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Here's How to Quantify Your Burnout at Work

Lissa wants to start a dialogue to change the world of work for the better, by making it safer, fairer, healthier, and happier.

If you constantly feel like you're burning the match at both ends, you may be experiencing burnout.

If you constantly feel like you're burning the match at both ends, you may be experiencing burnout.

Have you ever experienced periods of exhaustion and chronic stress from work that leave you drained at the end of the day, dreading the moment when you wake up and have to start all over again? Have you lost all of your enthusiasm for going to work, and lost your energy to do anything but the most basic tasks? Do you frequently experience headaches, insomnia from revenge bedtime procrastination, and physical fatigue? If so, you may be suffering from burnout.

Burnout became a serious problem for workers in the 2020s, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic wiping out healthcare professionals, and widespread income inequality that is made worse by rapid inflation and a trickle-up economic trend where wealth is hoarded by the people in power. Billionaires got way richer during the pandemic! Money doesn't go as far as it used to, forcing professionals to work longer hours and take on side hustle after side hustle to make ends meet. With hustle culture's pressure to monetize everything, even hobbies, it's no wonder that burnout is so prevalent in our society. "Profit over people" has trumped "people over profit."

Burnout may seem like something that everyone goes through at some point, but some people are affected far more seriously than others. It's important to notice just how much burnout is affecting you so you can figure out what you can do to help yourself recover. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), created by Dr. Christina Maslach and Dr. Susan E. Jackson, is a useful scale to measure your burnout in the workplace. It measures burnout on three scales: occupational exhaustion, depersonalization and loss of empathy, and your sense of personal achievement at work (or lack thereof).

MBI Occupational Exhaustion Scale

This scale measures how emotionally exhausted you feel at work, with higher scores corresponding to higher levels of burnout. Take this quiz to examine whether work tires you out only every once in a while, or every single day.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. I feel emotionally exhausted because of my work.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  2. I feel worn out at the end of the workday.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  3. I feel tired when I wake up in the morning and realize I have a whole day at work ahead.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  4. Working with people the whole day is stressful for me.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  5. I feel burned out because of my workload.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  6. I feel frustrated at work.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  7. I feel like I work too hard for what I'm being paid.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a day
    • Every day
  8. I feel like my coworkers and managers contact me too often.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  9. I feel like I am at my wit's end.
    • Never
    • A few times a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. I feel emotionally exhausted because of my work.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  2. I feel worn out at the end of the workday.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  3. I feel tired when I wake up in the morning and realize I have a whole day at work ahead.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  4. Working with people the whole day is stressful for me.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  5. I feel burned out because of my workload.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  6. I feel frustrated at work.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  7. I feel like I work too hard for what I'm being paid.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a day: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  8. I feel like my coworkers and managers contact me too often.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  9. I feel like I am at my wit's end.
    • Never: +0 points
    • A few times a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 13 means: You have low levels of occupational exhaustion.

A score between 14 and 27 means: You are experiencing moderate levels of occupational exhaustion.

A score between 28 and 36 means: You have a high degree of occupational exhaustion.

A score between 37 and 40 means: You have a very high degree of occupational exhaustion.

A score between 41 and 45 means: You have an extreme degree of occupational exhaustion.

MBI Depersonalization/Loss of Empathy Scale

Being burned out can change the way you interact with others and interact with your job tasks. If you feel distant from the purpose of your job, you lose your energy for your daily tasks and risk falling behind. If you begin losing the ability to see the humanity in your clients and coworkers, or stop caring about them, this is a bad sign of burnout. Take this quiz to see whether depersonalization and loss of empathy have affected you in the workplace.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. I feel like I treat some clients/colleagues impersonally.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  2. I feel annoyed or resentful with my clients/colleagues.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  3. I feel like I have become more callous to people since starting this job.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  4. I'm afraid that my experiences at work have hardened my emotions.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  5. I feel like I'm not really interested with what is going on with my colleagues.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • At least once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  6. I feel like my colleagues blame me for some of their problems.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a day
    • Every day

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. I feel like I treat some clients/colleagues impersonally.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  2. I feel annoyed or resentful with my clients/colleagues.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  3. I feel like I have become more callous to people since starting this job.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  4. I'm afraid that my experiences at work have hardened my emotions.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  5. I feel like I'm not really interested with what is going on with my colleagues.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • At least once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  6. I feel like my colleagues blame me for some of their problems.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a day: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
Scroll to Continue

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 9 means: You have a low degree of depersonalization and loss of empathy.

A score between 10 and 18 means: You have a moderate degree of depersonalization and loss of empathy.

