outfit. The boss was God and had to be worshipped and glorified. One worked for that company not to learn how to put into practice what one learned but to advance oneself through the pecking order as fast and as far as possible.

          The boss who fired me turned out to be a corporate crawler and knew much less than he wanted me to believe. The company was well-known for having a high turnover, using attrition to finally get the people it wanted. Many of the people I knew while I worked there went elsewhere and, as I suspected when they were my colleagues, many of them ended in management positions where being technically skilled was a liability but being a complete crap artist and full-time schoozer resulted in great rewards.

  3. It’s not the work, its life in general. One can cope with work, it’s the endless stream of bullshit one is subjected to in all aspects of one’s life that wears you down.
    It’s hard to quantify how exhausting it is to have to deal with politics, propaganda, doublespeak and political correctness day in and day out. This is even more so I think for folks who buy into all the latest craziness. It’s hard to be offended, outraged and sanctimonious. It’s even more exhausting to parrot the latest nonsense that deep down you realize isn’t true.

    1. “It’s not the work, its life in general. One can cope with work, it’s the endless stream of bullshit one is subjected to in all aspects of one’s life that wears you down.”

      Bingo! And we all know what the endless stream of bullshit was during the last two years.

      It’s related to my response when someone asks me if I miss work now that I’m retired: I kinda miss the clowns, but I don’t miss the *&^%$#g circus.

    2. This says it. As well as the endless stream of superficial information, its the supposed service industries, such as your bank, who make you do all your own banking as they close branches, and doctors and hairdressers (much as I love my hairdresser) who send reminder texts about appointments, with consequences! Even as I pay my enormous Australian car registration, I don’t receive a Thank you! just a long list of threats for recidivists.

  4. What’s tiresome is watching complete and utter govt screw-ups in Ottawa and throughout canada sucking up half my wages so they can dedicate their lives to destroying this country. The worst part is knowing that half of canadians think they’re worth keeping in power.

  5. IMO many people aren’t putting things in perspective. Your job pays the bills. Its what makes your life outside of work possible. Find fullfilment in community, family, home, and friends, because being wage slaves, and for all the reasons JohnS stated, we aren’t going to find that fulfillment at work. That is precisely why I won’t volunteer for committees, extracurricular and work functions, etc. During my personal performance reviews my supervisors are always mystified when asking about my future work goals are, do I want to “step up”, etc, and I say -“retirement”. They just can’t wrap their heads around the notion that I work to live, NOT live to work. Don’t get me wrong; I work hard for what I am paid to do. I get along very well with my co-workers. But I give them almost nothing of my personal life outside of work. Once I clock out and the outside door closes behind me, it all drops away. It makes me immune to work gossip, and the work clique machinations and the manoeverings of the petty.

    My line of work is one where the life expectancy is traditionally low. Not me. I refuse to be a statistic. My last day there I’ll pack my stuff, be out the door and not waste a single second looking back.

  6. “I’d like all the Bacon and Eggs you have, Canada.”

    – Bill Gates

  7. The focus of society on money over family.

    The focus of women on career as a show of success often over family. Both can be a choice that comes with constant exhaustion.

    Unlimited debt to allow for the show of wealth, absent real wealth. Both parties in the marriage riding the treadmill of debt and burnout with no way off. Shattered marriages as often as not. So often money is the reason.

    No energy to pay real attention to any children. The school and the internet raise them. Extreme debt and indoctrination come with little angel’s university.

    Crushing, soul-rending, taxation. Pointless politicians to mark empty x’s for only to be taxed more heavily.

    Such is the mill-wheel of western existence.

  8. I recently returned to work after a six month break to work through several estates. For six months I felt guilty for sleeping a little extra.

    It’s 40 years of programming.

    The new place at the end (and start) of a shitty commute is an advertisement for the movie office space. I can see how people who work there feel burned out. They burn each other out.

    1. About 20 years ago, before I quit my teaching job at Armpit College, I looked at my investment portfolio at the time. When I understood how much I was worth, I asked myself, “Why am I still here?” I submitted my resignation shortly after that.

      I spent the next two years looking for another job. I gave that up after I started making money off my investments. I wasn’t rolling in cash, but I was able to pay my rent and my bills and still have change left over.

      I never worked for anyone else after I quit that lousy job. I didn’t miss having to keep regular hours and I certainly didn’t miss having to spend much of my day with colleagues I couldn’t stand.

      1. Good on you. I’m at the end of career, and with some discipline, don’t need the job but seem to need the habit.

        Sure have no interest in the pointless political crap people at this place inflict on each other.

        1. I’m no longer practicing professional engineering. One reason was the SNC Lavalin scandal 3 years ago when I asked myself how much longer I wanted to continue. Another was the amount of work I needed to do to settle my father’s estate.

          My technical activities are now directed towards amateur radio and tinkering with computers. I’m living off my inheritance, so money isn’t an issue for me.

