f you are burned out at work chances are you feel a lack of energy and drive. In fact, the only drive you may have is just to survive the workday, or to hold on until the weekend. The lack of emotional energy in job related burnout often translates to physical exhaustion as well. Can you relate?
Have you seen people who genuinely enjoy their work and seem to have all the energy in the world for their job? If this is how you feel about your job then that’s awesome. You’ve probably found your true passion and are fulfilling your purpose in life.
You are in the zone. You don’t feel at all like you are laboring or slaving away at your work. Instead, you feel light and energetic as you make steady progress toward completing tasks. You are producing more than ever before and you feel 100% engaged. If you had to describe this in one word it might be vigor.
Vigor is an inner drive, a feeling of active strength with a healthy sense of mental and physical power. When you have vigor you feel completely vital and you approach work activity with an energetic intensity or force.
Vigor is one of the three hallmarks of work engagement – vigor, dedication and absorption – attributes precisely opposite of job burnout. Individuals who are engaged will:
• report positive emotions
• enjoy robust health
• report feelings of job happiness and satisfaction
• create their own work experience and find their own resources
• share the attributes of engagement with others
For perhaps 90% of workers, vigor is something which is diminished or absent when it comes to their job. In fact, vigor is usually the first attribute which is lost when suffering from job related burnout.
If you are wondering if you lack vigor when it comes to your work life, ask yourself this question. Do you seem to lack adequate energy to do your job properly yet find more than enough energy to do whatever you want once your are away from work?
If the answer is yes, you probably do lack vigor. The question then becomes, do you lack the other attributes of engagement – dedication and absorption – as well? If so, you have burned out at work.
If you are burned out there is a 90% chance it is not your fault. There are six major mismatches between the job and the employee which lead to burnout. You can take an on fire, dedicated, purpose driven employee and place them in the wrong work environment and they will burn out every time. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Vigor, dedication and absorption, the essence of work life engagement, can be fostered where absent and enriched where present. It begins by identifying the job-employee mismatches and then eliminating them from the workplace. I will write more about how in future posts.
In the meantime, do you feel you lack vigor? Do you feel you have demonstrated the hallmarks of job related burnout – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization (cynicism) and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment?