It’s a new form of work-related depression that may well become more common in the coming years. Brown-out, which literally refers to a “drop in power”, affects more and more workers. But what is this new disorder and what are the symptoms to watch out for?
Brown-out must not be confused with burn-out, which describes a state of extreme exhaustion after prolonged exposure to stress, or with bore-out, also known as “professional exhaustion by boredom”, which affects people who have real dissatisfaction with their working lives.
Brown-out is a disorder that gnaws at people who are quite fit, but no longer find meaning in their work. This condition mainly affects people with a good level of education or skills and have to carry out tasks that they feel are degrading in relation to their knowledge and experience. This syndrome generally translates into a progressive disinterestedness and the feeling of each day performing absurd and meaningless tasks.
- The feeling of being useless. You feel useless and your motivation is at the lowest. You no longer feel any pleasure from your work. Even if you don’t overlook any of the work you have to deal with, weariness overcomes you and you are no longer interested. You are not stimulated any more and so lose confidence in yourself and your skills.
- Loss of meaning. You no longer understand your role in the company. You are not counting your hours at the office, but you no longer recognize yourself in your work and have difficulty completing the projects entrusted to you.
- Devaluation. You have the impression that you are no longer indispensable and important for the company you work for. You have the feeling of being useless and it is eating you up.
- Decreased commitment. You have become the champion of absence notes. You run away from meetings and take sick leave more and more often, because you no longer have the motivation.
- Turning in on yourself. Your sense of humour has disappeared, you cry more often and you are more irritable.
- Physical problems. Physical signs can appear: you are not sleeping well, your diet leaves somewhat to be desired, which translates into a drop in energy.
- Emotional disengagement. This devaluation of yourself and weariness are felt even in your personal life. You may no longer feel useful in your own family and no longer feel like going out or seeing friends.
How to get out of it?
Once the symptoms have been identified, it is necessary to see a doctor. As with burn-out, this will most certainly require management and stopping work.