Age and Longevity as Burnout Prevention
Let’s say that you are a few years from retirement, or you have been in an appointment for six or seven years. Things may not be going well, and you are a little bit touchy. All signs are pointing towards “burnout”, right? Wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, age and longevity do not increase one’s susceptibility to burnout. They are actually strong preventive factors. In study after study of helping professionals, age was always conversely related to burnout (as age goes up, burnout goes down). In a study of WNCC clergy, older clergy scored significantly lower than younger clergy on the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The same could be said of clergy in longer-term appointments. You are probably asking, “Why is that?”
Who is most at risk from burnout? My research showed that younger clergy in new appointments are at most risk. Based on the data, under 30 years of age and under 10 years of service were key marks.
Why is this good to know? Sometimes being informed is prevention in itself.