The Great Resignation: Signs and Symptoms of Job Burnout in Australia.

Poor psychological conditions cost businesses approximately $10.9 billion per year, including $4.7 billion in absenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims. Burnout increases the risk of worker injury by 19%.There are certain illnesses including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal discomfort and respiratory issues that are linked to professional burnout. So how do we address these issues?

What is Job Burnout?


Job burnout is a psychological state of general dissatisfaction and weariness that results from prolonged job pressure and emotional strain. Job burnout is the result of prolonged stress on the job, which causes physical and emotional exhaustion. It can take a great deal of time to recover from burnout, and the symptoms can have a lasting impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. Burnout is a syndrome consisting of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal accomplishment that can result from unusually lengthy and high-demand occupations. It is a common problem among healthcare workers, social workers, and certain other caring professions. We have all experienced job burnout at some point in our lives.

It can happen at any stage of your career and to anyone. It occurs when the demands of work — both the tasks you must do and the environment you must do them in — outweigh the resources you must meet those demands.

Let’s have a look at the statistics. 9.5% of all working Australians, or 1.3 million individuals, changed occupations in the year leading up to February 2022. Since 2012, this rate of yearly job mobility has been at its highest. In addition, more full-time employees and those in highly skilled occupations have larger expectations for career mobility. We have observed a considerable increase in job mobility as pandemic-related constraints have loosened, as businesses have begun recruiting and the need for labour has skyrocketed. The most recent statistics also showed a decline in the rate of layoffs, which fell to 1.5% in the year ending in February 2022, the lowest yearly rate in Australia’s history. Because there are so many alternatives for employees right now, the increased rate of job mobility demonstrates that people are changing occupations voluntarily (and not out of need).

So, What Exactly is the Great Resignation?


The ‘Great Resignation’ refers to the widespread practice of individuals quitting their employment or considering doing so. It is a widespread problem; according to studies by Microsoft, 40% or more of workers want to quit their present position in the next three years. The COVID-19 epidemic has caused society to reevaluate what labour entails and recognize that, occasionally, it’s about more than compensation.

Signs and Symptoms of Job Burnout

Signs and Symptoms of Job Burnout​
  1. Exhaustion – If you find yourself losing energy and motivation on a regular basis, you could be suffering from burnout.
  2. Worry and frustration – If you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious and irritable at work, you could be suffering from job burnout.
  3. Cynicism – Feeling cynical about the work you do and the people you work with could be a sign of burnout.
  4. Disengagement – If you find yourself losing interest in your work and not enjoying your career, you could be suffering from job burnout.
  5. Withdrawal from friends – Generally when experiencing burnout your social life will take a noticeable hit as well. Individuals experiencing burn out will tend to isolate themselves more.
  6. Diminished productivity – Constant burnout will lead to a lack of motivation even to finish minor tasks. 
  7. Lowered concentration – The precursor to lower productivity would be an inability to stay focused on the job.
  8. Stagnation at work – Employees will not see career growth or even the opportunity of growth when going through the motion of burnout. Tasks will feel very remedial to them. 
  9. Bad sleep cycles – Restless nights and not fulfilling the adequate hours needed to feel energised in the day.

Why Does Job Burnout Happen?


Burnout can happen for several reasons, but some common factors include: 

Too much responsibility 

When you take on too much at work, you’re more likely to experience stress, which can lead to health issues if it becomes chronic. You’re also more likely to make mistakes when you’re stressed, which can hurt your reputation at work and damage your relationship with your co-workers.

To prevent job burnout and stay healthy, you need to make sure not to take on too much at work. Stay organised, delegate whenever possible and make sure to leave time in your schedule for relaxation. Unproductive stress, like worrying about too much at work, can be just as bad for your health as chronic stress.

