Freudenberger and North created an abstract model of burnout outlining a twelve-stage process.  These are more of a suggestion than an actual diagnostic process, the steps do not have to occur in order, or some at all.  Others have reported experiencing two or three stages at the same time.  It is an individual process unique to victim.

  1. Compulsion to prove oneself, excessive ambition
  2. Working harder, taking on more work to realize ambition
  3. Neglecting personal needs, the self disappears for the company
  4. Displacement of conflicts, can’t see roots of problems, physical symptoms begin
  5. Revision of values, changed perceptions, emotions become blunted
  6. Denial of emerging problems, problems are caused be everything other than them
  7. Withdrawal, loss of hope or direction, seek release through alcohol and drugs
  8. Obvious behavioral changes, usually fearful, shy and apathetic, increasing feeling of worthlessness
  9. Depersonalization, detached from the world and then divorced from themselves
  10. Inner Emptiness, leisure time becomes dead life time,
  11. Depression, indifferent, hopeless, apathetic, life loses meaning
  12. Burnout syndrome, suicidal thoughts become the release mechanism

These phases have become the standard for gauging how far into the burnout process someone is.  It has been handout, preached, and reproached since its inception.  Due partially to the readers’ ability to identify with the stages and fear of stress’ effects on them.


Is your organization riddled with burnout? Contact Jumpstart:HR and find out ways to help put out the fire of stress and burnout.

Burnout Week is brought to you by Richard Ludvigsen (@HRmagician), Jumpstart:HR HR Generalist and HR Project Manager: