Episode 91.5 – Green Apple Slice


Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Harvard Business Review article, “Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness” by Emma Seppala and Marissa King.


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    John: Hello. Happy Monday. Here I am with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I’m excited, because this is episode number 30 with Rachel Fisch. Rachel!

    Rachel: Hey.

    John: Yes. Absolutely. The accounting group leader for Sage. Look at me nailing it.

    Rachel: See, now I have to quit and get a new job again.

    John: No, no, no. Don’t. It’s been so fun, and I know people have really enjoyed hearing from us. We read an article that we see during the week and then talk about it. It’s been a blast. I can’t believe it’s already number 30.

    Rachel: I know. That’s awesome. Happy anniversary.

    John: Yeah. Look at us. I don’t know what 30 is.

    Rachel: It’s an apple. It’s a green apple.

    John: Aww, look at you. This week, I found a really great article on Harvard Business Review. It was “Burnout at Work isn’t Just About Exhaustion, It’s Also About Loneliness”, which I thought was really fascinating. It was an article by Emma Seppala and Marissa King. I thought it was really good.

    Rachel: I really like it when you have two things that seem completely unrelated and yet are proven to not only be kind of related but really deep-seated related. This was actually one of those things. I really love this kind of relational things like this with the burnout and the loneliness.

    It talked about the level of exhaustion that people feel generally speaking and within their jobs and stuff like that. Basically, it said that close to 50% of people say that they are often or always exhausted due to work.

    I have two kids. I travel quite a bit for work. I don’t know what is emotional exhaustion, what is actual exhaustion. It’s hard for me to tell. I just feel exhausted all the time, but to actually pinpoint where that comes from – it could be my ten-year-old wanting to climb in bed because she’s got nightmares in the middle of the night, and then I don’t sleep for the rest of the night, or it could be that emotional exhaustion just from working my butt off.

    To me, though, it just feels exhausted. There are other things like depression and other elements, and I don’t mean to speak of this lightly whatsoever, that also have that exhausted feeling to them as well. How they pinpoint what is causing it, I don’t know, but what I found really interesting is that there was really clearly a correlation between these two.

    It was talking about this University of California Irvine study that says that obesity reduces longevity by about 20%, drinking by 30%, smoking by 50%, but loneliness – 70%. That’s crazy.

    John: Yeah. It’s crazy too that it’s one of those “Does the exhaustion feed the loneliness?” type of a thing. Yeah. It’s a spiral that can get dangerous for sure.

    Rachel: From my experience, it absolutely is. You’re exhausted, and then you don’t want to socialize with anybody, and then you just want to hide under the covers all day, but then you don’t ever get that energy to want to get out of bed and have to be with people and stuff like that. I can definitely see how once you get into that funk, it’s really hard to get out of, for sure.

    John: Right. They had some suggestions that companies can do to try to keep that from happening, because a lot of times, for the exhaustion, the work-life balance, or trying to do different activities and things like that, it’s actually just have a positive social network with your coworkers is really the number one thing to combat that, which I think is pretty fascinating, because that’s not the first thing that you would think of – or I didn’t, anyway.

    Rachel: No, it absolutely isn’t. In some cases, it may not be at that level where having a social event at your workplace is going to get you up out of that. There may be some other deep-seated issues. But one of the things that I really found great was that basically it said that the most important factor in work happiness is positive social relationships with the co-workers.

    I definitely think that loneliness is kind of feeding a disconnectedness. If you can reconnect, then that might kind of kick that into high gear as well. I thought that that was really a positive thing, for sure.

    John: Yeah. Something else that they said that I thought was interesting was just “Celebrate collective successes”, because then it makes it kind of a sense of belonging. People are attached to the organization and to the group. It’s not an individual thing. It’s “We all did this” sort of a thing. It kind of just helps people embrace that connectedness with everyone.

    Rachel: I think in many cases, when there does appear to be an individual win, that individual may not have gotten that win without the support of that team. Recognizing that that team did influence or have something to do with that I think is definitely a positive thing to do.

    It really doesn’t even need to be a mind-blowing success. It’s really important I think personally to celebrate the small successes, as well.

    John: Right. Like episode number 30, right?

    Rachel: That’s right.

    John: That’s a nice, random number. Absolutely. Thank you so much, Rachel. This has been so fantastic, and everyone can see a link to the article at greenapplepodcast.com, and you can follow us on Twitter @greenapplepod or @fischbooks or @recoveringcpa.

    If you have 60 seconds, just go leave a review on iTunes. That’d be really fantastic. I found out that’s how the algorithm works. The more people that do that, it helps us out. Really appreciate it.

    Rachel: Yeah. That’d be great.

    John: Yeah. Thank you so much, Rachel, have a good rest of the week.

    Rachel: Of course. You too, John. Talk to you later.

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