Women’s ERG Series: An Interview with Dr. Jacinta Jiménez

by | Jun 30, 2022

For the second part of our Women’s ERG series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Jacinta Jiménez, award-winning psychologist, board-certified leadership coach, and author of the award-winning book Burnout Fix, to expand on her thoughts on healthy work/life balance and the many factors that can threaten to jeopardize this equilibrium. 

Could you tell us a bit about why you wrote the book on this topic? 

I started writing my book before the onslaught of COVID-19, as I knew that burnout was an already rapidly progressing global epidemic of its own. In fact, in 2015, Stanford University researchers estimated that job burnout has cost the US economy up to $190 billion each year. Knowing that the world of work is only going to get complex with time, I wanted to write a book about how individuals, teams, and organizations can continue to thrive in our ever-changing world of work. 

What is ‘burnout’? 

In 2019, the World Health Organization included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon. They describe it as chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.  

What does burnout look like? 

Thanks to pioneering researcher, Christina Maslach, and her co-researchers, we know that burnout consists of three interrelated components:

Exhaustion: Immense emotional, physical, and/or cognitive fatigue.
Cynicism: Low levels of job engagement.
Inefficacy: A lack of productivity and feelings of incompetence.

Why is it important to monitor for it? 

It is important that both people leaders and employees actively monitor for burnout. This is because burnout is quite insidious; it slowly creeps up on you. The sooner you can detect burnout, the more opportunity you have to course-correct early on.

What is ‘the stress-performance connection’? 

“You need a little stress to achieve optimal performance, however, chronic stress without recovery can create problems.  The key is to proactively counterbalance stress with micro-moments of psychological detachment, rest, and/or replenishment. My mantra is, ‘When you stress, you must rest.’ For those that don’t have large amounts of time in their schedule to rest, get small doses of replenishment on a consistent basis, such as a 5 or 10-minute rest before a big stressor or after.” 

What do you mean by ‘resilience’? 

“Resilience is about how you recharge and replenish, not how you endure. And while genetics and personality play a role, research has found that resilience is grown and strengthened over time.”

In your book, you discuss the ABC’s for steady organizations. What are they? 

“‘A’ is for agency: foster autonomy to the extent you can. Allow for people to build out an internal locus of control. Next is ‘B’ as in benevolence: doing no harm. Commit to equitable practices, act with integrity. Reward and affirm accomplishments. Then we have ‘C’ with the community: bolstering inclusion and belonging and letting people feel safe to take a psychological risk. Employees do better when they feel secure.” 

Lastly, how do leaders help support the organization to have more skills of resilience and foster the right mindset?
“Set team norms, practice psychological safety. Establish a culture where employees know that they can speak up and that all team members are held to equal standards.”

We’d like to thank Dr. Jiménez for her time and for stressing the importance of having a work/life balance and outlets for stresses that might come up at work. Finding any time you can to relax and reset during the workday is key to remaining efficient in your position. Overworking yourself 

is scientifically proven to be detrimental to your performance levels, so Dr. Jiménez pleads that you take time for yourself and also allow for others to have that time as well. To check out Dr. Jimézez’s book, click here for more information on how to get a copy. We look forward to continuing the series next week!