Burnout is caused by resentment

Marissa Mayer from Google spoke at the 92nd St. Y last night. One thing she touched on is employee burnout.

Her theory is that burnout is caused by resentment.

When people have to make sacrifices for work - like missing their child’s soccer game - they end up being resentful. She is proactive with her employees to make sure they don’t experience lots of resentment-causing activities. If being at tuesday night dinner with friends is the one thing you need to keep you happy, you should be there every week.

True. Somehow this reminded me of Joel Spolsky's book, "User Interface Design for Programmers" where he states - Controlling Your Environment Makes You Happy.

The more you feel that you can control your environment, and that the things you do are actually working, the happier you are. When you find yourself frustrated, angry, and upset, it's probably because of something that happened that you could not control: even something small. The space bar on your keyboard is not working well. When you type, some of the words are stuck together. This gets frustrating, because you are pressing the space bar and nothing is happening. The key to your front door doesn't work very well. When you try to turn it, it sticks. Another tiny frustration. These things add up; these are the things that make us unhappy on a day-to-day basis. Even though they seem too petty to dwell on (I mean, there are people starving in Africa, for heaven's sake, I can't get upset about space bars), nonetheless they change our moods.

Not being in control of your environment makes you unhappy and resent the situation, more loss of control, more resentment and result is burnout. "Jugaad" - an Indian term meaning a creative idea, or a quick workaround to get through commercial, logistic or law issues works for the time being but too much of Jugaad leads to frustration and ultimately burnout.