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Burn-out, bore-out and brown-out: causes and symptoms

Image de présentation de l'article Burn-out, bore-out and brown-out: causes and symptoms

You've probably heard a lot about burnout, the most well-known syndrome in workplace mental health. However, there are other pathologies that are still unknown to many of us. However, these can have serious consequences on the physical and mental health of those who experience them. It is therefore important to differentiate between them and identify their causes and symptoms. In this article, we take a look at three forms of burnout: burnout, bore-out and brown-out.

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Burnout: Enough is enough!

Burnout is the most well-known form of burnout . The WHO recognizes burnout as a work-related syndrome. She defines it as "a syndrome resulting from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed." Originally, the term burnout was used to describe the burnout of healthcare professionals. Burnout tends to affect people who need meaning and values at work, and who will want to contribute to individual or collective well-being.

The causes of burnout can be diverse: work overload, overinvestment, poor relationships at work, permanent pressure, unpleasant customers, lack of support in the team, etc. Enough is enough!

Diagnosing burnout can be complex and the manifestations are unique to each person.

Common symptoms

  • Physical : permanent fatigue (physical, mental and/or emotional), sleep disturbances

  • Behavioural: withdrawal, aggressive behaviour, development of addictions

  • Emotional: permanent stress, nervousness, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, hypersensitivity, sadness and/or absence of emotions

Bore-out: Boredom at work

This term comes from the English "to bore", meaning to be bored. As you can see, bore-out is boredom at work ! Unlike burnout, bore-out is usually caused by an under-workload. However, there are a variety of things that can cause deep boredom at work. It may arise as a result of monotonous and unrewarding tasks that do not correspond to the employee's qualifications and skills. It can also be linked to a lack of opportunities for advancement in the company or to professional ambitions ignored by the employer.

Common symptoms

  • Physical : Chronic fatigue, sleep and eating disorders

  • Behavioural : Loss of efficiency and performance, development of addictions

  • Emotional : Feelings of worthlessness, lack of motivation, low self-esteem, disengagement

The brown-out: the loss of meaning

In English, the expression "brownout" corresponds to a drop in voltage, a power cut. This is what people experiencing a brown-out feel: they lack energy and don't find meaning in their work. Unlike the other two pathologies, the person is neither under pressure (burn-out) nor not sufficiently stimulated (bore-out). She is looking for meaning in her professional activity and does not share the company's values. She then spent her energy in a position described as a "bullshit job" by the American anthropologist David Graeber. In other words, she feels like she's doing superficial tasks with no real interest for society or the planet! In this case, a retraining or a change of company may be the solution.

Common symptoms

  • Behavioural : apathy, progressive demotivation

  • Emotional : anxiety, depression, existential crisis, loss of meaning

If you recognize yourself in one or more of these pathologies, it is important to act quickly. Don't hesitate to consult your occupational doctor who will be able to identify these disorders, talk about them around you (to your loved ones, colleagues, your superior, etc.), and why not, stay on the lookout for new job offers!

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