Categories for Burnout

Cutting Through Cynicism With Authentic Appreciation – Part I

  “Are you kidding me? They don’t care about us.” “They don’t give a rip about me. It’s all about my performance. If I meet my performance goals, they’re happy. If I don’t, I’m gone.”   As I’ve worked with more facilities across the country, I’ve become aware that a large number of employees have a very cynical reaction to any discussion of positive communication from their supervisors, and sometimes, even their co-workers. The lack of genuineness in communicating appreciation may be the single biggest barrier to positive workplace relationships. One of the contributing factors to these underlying attitudes of cynicism... Continue reading...

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March 31, 2016 11:04 am
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Years of Service Award Leads to $30,000 Fine

You may or may not know that the #1 reason employees are recognized is for their length of service with their organization. Individuals routinely receive recognition and some tangible reward (a certificate, a watch, bonus check) for being employed for 1 year, 5 years, etc. [By the way, I use the term “being employed” deliberately, as opposed to “working” for reasons to become evident.] Recently, an employee was found to be receiving his annual salary even though he had not shown up to work for at least six years!  Ironically, he may have gone undetected for longer except that his... Continue reading...

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March 2, 2016 7:00 am
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An Antidote For Disengagement: Being Appreciative For Your Job

Gallup reported on January 13 that only 32% of U.S. employees are actively engaged in their work from a mental, emotional and volitional (a choice of the will) point of view.  Conversely, 50.8% of employees were found to be “not engaged” and 17.2% are “actively disengaged”.  This latter group is a dangerous one — they are actually actively working at cross-purposes with their employer, doing things to make things worse in their workplace. Much of the blame for this sad state in our work environments is being placed fully and solely on the shoulders of supervisors, managers and employers, a position... Continue reading...

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January 28, 2016 9:48 am
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What to Do When You Are Overwhelmed at Work

According to research conducted by Deloitte and reported on Forbes.com, “two-thirds of today’s employees feel ‘overwhelmed.’” Because of the “proliferation of technology,” work-life balance has disappeared and the barriers that traditionally kept work and home separate have broken down. The study identified the following key factors as contributing to feeling overwhelmed at work: • Working too hard (40% of men work more than 50 hours per week) • Distraction/multitasking (i.e., checking phones 150 times per day, literally) • Information overload including: emails, conference calls, meetings and other distractions If you are one of the two-thirds of employees feeling overwhelmed and... Continue reading...

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March 31, 2015 1:05 pm
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Are you dreading work this week? Do you want to know why?

The Labor Day weekend is past. Summer is officially over. And what do you have to look forward to? A week back at work, followed by another week at work, and another. Sound exciting? Or depressing? If you are like a majority of people in the U.S and Canada, you are not looking forward to work this week — and at least half of you are actually dreading returning to work. A critical question is: Do you know why? If you don’t, read on. A second key question is: Do you know how bad your workplace really is?Is it “normally... Continue reading...

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September 1, 2014 10:18 pm
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What Does the “I Quit” Viral Video Tell Us? (Resend)

Friends, I am aware that the links to the two video clips did not work (they somehow got changed in the posting process).  I have corrected the links and you should be able to view the videos now.  Sorry for the inconvenience! *     *      *     *     *     * About a week ago, a frustrated young professional posted a video announcing and celebrating her quitting her job (ironically, at a company who creates videos to be watched on the Internet).  If you haven’t seen the video yet, please click here and take two minutes to watch it.  Why?  Well, first, it... Continue reading...

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October 10, 2013 8:30 am
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How to Avoid Holiday Burnout

“The holidays.”  Those two words are packed with memories, fleeting media images and mixed emotional reactions.  The Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s holiday season has begun, and if you are like me, with them come a rapid succession of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, and a sense of tiredness (and I haven’t even done anything yet.) We are planning the extended family Thanksgiving gathering – deciding who is hosting the meal, who will be able to come (and who is going to the “other side” of the family), what favorite recipes people will bring, and what activities will be planned (shopping, playing and watching... Continue reading...

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November 11, 2011 12:40 pm
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Lessons Learned from Media Interviews

In the past two weeks since the launch of Dr. Chapman’s and my book, the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, I have had over 20 media interviews — radio (mostly), TV, and print.  It has been a fun and interesting experience — and I have more to do in the coming weeks. I thought I would share some of the lessons and observations I have made from these interviews with radio & TV hosts, and magazine writers. Most people understand and agree that appreciation in the workplace is needed and can be extremely impactful. Everyone sees that the... Continue reading...

