Work burnout

Work burnout

Listen to the guests on this radio chat show speaking about the difference between work-related stress and burnout.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Henry: I'd like to thank you both for coming along today. Pam, this is your new book: Taking the blues out of work: How to deal with work-related health problems.

Pam: Yes.

Henry: And Steve, you've just recovered from work burnout, one of the most serious – and common – work-related problems, yes?

Steve: Yes, that's right. I'm in the book! Pam used me as a case study.

Pam: Yes. Steve came along to my clinic for help. He had a serious case of burnout. He followed a course of therapy and …

Steve: … and she helped me to get my health back again.

Henry: Well, that's great. It's good to hear there's a happy ending. Pam, could you tell us what work burnout actually is? Aren't we just talking about stress here? Is there a difference?

Pam: Yes, there is a difference! A very big difference. But that's a good question because most people make the mistake of thinking that burnout is just another word for stress – so I'll start with that. Everyone understands stress. We live in a world where stress is part of our everyday lives. Burnout can be the result of too much stress, but it isn't the same thing. I once heard somebody say that if stress is like drowning in an overload of work, burnout is more like being all dried up. With stress we lose our energy, with burnout we lose much more – our motivation, our hope. And one very important difference between stress and burnout is that we know when we are stressed, but we don't usually realise we are suffering from burnout …

Henry: … until it's too late.

Pam: Exactly.

Henry: Steve, how did you know that your problem was more serious than just being stressed?

Steve: Well, I didn't realise myself. Other people realised first. I changed my behaviour and started feeling really negative and cynical about everything. That wasn't me at all. I've always been a happy-go-lucky sort of bloke. It got to the point where I felt so hopeless and depressed that I couldn't even face getting up in the morning. My wife made me an appointment with the doctor. He was helpful and referred me to Pam.

Pam: Steve was lucky to have the support of his family and friends. It's difficult to get better on your own. It's important to do normal things – exercise, socialise, go for a walk, meet a friend for a coffee …

Henry: And did Steve need medication?

Steve: No.

Pam: We decided to try with everything else first. Medication can be effective – anti-depressants aren't the same these days as they used to be – but Steve got better without any. In fact, it was something he felt quite strongly about.

Steve: I don't even like taking an aspirin unless I really have to, so I think I made a real effort to listen to Pam and do the things she suggested. I even started meditating!

Henry: Meditating?

Pam: Yes, it can really help. It calms the mind and helps to shut out the world's distractions.

Henry: And how are you now, Steve?

Steve: I feel great. Better than I have for years. 

Henry: Well, I'm glad to hear it. Now let's talk a bit about … (fade out)

Task 1

Task 2


Language level

Average: 4.9 (18 votes)
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Submitted by ThuytrangDaisy on Tue, 09/07/2024 - 03:27


Hello everyone,

It is such an interesting podcast. I have relised that I often suffer from burn out after 1 working year. In every company or position I work in, I used to be motivated and energertic at the beggining and lose hope gradually :((( 

I need to find the way to help myself. Pratice mediation, go for a walk, write diary, learn new thing, etc. Thanks you so much, authors.

Submitted by lucasst on Wed, 13/12/2023 - 09:36


Very interesting article! Personally, I believe burnout it's a real problem, and the first step to deal with it, is to recognize that it's real and it can affect us and the people around us, like family and friends.

Submitted by Ellinaa on Sun, 06/11/2022 - 12:15


Good enough listening practice. Assignments of moderate difficulty, appropriate to the level indicated. The audio is of good quality, so I didn't have to think about what it says. I would recommend it to friends and acquaintances who are also studying English.

Submitted by Claire38 on Mon, 20/06/2022 - 02:00


Thank very much for this podcast.
I have a friend who just recovered from a burnout and I noticed his behaviour was changing and asked him how he was feeling.
He get diagnosed a burnout and was off work for 3 months. He actually learned how to meditate and how to cope with his workloads and encourage to find a new work-life balance and able to bounce back to his depression state.

Submitted by Andreyyy on Mon, 08/11/2021 - 10:41


Emotional burnout at work is a really serious problem in the modern world, a large number of people face it and do not pay enough attention to it. Due to burnout, a person's performance decreases, mood worsens and depression may begin. It is important to monitor your psychological health, be able to distract yourself from work, be able to relax and leave time for hobbies and entertainment. However, if you are unable to cope with the problem on your own, you should consult a doctor who will definitely help you cope with the problem

Submitted by Artem_Artem on Thu, 04/11/2021 - 08:41


Thank you so much for the podcast.!

I learned for myself how stress differs from burnout and how they manifest themselves. I think now I will be able to fight not only burnout at work, but also burnout in general.

Submitted by Ksusha02 on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 15:22


This podcast is really useful.
First, we learn a little bit about work burnout. And secondly, we learn how to avoid it.
Nowadays, a lot of people have to deal with burnout at work. It's something that absolutely has to be dealt with.
It's good that I have not encountered this problem!!! But it was still interesting to hear about it.

Submitted by M19 on Sat, 26/12/2020 - 16:50

Q.2 of Task 1, is the correct answer FALSE because Steve HAS RECOVERED from work burnout?

Hello M19,

Yes, that is correct. He did suffer from burnout, but he no longer suffers from it now.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team