Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feeling ‘drained’, and also may have the dimension of frustration and/or negative emotions and cynical behaviour, and as a result reduced professional efficacy within the workplace.
Occupational burnout is typically and particularly found within human service professions. Such jobs that naturally experience high levels of occupational burnout include: social workers, nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, physicians, customer service representatives, and police officers. One reason why burnout is so prevalent within the human services field is due in part, to the high stress work environment and emotional demands that might be independent of the effort exerted by the individual.
The individuals who are most vulnerable to occupational burnout are ones who are strongly motivated, dedicated, and involved in the work in which they partake. As work for these individuals is the source of importance in which they derive meaning in life, it is significant that they find meaning by achieving their goals and expectations. Burnout problems may lead to general health problems because of the stress becoming chronic, symptoms like headaches, colds, insomnia may appear together with overall tiredness. At this point the person may attempt self-medication like drinking alcohol, smoking, taking sleep pills, stimulants like coffee, mood elevators, etc. which may pose a further risk for his health.