Addressing Burnout: The Problem with Passion

[Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
Foundant Team Member

At the end of the day, we all want to go home feeling inspired and fueled by a day of purposeful engagement and passionate work. But what if we are already at home? And how does one remain passionate when their work exists in the vague and intangible realm of the digital world? We all experience ebbs and flows and then abruptly, a wall.

So, what is burnout? According to WHO it is characterized by three dimensions: 1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.

Working in philanthropy provides a forum for purpose-driven work that can do more to significantly increase your risk of burnout. Why? Because despite there being benefits to doing what you love, data show that being passionate about your work can also lead to a higher level of stress and feelings of low self-efficacy. Mission-focused executives, non-profit employees, teachers/principals, nurses, and physicians are some of the people most at-risk for burnout.

I want to reach out to the community and ask what are some ways we can prevent ourselves, colleagues, and loved ones from exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout? Research shows that setting boundaries is a good first step in better serving yourself. If you are a leader then empathy is the first phase in preventing burnout in your team. What strategies are you employing to minimize burnout for both yourself and those around you?  

ZachWahrer[Deleted User]KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)MikaylaValeCoryLazenbyKentWeimerTrishBachmanDwanaBackLamberson


  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited October 2020

    Great questions @karlkaiser. As you know we are looking at this issue at Foundant and working towards ways to continue to and to better suppoort our team. I'm looking forward to hearing from our community about what they are doing.

    [Deleted User]
  • kimzimmerkimzimmer Posts: 6
    Voter 5 Likes Photogenic First Compass Anniversary

    Creating a routine! Having set days where I workout at the crack of dawn (so I'm forced to go to bed at 9 PM the night before), cooking more meals from home, and coming into the office most days so I'm not completely distracted, like I get when I try to work all day at home. I'm also working harder on accountability amongst my friend group so we get outside for coffee in the park, trail runs around town, short after work mountain bike rides (soon to be midweek Bridger laps and headlamp ski tours), or just beers in someone's backyard. Also working on resting when I need to, taking naps, and eating popcorn for dinner sometimes.

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)[Deleted User][Deleted User]KentWeimer
  • ECPollickByrnesECPollickByrnes Posts: 20
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    For all my podcast peeps out there, a fellow CSM at Foundant (Thanks @JoshuaBernard!) introduced me to Work Life with Adam Grant, which is excellent. There was a recent episode discussing burnout in the workplace that is a really easy listen if anyone is interested!:

    TammyTilzeyJanRodusky[Deleted User]KentWeimer
  • These are all great replies and I think the discussion continues to be relevant as we continue through this tumultuous year and into the next. As we persevere, I think burnout is becoming a catch-all for complex emotions—grief, stress, loneliness—that most of us simply are not accustomed to in the workplace, at least at the scale we’re seeing now. I saw a quote that I liked recently regarding how we cope and how we talk about it with our colleagues "… having these open personal conversations and linking them to work and to organizational health and performance matters. It mattered before the pandemic, but it matters more than ever now."

    Keep discussing, acknowledging, and supporting each other!

    MeredithEdwardsKaraAdams (Former Community Manager)TammyTilzey
  • BethanyMPlantonBethanyMPlanton Posts: 10
    World Traveler Grant Professional Certified GrantHub Second Compass Anniversary

    The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman has some great information related to burnout both individually and as a sector.

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)TammyTilzeyTrishBachmanlesakaye
  • TrishBachmanTrishBachman Posts: 22
    Partner Grant Professional Certified GrantHub Second Compass Anniversary

    Did you catch today's webinar FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING: HOW TO BUILD CAREER RESILIENCE with @JoMiller and @lesakaye ? Resiliency is part of burnout recovery and prevention. Check it out!

  • KathyButtonKathyButton Posts: 7
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    edited August 2021

    Passion that is unsupported led to burnout for me. I had to be my own support when my team went through some major changes and left me out of the communication loop. It took some time to work through the loss of passion for my job and I had to just do the job for a while. I am in a "wait and see" phase as I decide whether or not to move on to a new position.

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)TammyTilzeyBethanyMPlanton
  • TrishBachmanTrishBachman Posts: 22
    Partner Grant Professional Certified GrantHub Second Compass Anniversary

    More great resources to help you manage the symptoms of burnout! I recommend Redefining Anxiety by Dr. John Deloney.

    KaraAdams (Former Community Manager)TammyTilzey
  • "Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job" was the number one reason I am no longer at my previous job. Although I have been working very long hours at my current job, I haven't experienced burnout in the same way. The difference is my current supervisor is continuously both showing his appreciation for my job performance and providing opportunities for professional growth. Also, he is very observant so that when I do get exhausted from overworking too much, he will give me 2 or 3 authorized days off (without having to use vacation or sick leave). He also gave me supplemental pay for doing my former coworker's job after he suddenly passed away. Knowing you are appreciated, valued, and compensated for your efforts is a strong preventative measure to counter burnout!

  • Those feelings are why I am now on my way out of my current job of 15 years. I was in the "wait and see" mode in June, now it's more "waiting to go." I am planning on taking a couple of months to reset and repair myself before even looking for a new position. Sounds like your current supervisor really gets it. I have never been compensated for taking on another person's job. I even delayed my own plans to sell my house and move by several months (which cost me quite a bit) to cover for a coworker, with a very high work load, that went on an unexpected, lengthy maternity leave.

  • Kara Adams, M.Ed., CAE (she/her/hers)|Community Manager|[email protected]

    Headquartered: Bozeman, MT| Remote Location: Chicago, IL | Direct: 312-802-1374 ||

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