“The pause that the pandemic provided gave people a chance to look at things and recognize realities that they probably otherwise were too busy to stop and look at,” says Regan Gurung, a professor of psychology at Oregon State University.

You may be familiar with "The Great Resignation." It’s a term coined by Anthony Klotz at Texas A&M and refers to a mass exodus of US workers leaving their jobs as we emerge from COVID. In April alone, about four million people clocked out for good, and it’s got a lot of people wondering what the heck is going on. Part of that has to do with our redefinition of success post-pandemic. 

But another piece to this Great Resignation puzzle, however, predates the pandemic: burnout, a prolonged psychological response to chronic work-related stress. In layperson’s terms: you’ve got too much to do, you’re not feeling rewarded, and you’re exhausted because of all of it. But, of course, it’s a little more complicated than that.

So for this week’s episode of Footnotes, we wanted to chat with Regan Gurung. He’s a social psychologist and professor at Oregon State University, and we wanted to pick his brain a little bit to help us break down what exactly burnout is, how to recognize it, and how we—as employees and employers—can prevent it and recover from it.



  • Regan Gurung

About Footnotes

Every Friday we break down our most important stories with the writers, contributors, and editors who crafted them. Hosted by Portland Monthly associate editor Gabriel Granillo, Footnotes provides clarity on complex stories with intimate and informative interviews.

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