Jun 20 · 2 min read

A state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by a prolonged period of stress and frustration causing cynicism and feeling of low personal accomplishment.

At DevOps Days Seattle, Karthik Gaekwad spoke about Mental Health Studies and DevOps.

IT industry is famous for burnouts. But research shows that doctors, nurses, radiologists and teachers have high burnout too. And the same results in them leaving the profession. That was surprising for me.

The origin, studies and measurements

The term coined in the ’70s by Dr Herbert Freudenberger, taking the analogy of a burned-out house.

If you have ever seen a building that has been burned out, you know it’s a devastating sight… some bricks or concrete may be left; some outline of windows. Indeed, the outer shell may seem almost intact. Only if you venture inside will you be struck by the full force of the desolation.

According to the research, the three dimensions of burnout are:

  • Exhaustion — tired of work, difficulty to concentrate
  • Cynicism — lack of engagement in the work
  • Inefficacy — Lack of belief in one’s ability

Christina Maslach came up with the Maslach Burnout Inventory to help measure burnout in each of the above dimension. The measurement is on a frequency scale of 0–6.

The workload is usually the reason for burnout. But, it can also be because you are not enjoying what you are doing. Six components of a workplace environment can contribute to burnout:

  • Workload
  • Control
  • Reward
  • Community
  • Fairness
  • Values


A few things that may help to avoid burnouts are:

  • Learning to say “no”, prioritise your work
  • Figure out how to do more of what you love than what you hate
  • Having hobbies outside work
  • Eating healthy food
  • Exercising regularly
  • Take regular breaks from work
  • Meditation to self-heal and get out of the noise within

It is difficult for one to analyse and take actions when burned out. That is when friends or peers can help. We can help by being a listener. Having a mentor and being a mentor also helps.


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CTO/Programmer @ GetYogaTree.com, Bangalore. Pragmatic & Passionate Programmer, Continuous Delivery Evangelist. continuousdelivery.in

Continuous Delivery

Tidbits about Continuous Delivery

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