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Stop that flame: Burnout doesn't have to be lethal

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If you want to be in vogue in business today, you need a cell phone, a company-logo polo shirt and volumes of complaints about being overworked, underpaid and just on the verge of burnout.

Really, what would people say if they asked how you were doing and you said, "Absolutely exceptional. I am getting 10 hours of sleep each night, eating a plant-based diet and making money faster than I can get it socked away in my 42 mutual funds?"

Let's go back to the burnout. Come on, admit it, it is a great word to drop between munchies at happy hour, but it is serious and happening with greater frequency in this overheated economy.

If you want to know if you are in burnout (or a whiner in need of new material), here are the five stages of this malady.

The first stage is called exaggerated enthusiasm. Do you remember how you felt when you came back after the final employment interview and you heard the words, "We are extending an invitation for you to join our team?"

It was the job you have always wanted. You went home to tell a significant other, "Our worries are over I am going to be so happy there. Everyone is so nice. They gave me a company ball cap, the bathrooms never run out of paper towels, they already told me I am a shoe-in for Employee of the Month. I can have all the coffee I want and it is free!"

You may want to note the euphoria. Burnout actually begins with you putting on the rose-colored glasses.

The second stage is stagnation. It doesn't take long to figure out that all the promises may not be kept. Your coworkers are not always nice, the ball cap cost your employer $1.29 when purchased in bulk, you still haven't made Employee of the Month (and probably never will because your supervisor seems to think you are just a cut above garden mulch), and the coffee does run out and no one takes the initiative to make a new pot.

The third stage you undoubtedly have seen anger. Mr. Nice Guy evaporates. You are incensed that people made promises to you which they have not kept. In your opinion, you have been betrayed.

The anger stage is often punctuated with uncharacteristic outbursts in front of coworkers or even customers, intentional sabotage or very public sulking. You want everyone to know how ticked off you are that the organization has lied to you.

The fourth stage is the most devastating[[In-content Ad]]

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