College of Education and Human Development Statue

Celebrating Our Past. Transforming The Future.


This fall, the College of Education and Human Development will begin a year-long celebration of 50 years of excellence.

Throughout our history we have been charged with transforming and enriching lives through education and health. Created as a school for teachers, we are now a school for leaders.

We offer 21 undergraduate programs and more than 30 graduate programs across multiple emphasis areas.

Educators, sports professionals, business leaders, healthcare professionals. Whatever the industry, our graduates are game-changers. Our graduates transform lives.

About the College

We Teach Texas


We are proud to be one of 11 universities in the Texas A&M University System preparing educators for Texas school systems.

There are more than 10,000 Aggies working in Texas schools across 746 districts and 208 counties. Thanks to our excellence in teacher preparation, these Aggies will stay in the classrooms long after their peers.

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EAHR develops educational leaders and improves practice through teaching, research and service.

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EPSY is home to a variety of interrelated disciplines and degree options focused on human development and well-being in educational and community contexts.

Health-kinesiology

HLKN is the largest academic department at Texas A&M University and generates over 98,000 credit hours and 203,000 (Modified) weighted student credit hours each year.

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TLAC’s mission is to create experiences that advance teaching, research and service through the application of knowledge in the preparation and development of quality educators; placing high value on collaboration, diversity, critical thinking, and creativity.

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What is work burnout and how can we avoid it?

What is work burnout and how can we avoid it?
July 16, 2019 Heather Gillin
Origami fortune teller on laptop in office concept for work life balance choices
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What is work burnout and how can we avoid it?

Key takeaways

  • Burnout can hurt employee physical and mental well-being and organization productivity, causing financial loss.
  • Burnout can be caused by role overload, role conflict, lack of rewards and even age.
  • Burnout can be avoided by employers building social support and employees taking regular ‘offline’ vacations.

For human resource development professor Dr. Jia Wang, work burnout is bad for business.

She said burnout is a serious concern with major consequences for both employees and employers. Part of the challenge is that organizations today are pressed with ‘doing more with less’.

“In the process of chasing results, organizations expect more and more from their employees, and forget that employees can only do so much for so long,” Wang said.

What is burnout?

Wang said burnout is a multi-dimensional process. It consists of three components—emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and diminished personal accomplishment.

Emotional exhaustion, or compassion fatigue, is characterized by lack of energy and a feeling that one’s emotional resources are depleted. It can result in employees dreading the prospect of returning to work for another day.

“Emotional exhaustion may coexist with feelings of frustration and tension when employees realize that they cannot continue to give themselves or be as responsible as they have been in the past,” Wang said.

Depersonalization, or dehumanization, is another component of burnout that can occur when employees feel they are treated as objects rather than human beings.

“Visible symptoms include the use of derogatory language, strict compartmentalization of professional lives, intellectualization of the situation and withdrawal through longer breaks or extended conversations with co-workers.”

The final component of burnout is diminished personal accomplishment, which is characterized by the tendency to evaluate oneself negatively.

Wang noted that these three components can lead to employees distancing themselves psychologically and experiencing a sense of inadequacy in terms of their ability to relate to people and perform their jobs.

Therefore, Wang believed that burnout should be avoided by all means because it poses a threat to employees’ physical and emotional well-being, as well as to employers’ productivity, which can create financial loss.

How can we avoid burnout?

Wang proposed four evidence-based strategies for employees and organizations to reduce burnout—building social support, setting realistic expectations, providing career opportunities and promoting healthy work behaviors.

She also said regular vacations are critical for helping employees avoid burnout. However, to make vacations truly effective, Wang reminded organizations to not expect employees answer work emails during their vacation.

According to Wang, while it is helpful that employees practice healthier work-life balance, it is equally important that supervisors model this behavior to effect change.

“It is not enough for organizational leaders to formulate or promote health-related policies and programs (e.g., wellness programs and flexible work schedules), they must also model healthy work behaviors,” Wang said. “Supervisors need to stop sending work emails to subordinates during the weekends, stop working long hours, and take time each day for self-care (for example, meditating, exercising, taking a power nap and listening to music).”

Wang said if leaders demonstrate these healthy habits, then subordinates will likely follow suit.

“We don’t lack policies in the workplace; the problem is we don’t practice what we advocate.”

Dr. Jia Wang is a Professor of Human Resource Development in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on international/ national and cross-cultural human resource development, workplace incivility, organization crisis management, workplace learning and career/family issues.

About the Writer


Heather is responsible for news coverage in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, as well as the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.

Articles by Heather

For media inquiries, contact our Media Relations Coordinator, Ashley Green

Fundraising


To learn more about how you can assist in fundraising, contact Jody Ford ’99, Sr. Director of Development jford@txamfoundation.com or 979-847-8655

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