Although stress was already rife pre-Covid, the pandemic drastically compounded this, and there has been a significant upsurge in burnout globally. A simple Google SA trends search of the term ‘feeling burnout’ indicates breakout activity over the past 12 months. This means that the search term grew by more than 5 000%. Also, up by 300% in the same period, is ‘psychological stress – illness’. The search phrase ‘burnout signs and symptoms’ increased by 100%.
‘Burnout’ is a phrase first coined in the ‘70s by Herbert Freudenberger, an American psychologist. Initially, it was used to describe the effect of severe stress in healthcare professions, including caretaking. Still, it has grown into a condition that continues to impact corporate leaders and executives, and even celebrities and homemakers.
The World Health Organisation categorised burnout as a ‘syndrome’ that develops as a ‘result of chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. To that extent, according to a new survey published in Forbes in February 2021, ‘leaders and employees are burning out at record rates.’ Some standout statistics from this study revealed that;
• Almost 60% of leaders feel depleted at the end of the workday (a key indicator of burnout).
• About 44% of leaders who feel this way are expected to manage company growth, and of that group, 26% will leave within a year.
• 80% of these leaders believe they are ineffective at leading virtually.
Beyond Burnout is the raw narrative by Frank Vos in which he recounts his ‘crash and burn’ at the pinnacle of his career. He shares his honest and authentic experience, exposing his defining moments as lessons for his readers. He also offers practical advice and valuable tools to individuals who need to remain a pillar of strength to their organisation, for their loved ones and just as importantly, for themselves.
While there is a plethora of content on the subject of burnout as it becomes the norm in our modern, always-on lives, there are fewer personal accounts of acute burnout that serve as an earnest warning and guide for survival, underpinned by neuroscience.
“I am not the only one who has fallen on his sword because of stress, and I won’t be the last. This book reveals how my career as a CEO of a multinational company’s subsidiary came to an abrupt end after two decades. It left me shattered and without identity. Through a journey of recovery and personal growth, I was pulled back from the brink of a complete meltdown. It is also a culmination of my research and has been written to help those who find themselves in demanding careers and/or life situations, and are struggling with their purpose and happiness,” says Vos.
Beyond Burnout will reverberate with many a leader today whose world has been turned upside down. It is available on www.vosconsulting.co.za. RRP R300.
First published on: ForbesAfrica