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Burnout Coach Tells Salaried Employees To 'Go Home' After 40 Hours — 'Nothing Is Truly Urgent At A Corporate Job'

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tired employee rubbing face while working in front of a laptop at a desk

More and more working adults are finding it hard to muster up enough motivation and drive to get through a workweek. The expectation that Americans need to devote their entire lives to their likely underpaid job doesn't help with combating stress and guilt. 

Because of this, burnout coach Gabriela Flax advised salaried employees to think harder about their own well-being rather than allow their employer to take advantage.

She advised salaried employees to 'go home' after working 40 hours a week.

In Flax's video, she recalled that during her previous corporate job, there had been a not-unheard-of clause in her contract that said she was expected to work 40 hours a week, but where required, she could go over without extra compensation. 

"That was due to the company demands and sometimes you gotta work more than what you're contracted," she said. "There were countless times where I would feel really awkward leaving the office at 5:30, which is when I was allowed to leave because I felt like everyone else was staying later because there was this expectation that everything was always urgent."

   

   

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Unfortunately, this guilt about prioritizing life over work isn't uncommon. According to an extensive survey conducted by CalendarLabs, 75% of employees say they feel guilty about taking time off, and 66% will put in more work time before leaving to make up for their time away. Additionally, 69% will check in with work or respond to notifications during PTO.

Flax described the mentality at her last corporate job, in which every piece of work and project was expected to be completed efficiently and quickly so that everything could get done by the end of the day. The invisible deadline never made sense to Flax, who pointed out that while working in corporate for almost 8 years, not once did she recall any project or assignment actually being an emergency.

"The thing that really got me is when people on my team would say, 'Well, we're a family. We stick together. We have to do this together,'" she admitted. Just because someone else was inefficient and unable to get their work done, doesn't mean that you should have to stay later. "That's a major red flag."

Flax explained to salaried employees that they shouldn't feel guilt over refusing to adhere to the "we are a family" mindset that is nothing but a toxic and manipulative tactic in many corporate jobs. "If you do not get overtime for working more than your contracted hours... you finish your work and go home, it's not an emergency. You can wait till tomorrow."

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A plethora of employees are now admitting to feeling incredibly burnt out.

According to research from Future Forum, 10,243 full-time desk-based workers were polled in six countries including the United States, and over 40% said they are burned out. However, the survey found that two types of people are at a greater risk of burning out than others: women and workers under 30.

Nearly half of 18- to 29-year-olds said they feel drained compared with 40% of their peers aged 30 and up, while women (46%) reported higher levels of burnout than men (37%). A lot of this burnout has to do with the extensive hours that many working adults are subjected to and because of that, it's pushed workers to re-consider what they’re giving and getting out of their jobs.

"The general consensus, as I’ve noticed, is that people are happy to come back to the office and perform their core job functions, but they don’t have a lot of tolerance for things outside of that," Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at London’s UCL School of Management told CNBC.

"Like, if you’re making me come to the office or attend an on-site meeting, it better be good."

   

   

The need to have a more balanced and fulfilling professional life shouldn't be something people have to fight tooth and nail for. More and more Gen Zers, specifically, are choosing to redefine the work environment expectations, including turning down high-paying jobs or even leaving their current employment due to their desire to have their employer's values match their own. 

The guilt and pressure to always be available is taking its toll on workers, leading to high levels of stress and anxiety. It's time that both employees and employers recognize the importance of a positive work-life balance.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.