Burning Out – A Sign Of Weakness Or A Badge Of Honor?

burnout21Company culture is always an important consideration when looking for a new job. Everybody wants the perfect work-life balance, but is there ever really such a thing as “perfect.”

The truth is, company culture can often be perceived very differently by management vs. the everyday workforce. Take this story from The New York Times, or this one from Salon on the alleged “Burn and Churn” philosophy of Amazon.com and the effect it has had on some current and former employees.

Both stories collect “bruising” accounts of employees who have burnt out while working at the famous online retailer. But Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doesn’t see the same company some of his employees are talking about. In fact, he’s stated on the record that he would never work for a company that behaved in the manner described.

In a way, both Bezos and his employees are probably telling the truth. Whether it’s a small tech startup or a giant online empire, it’s not surprising that the CEO would view the glass half full. Some even come to view the whole concept of burning out as something of a badge of honor—a sign that they are truly taking it to the limit.

However, if you’re an employee being pressured to work longer hours, take fewer vacation days and be available electronically 24/7, you may relate to a few of the disgruntled former “Amabots” profiled in the story above.

It can be a real balancing act, which is probably why burnout is becoming such a hot topic in the modern work force.

So what do you think?

  • Have you experienced the “burn and churn” philosophy described in the articles above?
  • Is feeling burnt out at work a sign of weakness or a badge of honor for you?
  • What can an ambitious company do to create less stressful environments for their employees, while still staying ahead in a highly competitive market?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Then, check out the JumpStart job board to find open positions at companies all across Northeast Ohio.