Practices, notebooks of utopian medicine N ° 76, 01/2017
Health and Work, moving from complaint to offense

Author: Catherine Frade, psychologist, coach and doctor of pharmacy, founder and director of Steliaxe, since 2003.

Why wait for a burnout to ask us the right questions, find out how we work, what makes us wake up in the morning to get us to work and in our lives? How to get out of the complaint and become an actor of his life?

I regularly receive young engineers from high schools working on big data and very powerful until their burn out which makes them consult me, via the network suffering and work. They can no longer concentrate, complain that they can not keep up the pace; their leader accuses them of slowness. They say they try to master and control all the data to be processed for which they are responsible, infinite work because they are generated by several teams upstream. They can no longer recover their energy despite medical treatments and repeated work stoppages; however, in this world of competition, they can not / do not want to let go of their responsibilities, until their "body no longer follows them".

They are surprised, as of our first meeting, to sleep 15 hours whereas they did not sleep for a long time. They learn to listen to the information transmitted by their five senses. They believed that they had to adhere 100% to the collective rules of life in society transmitted by their educational system according to the beliefs of their environment (including transgenerational and transcultural) and thought dysfunction when they transgressed. They discover that their minds put words / evils on their bodily sensations according to their learning in the broad sense, either in the family for the initial psychic construction or at work. Cut off from their bodies and their emotions, they experience tension in the head, and a feeling of black cloud physically preventing any mental activity,

For my part, I have not departed from these broad lines: the harbinger, a micro-loss of memory irreversible, should have alerted me to the arrival of my burn out 2 months later; but I did not listen to it at that moment, continuing on the same rhythm in a course that did not flourish.

Unable to resume my legislative pharmaceutical work as a provider, I had to start asking myself existential questions knowing that I have a body, a mind, thoughts, feelings and emotions but that I am not that it body, thoughts, emotions: so who am I ? What is my place, what is my role, why am I here? What contribution do I want to make to others ?  Knowing what makes me happy, what makes me happy or who prevents me from being allowed me to recognize and define my limits, to (respect) them to preserve myself, discover my place and take it. Only ourselves can do this centering.

Before being able to ask me these questions, it was essential for me to find a better circulation of body energy. Yoga, individual and group meditation, Ayurveda, diet according to my body type, dance, and music, all that could (re) live vibrations in my body to reinvest it, have me saved.

Burnout is a symptom of a dissonance between the way we have been constructed with the situation encountered at work and in our relationships.

The work assigns us a function that requires us to get along with people we have not chosen and to deploy treasure of intelligence to contribute to a common project. Work is thus a mediator of the development of identity thanks to its tripartite position between him, me and others.

The prescribed work is given by the job description, the procedures, the operating modes. Real work is what is presented to the worker who executes the task and the way he or she copes by drawing on his or her resources. The irreducible gap between prescriptive and real concerns all types of tasks from the simplest to the most complex. It is because the employee contributes his personal share in this gap that the work is done, (see the zeal strike).

This human contribution is put in invisibility as much by the organization of the work which sticks to its procedures and its objectives, as by the employee who works "by body" so much he became competent, thinking to do things in a natural way then that it is his real talent, the same way we can drive without realizing the journey we have made.

The acceleration of the operation of companies and individuals can cause crises for some and burn-out for others, by highlighting latent malfunctions and possible breakpoints.

As in business, the analysis of the crisis gives the opportunity to develop differently and rebound positively, for the human being, burn-out forces to dive deep inside. The explanation of the crisis and its effects makes it possible to leave the denial and to seek solutions so that it does not happen again.

But the crisis in business and that of the individual can be intimately linked: with the digital reflex, the company tends to think that it can require an employee to a new position (following hiring, promotion, reorganization, restructuring ...) immediate performance equivalent to that of his colleagues in office for a long time. Initially, digital was presented as an improvement in the service of individuals; it has become a source of stress due to performance requirements as if the individuals were robots and permanently connected to work. But thinking is not seen but takes time.

By imposing ever-increasing pace of production, unrealistic deadlines for completion with ever-decreasing numbers, the organization denies the real work, a source of humanity and cooperation, thus depriving itself of additional performance. In the face of the law, the employee is responsible for his safety and that of his colleagues; he has a right of warning and withdrawal, while the company must adapt the work to the man. It is still necessary that the employee dares to listen to himself, respect his limits, express them and enforce them.

One way to accelerate change would be to build a shared vision of the company and its employees. They are a source of lasting commitment and innovation for all. Everyone has a specific behavior; a single individual does not hold the absolute truth, it is always a function of his point of view and his reference frames of appreciation. Whoever knows each other can better synchronize with others. This know-how facilitates synergy, pooling, relational agility, and therefore excellence.

Taking one's place in trust allows authentic interactions and avoids being destabilized by the criticisms of others, who are only their own projections.

To accept ourselves as we are with our human wealth, not to believe that acting in addition to the norm is a sign of dysfunction, is at the origin of our creativity and our fulfillment and nourishes the human capital of the company.

The union of diversities makes companies more efficient and sustainable, and allows individuals to advance in their career aspirations.

To let oneself be invaded by the pressure of the system, by definition stronger than the individual without saying anything, is to suffer the environment: to adopt this position of victim is to believe that we are incapable of solving our problems and waiting for external solutions not necessarily applicable to our individuality.

Taking charge means using our thinking skills by letting ourselves be guided by our bodily feelings to guide our actions.

But no one explains to us our own mode of functioning, what sense to associate with our emotional body signals; it's up to us to find out. Moreover, our education has advocated for generations systematic disconnection of the body and its emotions as a sign of self-control. Developing emotional intelligence is done in reading, training, but especially in the experience of life experiences and their decodings.

This is how I accompany people and businesses on all three levels: physical, emotional and rational, taking into account their three systems of individual, collective and organizational nesting.