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Study Finds Burnout Is the New Normal

Topics: Current Events

It doesn’t take a bevy of research studies to tell us that Americans are working harder than ever. But, how we are processing and managing the stressful pace of our lives deserves a closer look.


(Photo Credit: r.nial.bradshaw/Flickr)

The results of new Staples Advantage survey of over 2,000 people, reported on by Molly Triffin of Yahoo Health, provide a fascinating look at the relationship between stress and job satisfaction. Here’s what the survey showed.

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1. Most workers feel overloaded.

According to the survey, 53 percent of employees report feeling overworked. To break it down further, 39 percent of people reported occasionally working on weekends, 35 percent work overtime to complete their tasks, and nearly half reported eating lunch at their desks in order to meet the expectations of their jobs.

2. Despite this, 86 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs.

Apparently, feeling overworked isn’t having the negative effect we might imagine. Despite the high stress, long hours, and heavy workloads, 86 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs. Have we become conditioned to accept the pressure and demands of modern workplace culture to the point that extreme levels of engagement and stress are no longer bothersome? Apparently so.

3. Hopefully, it’s because we care about our careers and believe in our work.

Burnout doesn’t necessarily come from the demands of the work itself; the pressure might just be self-imposed. According to the survey, 41 percent of employees put pressure on themselves to perform. Hopefully, folks are finding a way to love their jobs even though they are under tremendous pressure, because they care about their careers and believe in the work they’re doing.

“You might take on too much because you’re so passionate about getting involved,” said Charles D. Kerns, professor of applied behavioral science at Pepperdine University. “Sure, you might be exhausted at the end of the day, but if your work is meaningful, you might want it to be all-encompassing.”

4. Maybe burnout is the new normal.

There might be another reason that workers report solid job satisfaction despite their long hours: they don’t dare wish for more. We’ve gotten so used to toiling away that we’ve stopped even questioning our fast-paced lifestyles. But, research finds that working too hard does take a toll on our health and happiness. Despite the normalized nature of our frenzied pace, it would be wise to consider the long-term consequences.

For more information, check out the key takeaways from The Staples Advantage Workplace Index: Measuring Workplace Trends and Work Culture.

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