Burnout: The Empty Teapot


Carol B offers her personal metaphor for burnout in Christina Maslach‘s quintessential, and my favorite book on burnout: Burnout the Cost of Caring.

“When I try to describe my experience to someone else, I use the analogy of a teapot. Just like a teapot, I was on the fire, with water boiling – working hard to handle problems and do good. But after several years, the water had boiled away, and yet I was still on the fire – a burned-out teapot in danger of cracking.”

I first read this in 1983 and resonated strongly with the description but unfortunately I am seeing far too many burned-out teapots today from healthcare workers to home-workers!

As a Canadian, I hope my American friends will use this Thanksgiving weekend to ‘put more water in your teapots.’ We need good recovery as a resource to meet the demands of our work. We need to be hearty in our work not suffering from a permanent hardening of our human heart in relationships to our work.

In January of 2021, I will be offering online workshops, facilitation, and coaching to dampen the flames of burnout. If you are interested leave a comment or direct message.

In the interim take care and carry on caring.


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