Burnout: glass half full or half empty?

Published on: 11 July 2017

Burnouts are a growing social and human problem. More than 120,000 people have been home for more than a year, many of them with a burnout.

That ever-increasing quantity might make us forget the seriousness of these people's suffering. The immense fatigue, the heavily emotional aspect, the cognitive and physical consequences... we don't wish a burnout on anyone. But is there a positive side to this serious question? According to Serge Simonet there is. As Senior Manager, Organisational Consultant and founder of Human Pathways, Serge knows the material inside out. He also knows it first hand. Several years ago - in 2002 to be precise - Serge experienced a burnout that he overcame successfully.

‘There is a Serge before the burnout and a Serge afterwards. It was an enormous blow but I learned my lesson and now I look at life completely differently. Much more consciously, more mildly and an easier to maintain lifestyle.’ And it certainly can be positive to seize the opportunity to change your way of life. In the maelstrom of daily life and without coaching it can be very difficult, or even impossible, to critically examine your way of thinking and acting and to change your environment (at home, at work and outside work).

When you are struck down by a burnout, you get one gift in return: time. And that is what we are missing in the day-to-day rat race. That and the support to be able to analyse things in a substantiated manner. It might seem obvious that stress is the culprit, but the problems, causes and effects are not simple or easy to identify.

It can even be difficult to make employees conscious of stress and to realise the consequences. Stress is often seen as something positive. And it is, in small doses. The entire stress system enables our species to survive. The fight or flight reflex, which ensures that we defend ourselves or run away from a threat, is triggered by stress. But protracted stress has serious negative effects. “Continuously putting a team under pressure has a negative effect in 80% of the cases. The effect is devastating on a neuropsychological level. Stress is actually a primitive reaction to an external threat. In the animal kingdom, where primitive instincts rule, that external threat can be a predator. In the contemporary world, that predator is inside us, so to speak, and is much more difficult to combat.”

Select HR organises many seminars on this topic, together with speakers like Serge Simonet and Michael Portzky. Group S also makes a contribution by clearly outlining the legal framework. We offer a 360° view of the material in a professional environment. Afterwards, it is good to work preventively and, if necessary, curatively by tackling stress management and burnout in the company. Serge Simonet, Michael Portzky and other experienced consultants offer the necessary support to tackle everything in a structural and thorough way. And that is truly vital.