A score between 19 and 24 means: You have a high degree of depersonalization and loss of empathy.

A score between 25 and 27 means: You have a very high degree of depersonalization and loss of empathy.

A score between 28 and 30 means: You have an extreme degree of depersonalization and loss of empathy.

MBI Personal Accomplishment Scale

When you're burned out and overworked, it can be hard to see the things you have accomplished in your professional life. A sense of personal satisfaction at work should be the battery that keeps your company running. If you score high on this quiz, you likely have lost satisfaction in your current position due to burnout.

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. I cannot easily understand the actions of my peers and supervisors.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  2. I feel like I can't deal with other people's problems successfully.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  3. I feel like my work doesn't have a positive influence on the lives of other people.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  4. I feel unappreciated at work.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  5. I can't find a way to build a relaxed atmosphere in my work environment.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  6. I feel bored and unsatisfied at work.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day
  7. I feel like I am not making progress towards my goals at work.
    • Never
    • At least once a year
    • Once a month
    • Once a week
    • Several times a week
    • Every day

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. I cannot easily understand the actions of my peers and supervisors.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  2. I feel like I can't deal with other people's problems successfully.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  3. I feel like my work doesn't have a positive influence on the lives of other people.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  4. I feel unappreciated at work.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  5. I can't find a way to build a relaxed atmosphere in my work environment.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  6. I feel bored and unsatisfied at work.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points
  7. I feel like I am not making progress towards my goals at work.
    • Never: +0 points
    • At least once a year: +1 point
    • Once a month: +2 points
    • Once a week: +3 points
    • Several times a week: +4 points
    • Every day: +5 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between 0 and 10 means: You haven't lost much of your sense of personal achievement at work.

A score between 11 and 21 means: You've moderately lost your sense of personal achievement at work.

A score between 22 and 28 means: You've lost quite a bit of your sense of personal achievement at work.

A score between 29 and 31 means: You are deeply unsatisfied with your lack of personal achievement at work.

A score between 32 and 35 means: You are completely demotivated at work.

What To Do If You're Experiencing High Levels Of Burnout

If you are very burned out with your job or experiencing problems at work, remember that there are resources out there to help you. You can talk to your doctor about physical symptoms of burnout such as frequent headaches and hair loss, or you can talk to a therapist about the things that you experience at work.

If you're at the point where you're having suicidal thoughts, you can call one of these hotlines and talk to someone. When you don't have the strength to go on, there will always be people to pull you back up, but they need to know what you're going through in order to help you. Getting help may feel like the hardest thing you've ever done. You are not weak for asking for help. Actually, that's your power, the power that you have to get yourself out of a bad situation. There is nothing stronger than choosing hope in the face of despair.

Venting to a trusted friend can also provide an outlet for these difficult feelings. It's not always a good idea to vent to a coworker, as this could backfire if they run straight to your boss. However, when you find someone you can trust, stick with them and keep that solidarity going. Maybe you can work together to make conditions better at your workplace, and help to reduce each other's stress. Joining or starting a union can also be a powerful way to create positive changes within your company.

Only bring up burnout with your boss if you have a really close relationship with your boss and you can trust them not to fire you or take other disciplinary action. If you do trust your boss to solve problems and listen without retaliation, however, it may be helpful to bring up your concerns with them. Go in with the approach that you're not trying to harm your company, you're trying to make it better.

In America, the Department of Labor has a ton of information and resources to help you learn about workers' rights, and other countries have equivalent branches in their governments. If necessary, there are places where you can report violations if your employer is doing something illegal such as stealing your tips, or if someone is sexually harassing you at work. If the way your employer is treating you is not only harmful, but illegal, bring them to justice.

Another thing that can help is to use your PTO to take a mental health day, and take your required breaks. If you're struggling, you deserve that time away from working to rest. In all areas of life, especially work, it's important to set boundaries. Step away from your desk while taking a break to enforce them. When taking PTO, turn off your phone and catch up on your sleep or go spend time with your family and friends. You accrued that time, you legally earned it.

If things are really bad to where these things aren't helping, and your workplace doesn't respect you or your mental health, it may be best to quit and find a better job. Maybe you could even try a new career in a different field. We spend so much time at work, and we see our coworkers more often than our family and friends. It is absolutely vital to make sure you can find fulfillment in that time. You only get one life, one chance to be happy, and if work makes you miserable, it's okay to quit to do something that you actually want to wake up for. Take the value you provide to someone who values you in return. Your happiness and health are more important than someone else’s profit.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Lissa Clason

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