  9. This post really meant a lot to me. I work for a Big Tech company. Not one you would recognize, they’re only big in their market space. We have a HUGE employee turnover problem in every division. I’m the only one in Canada coming close to hitting their monthly KPI’s on a regular basis, but I start answering email at 5:30AM and my last email will often go out at 10PM. I take a few hours off in between, but I’m BARELY hitting the metrics – nobody else in our Canadian division is hitting their targets.
    Management uses benchmarks from other companies and says that the industry standard is 34.7% turnover and we’re at 37.8% so we’re only a little high. There’s so much data out there that they throw at us (and we’re a data provider to the market) and we’re expected to review it all to make good decisions, then they just keep pushing and pushing until they find the max limit and that right there is the ‘balance’.
    But I’ve noticed it isn’t just my company – everyone else in our industry has the same issue. And it isn’t just our industry – Amazon employees complain about the exact same thing, bankers, even government employees that have desk jobs are given hours of useless tasks. The physical employees working at the cities are damn lazy, but the inside employees are generally very busy – just doing useless tasks that could be easily eliminated.
    I’m sure a lot of you would suggest it’s time to change jobs, and I would but there is a HUGE wage gap. I can go work for $20-$25/hour in a physical labour job, which I would love (did it for 2 years and it was my favourite job in my long career), but it’s literally 1/3 of what I make now.
    And therein lies the rub – the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer through inflation and stagnant wages. The middle class (myself) are barely holding it together trying to do the WASP “hard work will make you wealthy” thing that has created much of western civilization, but it just isn’t working anymore. Nothing is working anymore like it’s supposed to. I support a ‘Great Reset’, just not the one that Trudeau and the WEF believes in. We need another 1789. I didn’t think I’d ever actually say this – but maybe the French were right.

    1. Yup.

      I’ve worked for a number of “high tech” firms and at most of them, the job required that I work long hours because I had that much to do. At one outfit, the overtime was considered “voluntary”.

      The pay at each of them was lousy. If I had wanted to earn some real money, I would have had to kiss up to the bosses and fill their ears with blarney.

      I’m glad I’m out of that business. Ironically, I made more money from my investments than I ever did working at those companies.

  10. In the military and police they call it PTSD. Everyone else gets depression. It’s the same frigging thing. My father spent five years in the army with a year of people shooting at him. He worked like a dog, farming until he died at 77. When it got to 30 degrees C he did the summer follow as his tractor had the only air conditioner he owned. I’m in my seventies and still working but I know a lot of people in different trades and professions who effed up their lives from booze, depression, laziness, drugs, or mental illness or all five. Whether it’s right or wrong,I’m a firm believer that you can will yourself out of the nuthouse.

  11. Way back in BC I knew a “director” who was very big on “the best work is done under pressure”

    I used to remind him that the rating example at the time for heavy machinery was “Maximum horsepower 100. Maximum continuous horsepower 75”

    1. In an earlier posting, I referred to a company I worked for more than 40 years ago. My boss at the time told me that I was expected to work “unlimited hours”.

      I couldn’t see why I needed to unless there was an emergency or there was a deadline looming. Ah, but everything I was supposed to work on was treated like either an urgent issue or something that needed to be finished last week. My boss regarded me as “lazy” for not seeing it that way and acting accordingly. Never mind that the aforementioned situations were manufactured for the company’s convenience.

      Oh, and having free time after official office hours was regarded as theft from the company.

      That wasn’t the first time I encountered that. During my senior undergraduate year, I had an interview with a certain company. It didn’t like that I was single and I didn’t have a girlfriend because that meant I could pack up and leave when it suited me. I didn’t get the job, but many of my married classmates did, which meant that they had a vested interest in staying. I seriously doubt it was coincidental.

  12. DEI-Woke politics in the office causes burnout among those with a low BS threshold.

  13. My stress levels went to zero when I finally learned to spend less than I earned and invest the net.

    Anyone with a year’s income worth of assets, “fcuck off money”, has little job stress.

    All of the “ooooh, I’m so stressed” whiners are so far incapable of giving up their lattes, restaurant lunches, door – dash fast foods, smokes, beers, financed cars et endless cetera.

    1. +1

      Innumeracy is the curse of the laboring class (physical or mental). If you don’t make yourself financially invulnerable you’ll be at the mercy of corporate bastards all your life. Trust me, I know whereof I speak.

      ““Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.””
      ~ Charles Dickens

  14. The article describes my situation exactly. I worked 27 days overtime in fiscal ’20-’21 (there are 250 workdays a year) through Covid, missing 7-8 days only because I had to sit at home waiting for a negative Covid test before I could go back to the hangar. Last November I was put on leave without pay for refusing Herr Trudeau’s injection mandate and forced to stay home. I slept 12 hours a day for the first two weeks and my blood pressure dropped by 30 points in the first week. In January I realized that it wasn’t my age that was making me feel old and tired, it was the stress from the a##holes at work. Stupid things like being told to drop everything such as verifying the airworthiness of the Coast Guard’s helicopters to complete gender bias training because the Minister said that everyone must have the training by a certain date.
    I dread returning to work, just thinking about it puts me in a dark mood so I’m retiring a year early from the government.