Career Talk This Week: Is Burnout Real?

Hello biotechies,

Two months ago, the World Health Organisation upgraded burnout from a “state” of exhaustion to a “syndrome” resulting from “chronic workplace stress” in its International Disease Classification. If you look at it closely, it’s such a broad definition that could apply to most people at some point at work. Is burnout real? Yes, it is. But it is in danger of medicalising our everyday distress. If almost everyone suffers from burnout, then no one really does, and the concept loses its credibility.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t confuse burnout with stress. Feeling overwhelmed at times is natural – it’s evidence of our responsible engagement in meaningful work. Burnout is more of emotional exhaustion that is “persistent” and impairing. It stems from too many demands and too little control and support. The sad thing is, we’ve created an unrealistic and misleading expectation that everyone should be happy and stress-free at all times, and if they’re not, it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. By emphasising our commitment to wellness, we sometimes put us at risk of making promises that we can’t keep – which may again lead to stress, detachment, and probably also less investment in work. Sounds a lot like burnout, doesn’t it?

Stop medicalising everyday stress and discomfort as burnout. Instead, we should realise that the emotional labour we invest in our job could stem from a significant source of unreasonable demand and is worth considering and managing. And that would be the only key to building a sustainable life.

Here come the jobs of the week. 😊

Job hunt frustration? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Check out the exclusive offer from MDC or become an Account Manager at Cambridge Cancer Genomics. Just starting out? Check out the internship at Sanofi!

Exclusive Offers

Research Scientist at Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. Berlin, Germany. Click here

Research & Development

Research Associate at Sanofi. Ghent, Belgium. Click here


Scientist (Biotechnology) at CureVac AG. Tübingen, Germany. Click here

Business Development & Marketing

Marketing Senior Manager (Oncology/Haematology) at Amgen. Cambridge, UK. Click here

Account Manager at Cambridge Cancer Genomics. Cambridge, UK. Click here

Clinical & Production

Junior Clinical Research Associate at Medpace. Munich, Germany. Click here

Biotechnology Process Expert (Gene Therapy) at Takeda. Vienna, Austria. Click here


Internship at Sanofi. Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Click here

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