Sticking to a job and emotional exhaustion

People may become more emotionally exhausted if they feel the need to remain in a job out of a sense of obligation, new research has suggested. Published in the journal Human Relations, the study revealed individuals can suffer from a state of physical and mental depletion as a consequence of sticking in a role where they feel continuous stress.

Investigators from the Universite de Montreal, HEC Montreal and the Concordia University found burnout can become a real issue for employees who feel a duty to stay on in a position or are uncertain about opportunities for alternative posts outside of their current place of work.

Alexandra Panaccio, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at the John Molson School of Business in Concordia, said: "When employees stay with their organisation because they feel that they have no other options ... they are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion."

The investigation also found that individuals with greater self-esteem are often those most affected by the belief that there is a lack of employment alternatives for them to turn toward.

Dr Mike Drayton, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "This study makes a lot of sense. Everybody knows how miserable it feels to be in a job you hate, but are, for whatever reason, unable to leave.

"There is a wealth of psychological research into anxiety and depression that cites a perceived lack of control over one's life as being a major predictor of human misery.

"Often there is a reality to this in that people are trapped in a rotten job because of financial reasons. However, this can also be a perception rather than reality.

"Psychologists can help in two ways. First, they might be able to help the unhappy worker change their perception and find meaning and satisfaction in work they previously disliked.

"Second, the psychologist may be able to encourage the unhappy worker to be able to consider and find the courage to explore the wealth of opportunities that most people have available to them in a rich western country like the UK."