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August 13, 2011 11:04 am
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Revisiting the Meaning of “Vacation”

This past week I had the privilege of taking a short vacation to the mountains in Colorado with my wife.  We had a delightful time (just the two of us, our four kids are ‘out and about’.)  We were in awe of the majesty of the mountains; we couldn’t believe how many trees there were (alive and dead); and we loved the power and beauty of the rushing rivers. While enjoying the time away from work, being with my wife, and in nature, I had some time to reflect on “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and often... Continue reading...

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June 24, 2011 4:58 pm
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Rejuvenation — What re-energizes you?

I am just returning from a few days off. And it never ceases to amaze me how different people are in what constitutes a “vacation”. I think it is critical to know what rejuvenates you and to actively include these activities in your schedule. I will admit that I am not very good at taking long vacations (although I am starting to think about them more seriously), but I do think I am fairly good at knowing what re-energizes me, and including those activities in my daily and weekly schedule. Unfortunately, I think the media blitz we all face daily... Continue reading...

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August 24, 2010 7:54 pm
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The Dreaded “B” Word: Busyness

OK, first things first.  I am a busy person. Currently, too busy.  (I am writing this as I sit on a plane flying to Chicago for a business meeting.)  So this is one of those entries where I call on the “psychologist’s privilege” of being able to expound on principles that I do not have implemented in my life yet.  The principles are true.  I’m just not consistently applying them. (Ask my wife) Busyness and the holidays seem to go hand-in-hand.  There is the “normal” busyness of life – work, family, home responsibilities, extended family, friends, leisure activities, and community... Continue reading...

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December 4, 2009 2:49 pm
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Subtle Aspects of Life That Wear Us Out

Part of my job as a psychologist is to observe — observe patterns of behavior, be attune to my own thoughts and feelings, and to derive some potentially helpful information form patterns I see. In recent months and weeks, I have observed some factors in life that really wear people down — they are not really hidden but are often subtle. Sometimes they are obvious and plain, but people (both the person experiencing the aspect of life as well as those around them) tend to minimize the impact of the issue on their life. So let me share some of... Continue reading...

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August 2, 2009 8:37 pm
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Dealing with the Impact of the Economic Downturn

Almost all of us in the United States are now starting to personally experience some aspect of the global and national economic crisis.  Whether it is through a personal or family job loss, friends and extended family members who have been laid off, a slow down in your business, or projected reduced sales for next year — the impact is now personal.  This is different than hearing it on the news or reading statistics in a publication. I resent the frenzy and panic the media seems to want to whip up, because this type of communication doesn’t help anyone.  We... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2008 2:17 pm
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Handling the Stress of Election Night Returns

I just finished traveling from Wichita to San Francisco this Election Day and was reflecting on the stress of prior Election Nights. So I thought I’d give a few suggestions for each of us to manage our stress successfully. Manage your expectations.  Regardless of your political affiliation or views, it is probable that not all of your desired results will happen.  In fact, it is highly likely that you will be disappointed with some of the election results. When this happens, your life (or even your day) probably isn’t ruined. Realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you and want... Continue reading...

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November 4, 2008 11:58 am
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Antidote to Stressful News

Major (repeated) upheaval in the financial markets.  Hurricane Ike.  Flooding across the Midwest.  Concerns about who will be elected President (from both sides). Bombings in Pakistan.  Political turmoil in Bolivia and Venezuela.  The negative, worry-producing news keeps coming. What’s a person to do?  Ignore it?  Stress out?  Drink more? (I heard a news report that beer and wine sales are up significantly in the last 6 months.) Previously, I have written about the role of thankfulness and gratitude in helping us live more contentedly. Rather than pontificate on the subject further, I thought I would share the things in my... Continue reading...

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September 21, 2008 6:45 pm
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Dealing with Being Overwhelmed Successfully (Reprise)

After being on the road for a week in California, I came home fairly tired. As the weekend progressed I seemed to get more tired — both emotionally and physically. And as I started dealing with home-related (e.g. lawn) and family matters, as well as getting caught up on some minor office work and then looking ahead to the beginning of next week, I started feeling emotionally overloaded. So I started taking a personal inventory of what was going on. I thought about my own advice I’ve given previously on different types of tiredness and different types of rest as... Continue reading...

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September 7, 2008 7:04 pm
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Are you tired? Understanding and Dealing with Different Types of Tiredness

Partly in reflecting on my own life this past week, I have become aware of different types of tiredness we may experience from time to time. First, obviously, there is physical weariness, which can either come from hard physical labor (or exercise) or, more likely, from not sleeping enough. Some research suggests up to 40% of Americans are severely sleep deprived (and the percentage is higher for high school & college students). If you consistently wake up tired, become sleepy during the day, or fall asleep when you sit down for a few minutes, you probably need to get more... Continue reading...

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June 29, 2008 6:55 pm
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