One of the ways we become more resilient in our work environments, argues psychologist Robert Wicks, is by identifying the levels of burnout in our jobs. In his book, “Bounce: Living the Resilient Life,” Wicks lists the symptoms of work burnout: frustration, apathy, helplessness, impatience, cynicism, a significant decline in one’s professional self-esteem and confidence, feeling overwhelmed, and being unable to experience pleasure.
A person who is experiencing level-one burnout may experience mild symptoms here and there. At the second level, the symptoms become more regular and acute. By the third level, the person’s symptoms are chronic and some kind of physical illness has usually developed. Wicks argues that we need to take preventative measures and identify the first two levels of burnout in our work, because once we cross the third level, recovery entails considerable time and effort.