job burnout

Why Job Burnout Occurs (and 5 Steps to Fight It)


  • Job burnout is a factor in suicides, of which construction has a high rate.
  • Construction business owners can improve business outcomes by fostering work environments that minimize burnout.
  • People who feel burned out can use tactics to eliminate or reduce the stressors that cause the burnout.

Job burnout strikes in two ways: sudden and scalding, or slow and smoldering. It is often associated with people in high stress, fast-paced jobs, but there’s no escape for others who have toiled for a long time in the same work. Gradually, the work might stop providing the satisfaction it used to.

Construction business owners who get their businesses up and running smoothly often find themselves losing interest and removing themselves bit by bit from the daily activities. No matter why your own job burnout is happening, here are the causes and tips for dealing with it.

The Ticking Time Bomb Behind Burnout

In the extreme, job burnout can be a factor in leading to the decision to end one’s life. That’s a topic the construction industry has only recently started talking about, even though construction workers are the second most likely group of all industries to commit suicide. (Workers in farming, fishing and forestry have the highest suicide rate, while installation, maintenance, and repair occupations come in third.) Although we’re talking a very small percentage of construction workers (53.3 out of 100,000), construction’s large workforce means the occupation does comprise almost one-tenth of all suicides in the country.


Most people who experience job burnout don’t kill themselves—but they do live in a netherworld of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of uselessness.


Clearly, most people who experience job burnout don’t go on to kill themselves. However, they do live in a sort of netherworld where emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of uselessness dominate their waking hours. Since productivity is prized above all else in American business, people experiencing burnout often don’t get much help and are only viewed as a problem.

Workplace Trouble Signs

In many cases, employees don’t burn themselves out; it is the company that actually burns out the employee. By driving workers to be more and more productive, employers end up incurring a significant cost to their business. Turnover, absenteeism, poor work quality, customer dissatisfaction, and legal issues are bound to start plaguing any business with:

  • Overloaded workers
  • Micromanagement
  • Inadequate employee rewards
  • Unfairness
  • Values counter to employee values
  • A loss of community feelings

If your job burnout comes from the business environment, then you might have to change jobs. The long-term effects of a toxic work environment are never worth sticking around for.
When the burnout is fueled by your own perspectives or attitude, face up to them and find ways to improve how you see things. Click To Tweet

Is It Growing Pains?

People also get burned out in their jobs when they outgrow them or simply lose interest. In those cases, it’s time to reassess where your interests, skills, and passions lie. The journey to more rewarding work might require you to up your skills, glean new ones, or move to related work that is somehow different from what you have been doing.

Moving from one type of job to another has never been easier, thanks to technology and new ways of retraining. Often, the biggest challenge people face in moving on to work that fulfills them is overcoming the fear of change.

Tactics for Overcoming Burnout

If you are burned out on the job but can’t fairly blame the workplace, and you still feel the work is right for you, the Mayo Clinic has offered some steps that might help:

  1. Figure out what stressors fuel your burnout, and—if you have control over them—take action to reduce or eliminate their effects.
  2. If you don’t have control over the stressors, talk with your boss to see whether expectations, compromise, or new solutions will reduce or eliminate them.
  3. When the burnout is fueled by your own perspectives or attitudes, face up to them and find ways to improve how you see things. Try rediscovering aspects of the work that you stopped enjoying. Give recognition to others. Develop interests not associated with your job and pursue those.
  4. Talk to someone about how you feel. A friend or co-worker may have had similar experiences that you can relate to, or try counseling through an employee assistance program (if your workplace offers one). It might provide some good advice and tools.
  5. Take better care of your physical self. Do something fun outdoors; get adequate sleep and regular exercise.

Sign up. Stay fueled.