According to research psychologists, burnout has three dimensions: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization (or cynicism), and the feeling of personal inefficacy. To measure it, they administer a questionnaire called the Maslach Burnout Inventory, named for Christina Maslach, a leading burnout researcher for four decades.
Maslach and her coauthor, Michael Leiter, identify six main causes of burnout that arise within organizations: too much work, lack of control, too little reward, unfairness, conflicting values, and the breakdown of community. If you experience these in your job for long enough, you’re likely to go home every day feeling empty, bitter, and useless.
One of the advantages of working for a Tier 1 public university in the U.S. is the access to excellent (and inexpensive) professional development opportunities. I’ve been attending seminars offered by the Human Dimensions of Organizations program at UT Austin (I do four of the one-day seminars and I get a certificate. But even as stand-alone programs, they’re excellent.) I’m usually skeptical of any self-help seminars or talks but these are led by UT faculty from the Department of Cognitive Psychology and all material is backed by solid field-tested academic research. As an aside, check out the Two Guys on Your Head podcast on our local NPR station led by one of the HDO professors; its a fun and educational seven-minutes every week.)
Anyway, this post is mostly for my reference in transcribing and collating my handwritten (apparently handwritten notes are better for memory retention than ones taken on your laptop (I knew it!).) Behaviorally, since you can’t write as fast as the presenter talks, you try to summarize in your head first and write next whereas on your laptop, you’re basically transcribing)) notes from the latest seminar I attended, Maximizing Mental Agility led by Dr. Art Markman. So this may be long but here goes: