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About Everything Wiki » Work and Study » How to recognize the "burnout culture" in a company before getting a job

How to recognize the "burnout culture" in a company before getting a job

29 May 2023, 13:56, parser
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Where does burnout come from

Burnout is a state of Burnout / Mental Health UK physical and emotional exhaustion. It's normal to feel overwhelmed and tired from work from time to time. But if such feelings become permanent, despite all efforts to cope with them, perhaps you are faced with burnout, and the problem is hidden in the corporate culture.

Researchers distinguish C. Maslach, M. P. Leiter, S. E. Jackson. Making a significant difference with burnout interventions: Researcher and practitioner collaboration / Journal of Organizational Behavior six main reasons for burnout at work:

  • unstable load;
  • palpable lack of control;
  • insufficient reward for efforts;
  • lack of support from others;
  • injustice;
  • mismatch of values and skills.

If you've ever worked anywhere, you've most likely come across all this. Some managers either do not notice, or do not attach absolutely no importance to the fact that subordinates are constantly in a state of stress, depression or anger. Some even seem to like it. But in the early stages of job search, signs of a toxic "burnout culture" often go unnoticed. The following tips will help you recognize dangerous signals.

How to notice signs of a "burnout culture"

In the job description

Certain words, phrases and other "beacons" in ads help to assume with a high degree of probability that burnout is waiting for you in the company. Here are some examples:

  • High performance culture. There are employees who succeed in responsible work with strict requirements, but most need a supportive environment to work productively for more than a couple of months.
  • Stress resistance. If the job description mentions stress, it is better to stay away from the employer. Especially wordings like "the ability to work in a stressful situation" should be alerted. This means that the company is aware of the burnout of employees, but they believe that the problem is in people, not in working conditions.
  • Ability to work under pressure. Is not an option for the same reasons as stress tolerance.
  • We are looking for a "rock star" or "ninja". Such a phrase has no place in an ad, unless Metallica is looking for a new bass player. Real rock stars are not particularly strong in paperwork, first quarter meetings and team building trainings every Wednesday. Just like a ninja. Employers using such descriptions do not seem to have a clear idea of the employee with what qualifications they need. And it sounds like they need someone they can just use to their advantage.
  • We're a family. Such a phrase may indicate that there are no boundaries in the team. The family does not pay you money to come home and to the celebrations, but demands loyalty and devotion of a different kind, which the employer does not have the right to demand.
  • No mention of salary. This may mean that the company does not have an open and fair remuneration system. And if we are talking about working in an office without a flexible schedule, most likely there are also trust problems.
  • "Eternal" offer. If you see the same vacancy that appears regularly or does not close for a long time, then either the vacancy is not real, or the job is so unpleasant that no one agrees to it.

In the process of employment

Employers who are looking for stress-resistant accountants-"ninja", in fact, save time for thoughtful applicants, because they immediately make it clear: they should not send a resume to them. But often toxic companies disguise themselves well, and it looks like they are offering a normal position in an ordinary office. Dangerous "bells" appear only in the process of employment.

Employee reviews, for example, on HeadHunter, other thematic sites or in social networks, will help to collect truthful information about the company. If there is something wrong with the corporate culture, most likely someone has already told about it publicly.

The process that precedes the interview also speaks volumes. Unprofessional or frankly rude letters and untimely responses may indicate a mess in the company and disrespect for applicants, or both at once. Confusion about what responsibilities you have to perform, lack of clarity with whom you can talk about it or when and where the interview will take place — all these are also signs of disorganization, and disorganized offices are often filled with burned-out employees.

Another alarming signal is that you are being invited to an interview unreasonably quickly. This may indicate problems with planning in the company, and if you still agree to work in it, you will have to extinguish endless "fires".

At the interview

This stage is your chance to really explore the situation in the company and feel how much you fit into it. But first you need to pay attention to the general atmosphere. Do the employees look happy? Does anyone in the waiting room whisper "run" to you?

There are working conditions that demoralize everyone without exception. And there are those who are great for one employee and cause horror in another. Therefore, at the interview, you need to ask about what you seriously care about. This statement is trite, but it is true: you "interview" the company in the same way as it interviews you.

Experts advise How to tell if a potential employer has a burnout culture / Harvard Business Review ask questions related to each of the six causes of burnout at work. For example:

  • How long is the standard working time? How often do employees work on weekends? How does the company prioritize tasks and avoid overloading? (Unstable workload.)
  • Can I decide on my own when to do my work during the day? How do the company distribute tasks and set deadlines? (Lack of control.)
  • What criteria do I need to meet to get a promotion? How often do employees move to a higher position? Does the company pay for advanced training courses? (Insufficient remuneration.)
  • How do you give employees feedback? How does the company deal with conflicts? How would you describe the general mood in the team? (Lack of support.)
  • By what indicators do the company evaluate employees? Who and how considers questions about promotion? (Injustice.)
  • How is the position related to the company's mission? How does the team's work affect the company's goals? (Mismatch of values and skills.)

If the answers to the questions seem too vague, feel free to ask for specific examples. Even if the question makes you uncomfortable, it's worth asking. For example: "What do you do if an employee makes a mistake?"

Listen carefully to the answers and look for signs of evasiveness, impatience and dishonesty. When you ask specific questions, you should get simple answers. If your question came as a surprise and the interlocutor does not know what to say, you should hear a polite "I will find out everything and I will definitely tell you", and then really get an answer.

There is no perfect job. Burnout can overtake you even in the most beautiful position in the most beautiful office. But the more careful you are when applying for employment, the more chances you have to find a job where it does not threaten you in the first months.

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