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BURNOUT FACTORS: RISK AND PREVENTION
Burnout occurs when there’s mismatch between a person and their work environment. The first step in preventing burnout is identifying the factors that have a big impact on whether the work conflicts with the person.
Authors: Kelli N. Dunlap, PsyD & Raffael Boccamazzo, PsyD
Burnout occurs when there’s mismatch between a person and their work environment. The first step in preventing burnout is identifying the factors that have a big impact on whether the work conflicts with the person. While there are countless ways conflict between a person and their work can show up, burnout research has generally found six major contributing factors: workload, reward, control, community, fairness, and values.
Breaking down the 6 Factors of Burnout
Saying ‘yes’ to everything? Just one more project and then you can rest? The amount of work you take on can put you at risk for burnout when there’s mismatch between the amount of work required and your ability to do it sustainably.
Goal: Set and maintain boundaries that separate content creation work time from personal time.
No one likes to be micromanaged or to feel like they don’t have any say in in their work. This is especially true for content creators who tend to be a creative, independent, and self-motivating lot. Despite often being their own bosses, content creators are still beholden to others, like fans, platforms, or sponsors. Feeling like you don’t get a say in setting your own goals, or how you achieve those goals, can put you at risk of burnout.
Goal: Focus on improving and perfecting your content and production rather than chasing trends.
Fairness refers to feelings of trust, openness, or respect between you and the work environment. For content creators, trust – or lack thereof – is largely a platform-level issue and not something you can just self-care yourself through. The platform treats you with respect, or it doesn’t.
Goal: Model fairness within your own community and hold platforms accountable when you can.
Content creators are all about giving to and fostering a sense of community. But this kind of work can be really lonely, and lacking a sense of belonging or community in the work space (e.g. peers, co-workers, colleagues) can contribute to burnout.
Goal: Develop, maintain, and protect relationships with other creators and with friends or peers who are completely disconnected from the content creation world.
This factor isn’t necessarily about the clicks or likes. It’s about the perceived mismatch between the effort you put into your work and what you get out it. Feeling like you’re busting your tail but going nowhere can speed up the path to burnout.
Goal: When possible, focus on work that is meaningful to you, and set reasonable and achievable goals and expectations.
Values is similar to Fairness, but has to do with the expressed values of the content platforms compared to how they act on them. It also has to do with the meaningfulness of your individual content. When there’s a mismatch between the things that are important to you and the things that are valued by the workplace (or fanbase), there’s a potential for burnout.
Goal: Make content that is meaningful to you that showcases what you care about.