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Treating Your Job as a "Calling" is Blueprint for Burnout: Animal Shelters

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  • Treating Your Job as a "Calling" is Blueprint for Burnout: Animal Shelters

    “Follow your passion” is standard career advice handed out to job seekers, and finding work with meaning is increasingly a motivating force for young people entering the workforce. But caring too much about your work also pitfalls, a new study suggests.

    Employees who treat their work as a calling risk burnout and discouragement, and are at risks of abandoning their profession, according to a paper in the Academy of Management Journal by Kira Schabram and Sally Maitlis, a pair of business professors from the University of Washington and Oxford, respectively.

    Their conclusions were based on in-depth interviews with 50 current and former employees of animal shelters across North America. Shelter work is generally low-paying and demands hours of unpaid overtime; the workers chose the jobs because they cared about animals and wanted to make a difference.

    For some of the staff, however, a passion for cats and dogs disastrously collided with the harsh realities of shelters, where pet owners could be callous and animals are often euthanized. When these shelter workers would take on the responsibility of caring animals at the end of their lives, they suffered emotionally for it. They often left for less taxing work with animals, such as pet grooming..............
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