Unclear goals

Setting goals and working towards them will increase your productivity and happiness at work. You shouldn’t just be doing a job; you should be setting goals and working towards something else. This will increase your productivity and overall happiness at work. Setting goals is something that you can do daily to improve your work life. What is an example of a goal? Goals can be anything, such as learning a new skill, spending more time with your family or simply reading a book. 

It’s important to write them down so you can visualise them and make them come to life. Writing your goals down will help you stay focused and motivated. Goals should be something that matters to you deeply. Setting achievable goals will help you stay motivated and make it easier to progress towards those personal achievements.

Unsupportive workplace 

Lack of support and acknowledgement at work, being ignored by colleagues or being treated unfairly can be very harmful to your mental health. When you feel that your job is not giving you any value or you feel unappreciated, it can have a very negative impact on your self-esteem and mood. These feelings can make you very demotivated and can lead to you feeling very low.

Low self-esteem and negative thoughts can also make you feel lonely and unmotivated. An unsupportive workplace can lead to you feeling stressed which, in turn, can have a very negative impact on your mental health. When you feel that you are not appreciated, it can negatively affect your performance.

How to Deal with Job Burnout


If you are experiencing burnout, there are a few things you can do to help yourself recover. 

Identify the core issues

It may seem a bit obvious, but the first step towards combating job burnout is identifying the signs. You can’t start healing what you don’t know. Some common signs of job burnout include a decrease in productivity, a decrease in the amount of enthusiasm for your work, an increase in absenteeism or a decrease in your mental health.

Take regular breaks

Taking breaks from your work throughout the day can reduce stress, improve your productivity and help to stay healthy. Some ideas are going for a walk, spending time with friends and family, reading or taking a quick power-nap.


Try to prioritise the tasks that are most important. Block out time each day to focus on your top priorities. It is okay to ask for help if you have too much going on and are in danger of falling behind. Involve your team in prioritising and discussing ways to improve workflow. If you can’t find help from your colleagues, reach out to your manager for assistance.

Seek out support

Seeking external support from a counsellor or therapist can be great to help manage work-related anxiety or stress. Bottling up anxiety can make you feel worse and limit your opportunities for recovery. “Identify a trusted supervisor and speak to them about what you’re experiencing, make use of Employee Assistance Programs, choose a sympathetic friend and have a chat,” Kingsmill says. Sometimes simply talking about your feelings can offer some relief.

Find fun in new hobbies

Finding new hobbies can help reduce stress levels, improve mental health and relieve anxiety. It also helps you connect with people who share similar interests and hobbies. Take a class, join a gym, the goal is to try something new. Pick one thing you always had an interest in. Try speaking with friends, family or even co-workers to see what they enjoy too. You may find that you have more similar interests than you initially thought you did. 

Three Steps to Help You Recover from Job Burnout


Rest and relaxation 

If you work in a high-pressure, high-stress job, it is important to take the necessary time off you need.  Even if you’re only taking one day off a week (can be a weekend day), it can help you recharge your batteries and get some perspective on what you value most in your career and life.

Take control of your life 

Take some time to reflect on your life and how you’re living it. Analyse your thoughts, feelings and emotions. This can help you identify the issues that led to you experiencing burnout.

Choose a path that suits you

Find a career that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Bear in mind that job satisfaction can come from many different aspects of your work life. It could be something concrete, like a raise or a new title, or something less tangible, such as a more satisfying daily routine. To find the right job for you, try exploring LinkedIn or reach out to recruiters in your field of interest. You might also benefit from working with a career coach who can help you identify your unique strengths.

Final Thoughts

With over 450 million people worldwide living with chronic stress, it is clear that there are major issues still prevalent in the corporate workplace. The good news is that there are resources available to help you get out of it so you can start feeling yourself again. 

Job burnout can be scary. But taking action when you initially identify it is critical. There will always be points in our life when we are faced with different stresses that are out of our control. Being able to tackle them before it is too late is what can put you ahead in the long term. 

With the help of this article, you will now know how to identify if you are experiencing job burnout and have some advice on how to get yourself out of it.