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'Boring jobs can lead to burn-out'

Last updated on: June 28, 2011 08:22 IST

'Boring jobs can lead to burn-out'

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Finding your job monotonous? It's time you should try for a change, as it may make you vulnerable to 'burn-out', psychiatrists say.

The researchers at the University of Zaragoza in Spain believe that there is a distinct category of 'underchallenged' employees who end up finding they simply cannot take any more of the 'monotonous and unstimulating' tasks that they are expected to perform.

Such people 'have to cope with the disenchantment caused by feeling trapped in an occupational activity to which they are indifferent, which bores them and produces no gratification', lead author Jesus Montero-Marin was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

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"These employees present a cynical attitude and are invaded by guilty feelings due to the ambivalence they feel for their work and by their desire for change," he added.

According to the researchers, people working in administrative and service roles were most likely to be bored in their jobs, while men were more likely to suffer this type

of burn-out than women.

Montero-Marin and his colleagues speculated that was perhaps due to the fact that the role of males has always been linked to social expectations of professional development.

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They carried out a study in which 400 employees of the University of Zaragoza were questioned about their job and how happy they are with their profession.

They categorised two types of burn-out: 'frenetic', in which the employee works 'increasingly harder to the point of exhaustion'; and 'worn-out', where workers 'give up when faced with stress or lack of gratification'.

Unsurprisingly, those who worked longer hours were found more likely to suffer frenetic burn-out, the researchers reported in the journal BMC Psychiatry.

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Those who worked more than 40 hours a week were almost six times more likely to suffer this type of burn-out than those who worked less than 35 hours.

These people felt 'guilty when faced with the prospect of not achieving set goals, given the ambition and great need for achievement that characterise subjects with this profile'.

Longer-serving employees were more likely to be 'worn-out', with those clocking-up more than 16 years' service most at risk.

'The longer the service, the greater the likelihood of having this burn-out,' found the researchers.

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They adopted 'a passive coping strategy' -- which might explain why they had not left 'becoming ineffective in performing work tasks', Montero-Marin said.

However, he said that having a family could help protect workers against this type of burn-out.

"Having a family, partner or children can act as a protective 'cushion', because when people finish their day at work they leave their workplace worries behind them and focus on other kinds of tasks," he added.



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