I am passionate about marketers having successful and fulfilling careers, but one of the key signs we still have a way to go in achieving this, is the rise in burnout. But what truly, is it? 

Burnout a terminology a lot of you may have heard and maybe even used, but a term whose definition can definitely be misconstrued and used freely.

True burnout means chronic exhaustion and being unable to get out of bed, true burnout cannot be solved by a long weekend away or chilling out in front of Netflix to recharge your batteries. When it does occur it can take weeks, if not months, to truly recover from.

The signs of that you may be heading for burning out may include the inability to sleep, feelings of overwhelm or irritability with things you normally enjoy or wouldn't bother you, lack of motivation, fulfilment, and energy.  Feelings of constantly having to dig deep to carry on and perform, and reduction in desire to want to socialise or do activities you normally enjoy due to tiredness or overwhelm.

True burnout, which I have personally experienced is truly awful and is something we have to get a handle on in our industry. Which is why I’m on a mission to start getting our profession to increase awareness of the signs and to act, for themselves and for marketers in their care to prevent others from experiencing it.

Burnout vs. burning out.

Burning out, or starting to burnout, maybe a more accurate definition of what many experience, and it is also really important to acknowledge this, as it means we are starting to notice patterns in our behaviours, and we are using our understanding of self to notice the signs that we may indeed not be our normal selves.

 And if we don't address these feelings and start prioritising our own care, then we may indeed be heading for true burnout.

What leads to burnout?

I have found that burnout occurs when we are experiencing long periods of prolonged stress, whether professional or personal and we have a driver within us to be perfect, please others and try harder. 

The combination of the two for a period of time ultimately leads to true burnout. Ask yourself:

+ Do you know what your drivers are?

+ Are you experiencing a stressful work or life event or both?

+ Are you experiencing any of the above signs?

Why its continuing to rise in our marketing profession?

Burnout cases in our profession are rising and being acknowledged, which is not surprising as we often experience periods of prolonged stress; working towards a launch, coupling long-term strategy with in-year execution, increased accountability, and pressure to deliver the commercial number, often with changes happening all around us from changing in leadership and ownerships. 

Just look back over the past 4 years... we’re constantly responding to market and societal changes as a result of perma-crisis and the constant pivoting.  How we plan and execute is evolving too - shifting from our planned calendar of activities and anticipated seasonal peaks to needing to become more responsive to consumer demands and changes. Our ‘always on’ way in which we activate in market providing less clarity on when there will be demand peaks and lessening our ability to plan and resource accordingly.

But what are we going to start doing about it?

However, acknowledgment isn't enough to prevent it from occurring.

We need to ensure manageable workloads through providing clarity, focus and clear prioritisation - we can do anything, not everything.

For the marketers in your care, support them to develop their personal understanding and awareness of self - to define what drives them and what they need to have in place to ensure they are feeling balanced and looking after themselves, especially in times of prolonged stress.

Finally, build awareness of the signs of burnout and provide opportunities for psychologically safe conversations of these signs and how you can work together to address them.

If we want to reverse the rise of burnout in our profession, we need to be proactive in noticing the signs and taking action to stop it happening. 

If you want help on increasing awareness of the signs and overcoming burnout then CLICK HERE