Highly sensitive people have long been termed the “canary in the coal mine” meaning our finely tuned nervous systems pick up on potential danger or hazards long before those with less sensitive nervous systems. Now, employers are starting to FINALLY sense that there may be a problem with burnout among employees as they leave by the millions!
Pause for just a second to let that one sink in: it’s taken the mass resignation of MILLIONS of employees to make these huge impersonal, profit-driven, corporate machines, that chew people up and spit them out, finally wake up to a problem we HSPs have known and talked about for decades…
Research cited in the article suggests that there are six key areas for improvement:
– creating manageable workloads
-giving employees control over their jobs, to the extent possible
-rewarding and acknowledging good work, either financially or verbally
-treating workers fairly and equitably
-helping workers find value in their work
ALL of these are areas that I wrote about in Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career in 2015!! HSPs told me about issues concerning lack of ANY feedback, lack of autonomy (a huge one for HSPs), too much to do in too short a time with too few staff, need for meaningful work, and feeling a part of something bigger than oneself. These are not new revelations that the corporate world has suddenly discovered because they are HUMAN needs.I admit to being skeptical about the long-term changes being entertained at the moment by employers.
HSPs especially need to be concerned with aligning career with their unique needs or risk being the canary that is continually alerting inside. You will very likely face burnout in conditions that fail to support your needs for autonomy, challenge, meaningfulness, or where there are ethical concerns that come into play. Self-care away all you want but if you don’t work to align your needs with what is demanded of you while you are at work the majority of your waking hours your health will suffer, both physical and emotional, your family will suffer as you return home off-balance and frazzled, and your life will be less joyful, relaxed, and balanced.
I have sadly had to witness this burnout phenomenon in a friend working 80+ hours a week, all day Zoom meetings, and so stretched thin that the result was physical collapse. It’s more than a few workers not being able to “take it,” or not being “tough enough.” It’s about a fundamental inequity between the need for companies to structure work in such a way that it both allows them to make a profit while providing working conditions that suit HUMAN needs. And, being flexible enough to understand that may look different in different people.
My intuition tells me this time it’s up to the people to take work back!! I do not know what some of these folks are doing that are resigning but hopefully they are capitalizing on the shortage and using that as leverage to demand the conditions that they so desperately need. Look, I do not mind hard work at all. I do not mind extending myself out there to accommodate an unplanned for need, but I do mind when the culture needs to shift because it no longer serves the needs of people at THIS time. In the case of culture, we all get a vote and many are voting with their feet… It’s about time….
Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career