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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Robinson Bruner

Burnout vs Engagement

Updated: Mar 27

burnt match amongst new matches

The alarm goes off and you cringe realizing it is another Monday. So, you lie in bed a little longer. You’re still tired. But, it’s more than just being sleepy. You stop to think, “why do I want to stay in bed?” The only reason that comes to mind is the knowledge of the day ahead will drain all of your energy and all of your time. But it wasn’t always like this. You enjoyed your work. You made a difference. You felt accomplished at some point.

But, not now.

What happened? How did you get to this point? How do you get back to feeling like your time, efforts, and work are worth something?

The problem is ….


“What started out as important, meaningful and challenging work becomes unfulfilling and meaningless” (Maslach, Schaufeli & Leiter, 2001). According to Maslach & Leiter (2016), burnout is the psychological syndrome that involves a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job

Burnout comprises of three aspects: exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. Exhaustion is the individual strain on experiences in the social context of work. Cynicism (or depersonalization) is a negative, calloused, or excessively detached response to various aspects of the job. Finally, inefficacy results in feelings of incompetence with a lack of achievement and productivity at work.

Burnout is not stress

Stress is a state of over-engagement. You’re working hard, sometimes all night to meet a deadline. You’re juggling an ever-increasing workload. Plus, you have to deal with the issues of life like kids, aging parents, strained relationships, financial hardships and whatever new thing the day brings. But, you’re doing it all. Most people can manage this state for a short period of time.

However after an extended period of time with continued stress, you will reach the state of burnout where you go the opposite direction. Instead of trying to juggle all of these responsibilities (or stressors) you dis-engage from them. This leaves you in a state of burnout.



Engagement is an "energetic state of involvement with personally fulfilling activities that enhance one’s sense of professional efficacy and is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption" (McGray, Waldo, & Van Son, 2018). Engaged staff have a heightened sense of emotional, behavioral, and psychological connection with their organizations and work. They are fulfilled and resilient individuals who are connected to and supported by a network of similarly engaged colleagues with a shared purpose, working together as high functioning teams to achieve a shared client-centered mission (Swensen & Shanafelt, 2020).

Wouldn’t you rather have an engaged staff at your organization?


Glad●ED Solutions offers organizational training to develop an engaged workforce. In a fast-changing world, we need information that can help us stay effective, increase sales and achieve our mission. Glad●ED Solutions offers succinct, research-based, experienced-informed training coupled with a pragmatic action plan for implementation. We provide training that produces results.

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