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I don't think this is true. Occupations that have very positive social impact can have very high burnout rates--it's not as if burnout and depression are unheard of among teachers and social workers, for instance.

You're confusing cause and effect, to a certain degree. The feeling that your work is meaningless can be a symptom of burnout itself. People who do work that clearly improves other people's lives can still feel that their work is meaningless.




I can imagine there are many teachers and social workers who burn out due to feeling like they're not making an impact no matter how hard they try.

I don't think he's confusing cause and effect. There are instances where burnout is caused by a lack of purpose provided by the job. Just because there are instances of work feeling meaningless caused by burnout, doesn't mean the inverse cannot happen.

> People who do work that clearly improves other people's lives can still feel that their work is meaningless.

I can't imagine this is common. For someone to feel this way, I feel, they probably have underlying issues of existential origin. This is assuming the person is directly doing work that is improving someone else's life.


They also burn out from work load. In my city, county social workers have a case load of ~60 youth they are supposed to be meeting with and providing services to every week. They are clearly being set up to fail.

Consequently, the yearly turnover rate is approximately 30 percent.


>I can't imagine this is common. For someone to feel this way, I feel, they probably have underlying issues of existential origin. This is assuming the person is directly doing work that is improving someone else's life.

Most people are employed in the course of something important and/or useful, even if it's tedious or boring.

There's a strong argument that some of the least skilled jobs provide some of our most critically important functions. Those positions are low paid because there are lot of people willing and able to do them, not because they aren't needed.

I think claiming "my work is meaningless" is just a broad expression of workplace dissatisfaction and not really specific enough to mean anything. The position itself likely has an important function or no one would be willing to pay for it.


Not really, you just have to work for completely inept management that stymies or stonewalls your every effort to improve the situation.


I often say that bad management makes good people go bad. Which covers a whole gamut of personal and career dysfunction...even when you know it's happening and try to fight it you can still be suborned into burnout and depression. After 30+ years in the biz I became acutely aware of this.

teaching itself is a noble profession, but teaching within the constraints, limitations, and structural flaws of the American public education institution can absolutely feel like "doing wrong" a lot of the time.


Also, help people is high stress, and people fight back hard against help (for example, try convince someone to quit drugs).




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