This new regular feature in the UFE newsletter shares readings that explore the various dimensions of labor and highlight ideas for creating more enjoyable and humane working lives. Contact Julie Russo if you would like to contribute!
This winter, we spotlight a new book by former tenured professor Jonathan Malesic called The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives. Malesic believes Americans have a cultural obsession with work that causes us to build our entire identities around our occupation, which can lead to burnout. In this book, he uses the psychological literature on burnout to interrogate our relationship with work and ultimately provides suggestions for workers to pursue happier working environments.
The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives is available through University of California Press:
“In The End of Burnout, Malesic traces his own history as someone who burned out of a tenured job to frame this rigorous investigation of how and why so many of us feel worn out, alienated, and useless in our work… He eschews the usual prevailing wisdom in confronting burnout (“Learn to say no!” “Practice mindfulness!”) to examine how our jobs have been constructed as a symbol of our value and our total identity. Beyond looking at what drives burnout—unfairness, a lack of autonomy, a breakdown of community, mismatches of values—this book spotlights groups that are addressing these failures of ethics. We can look to communities of monks, employees of a Dallas nonprofit, intense hobbyists, and artists with disabilities to see the possibilities for resisting a ‘total work’ environment and the paths to recognizing the dignity of workers and nonworkers alike.” (Malesic, 2022)