It’s Time For A Wake-up Call: We’re Burning Out


Some conversations open your mind just that little bit more than others. They make you stop and reflect. They make you question the way things are done, and spark thoughts that bounce around inside your head like firecrackers.

I had one of those conversations this week when we spoke with My Holland, Founder and Director of EQ at Happiness Quotient. My dedicates her work to nurturing happiness in life and at work by exploring resilience, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness. She’s also recently published a book on the subject.

I’m fascinated about the role happiness has to play in our working lives. Acknowledging that the definition of happiness is subjective, My says that we project our happiness at work and at home completely differently.

“We have put ourselves in the mindset that from Monday to Friday, we can’t be happy” she says. “The fact we’ve put ourselves there means we’re in debt before we even get to work. And if we’ve already decided we’re not going to be happy, how can we ever expect to grow?”

The point that struck me most from our conversation was My’s observation that we’ve come to accept that stress is necessary for success and this can (and often does) become the context in which we operate.

What’s more worrying is the fact that burnout is not only real but is something that’s lurking beneath the surface in many organizations. And those employees who are highly engaged are actually more susceptible to reaching burnout first.

My believes we’re at crisis point and that it’s time for a wake-up call. Judging by what I’ve seen personally, I couldn’t agree more. Emotional and physical exhaustion are becoming endemic in organizations across the world. And the biggest issue is that many leaders aren’t even aware that it’s going on.

In this day and age, leaders need to be constantly tuned into how people are feeling so they can pick up the signs before it’s too late. And it’s also their responsibility to proactively promote positivity from the top. As My says, positive emotion is the foundation of a sustainable and strong workplace culture. One where there is trust, where people feel safe to say how they really feel and where people are happy.

There’s never been a more important time to focus on promoting and nurturing happiness at work.

My will be speaking at Humanity in Business’ Leading Happy Workplaces event on 6th September in Sydney. Use the code ‘jobvibe’ to get 20% off your ticket.

Tim Mullen

Tim is Co-Founder and Head of Customer Experience at Jobvibe. We help teams work better together. Jobvibe is a simple, smart mobile platform to gather real-time feedback from your team, openly discuss results and improve the way you work together.