“Whether or not you believe in a soul, I think there’s something here about the shallowness of much of the prevalent discussion about burnout. It’s often talked of as if it is primarily a matter of overwork or undercompensation, a byproduct of economic precarity (or, perhaps the intention of it, inasmuch as burnout serves corporate means by creating a populace too exhausted to advocate for change). And while too much work and too few social systems are obvious underpinnings for burnout, I tend to think they are useful but inadequate descriptors. There’s something especially crushing about the feeling of burnout that can’t be explained by economics and labor relations, and can’t be solved by unions and four-day workweeks (though those would help a great many things). I don’t know that I can fully get behind Estés’ spiritual framework, but I am prepared to say that until or if the discourse around burnout evolves to consider the meaning of work and not only the conditions of it, we will continue to drift among the ashes.”
I read this a while back and have kept coming back to this paragraph. The way we talk about burnout, after having read a book and a lot of articles about it, isn't really getting at the real problem. I think Mandy is on to something with how she points that out and especially in her allusion to the meaning of work.