Karl’s co-workers have noticed that he hasn’t been himself lately. Once collaborative, energetic, and deadline-driven, Karl now snaps at people in meetings, is lethargic, and requires multiple reminders to submit his reports. He always seems to be watching the clock, yet constantly complains about feeling like he doesn’t have enough time in the day to get everything done.
Karl is exhibiting classic signs of burnout. Coined in the 1970s by the psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, there is no single, widely accepted definition of burnout1. However, it’s become a fairly widespread modern malady, due in part to our always-on culture.