Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Under pressure

Late Thursday afternoon, one of the leading Dutch singers (Marco Borsato) announced that he will stop working for the time being, due to a burn-out (eg, Marco BorsatoTrouw). The singer fits all my criteria for a potential burn-out: drive, determination, passion, perfectionism, success. As long as such people can balance private and work related pressures, they can avoid a burn-out. 

I used to thrive under pressure. Additional pressure felt like throwing drugs to an addict: give me more, more. I used to compare myself to a Diesel engine, which just goes on and on and on. Early 1992, I suffered a mild burn-out following a missed promotion. Success was a default in my life. Hence, my disappointment was disproportionate. The promotion came 6 months later.

Since that 1992 event, I have learned the warning sign for an approaching burn-out. Whenever a ringing phone causes a burst of anxiety, I must reduce my efforts immediately. In 2013, I felt that I was close to a burn-out as my anxiety levels were already up. I decided to finalise a certain effort because I was close to its completion. My 2013 burn-out was immense.

I have not worked a single day, ever since 22 May 2013. I cut cost and sold my house instead. I do not consider my daily writing as work, although it may look to you – my reader – like working. Writing is my passion. My writing does not earn me anything, apart from you showing your respect by reading my writing. Moreover, I write for myself on issues that may be of your interest too.

Some people, especially women whom I encounter during my dating efforts, do not understand my way of living. If you are not sick, and you can work, and you do not want to work, then you must be some kind of a lazy bum. About half of them even want to know how I earn my money. Apparently, a man must still be a (potential) provider for and to women. 

The question whether a burn-out is a sickness is interesting. I did and do not consider my 2013 burn-out as a sickness, despite my recovery period of 18 months. In 2019, the WHO agreed by stating: “Burn-out is included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as an occupational phenomenon. It is not classified as a medical condition.”

In my view, a burn-out is a crisis of faith in your beliefs (my blogs on Faith-Beliefs-Willpower). I believed that working was my hobby, my job, my passion, my source of income – and my escape from a bad marriage. The title of a 2006 New York Mag article is spot onWhere Work Is a Religion, Work Burnout Is Its Crisis of Faith.

A wise mentor once said to me: under pressure, everything becomes fluid. Indeed, in 2013 my beliefs melted under pressure. My faith kept me alive. My willpower found the answers that I was looking for. Today, I live by a new set of beliefs.

Under Pressure (1981) by Queen featuring David Bowie

artists, artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Pressure pushing down on me 

Pressing down on you, no man ask for 

Under pressure that burns a building down 

Splits a family in two 

Puts people on streets

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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