Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” It manifests itself in ways including anxiety, loss of motivation and confidence, and even degradation of physical health. Burnout can be prevalent in organizations that promote hero culture and where employees maintain a strong sense of duty or feel they have no alternatives in the employment market.


The following seems to be a reasonable approach to figuring out work-related burnout:

Determine if the causes are localized (self-inflicted). Determine if the causes are external (management, work environment, etc.) and if it can be changed. Find someplace new if the issues can’t be fixed.


At the 2014 DevOpsDays Pittsburgh conference, Jennifer Davis gave a talk titled, “From Hero to Zero” (updated at DevOpsDays Boston 2014 ) which sparked additional exploration of burnout during an Open Space discussion.

The site was originally built with IT professionals in mind, but the concepts here can apply to many other fields as well.