You’re Not Lazy. You’re Just Burnt Out.

May 19th, 2022

We see you. Tired. Having trouble concentrating. Uninspired. But we’re not here to call you out for being lazy and procrastinating. We’re here to tell you you’re just burnt out.

What is burnout?

The World Health Organization defines burnout as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Although first defined in 2019, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought more attention to burnout and its long-term effects but has also shed light on just how rampant burnout is among working individuals.

Workers in the ad industry can be especially prone to burnout because they often wear many different hats in the workplace, are constantly “on,” and are expected to keep up with an ever-changing industry, its platforms, rules, policies and more. Sometimes, it’s seen as part of the “culture” or disguised as “the hustle.” But not all agencies that hustle have burnt-out employees. And not all employees that wear more than one hat are burnt out.

What does burnout look like?

It isn’t boredom or a couple of lazy days; it’s not procrastinating on one project or delaying an email. It’s mental and physical and can look like this:

Physical Symptoms

  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Getting sick often
  • Trouble concentrating

Mental Symptoms

  • Increased cynicism about one’s job
  • Everything feels overwhelming
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities and challenges
  • Procrastination
  • Loss of motivation
  • Depression

It’s important to note that not everyone will experience burnout in the same way. Some people get burnt out more easily than others, and not everyone will feel burnt out from the same things. In fact, there’s three different kinds of burnout. The three types are:

Overload burnout

This one’s for the workaholics. People that wear too many hats – more than one job, volunteering, side gigs, professional activities – often find themselves burnt out after short periods of time.

Under-challenge burnout

This occurs when an individual feels bored, unappreciated, or lacks opportunity for growth in their professional setting. We’re humans, and we’re constantly looking for the next best thing. If there’s no room for growth, naturally, we become uninspired and unmotivated.

Neglect burnout

Neglect burnout typically occurs when employees feel helpless at work. These individuals tend to be passive and unproductive because they feel they cannot keep up with the demands in the workplace.

Ultimately, in the workplace, burnout can lead to lower levels of confidence, productivity, and employee morale. On the individual level, burnout can create an exhausting cycle of stress, lack of motivation, and fatigue.

Keeping Burnout at Bay

Burnout isn’t what it once was. It isn’t just being extra tired after a couple of long days. It’s draining, complex, and can be difficult to overcome. In our next blog, we’ll uncover how both employees and employers can help keep burnout at bay.