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The Burnout Generation

Narrated by: Anne Helen Petersen
Length: 1 hr and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4,364 ratings)

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Our favorite moments from The Burnout Generation

"…and the weight of not working is crippling."
Kate stresses over student loan debt.
Haley is constantly consumed by her job search.
Examine small habits that help with burnout.

  • The Burnout Generation
  • "…and the weight of not working is crippling."
  • The Burnout Generation
  • Kate stresses over student loan debt.
  • The Burnout Generation
  • Haley is constantly consumed by her job search.
  • The Burnout Generation
  • Examine small habits that help with burnout.
Anne Helen Petersen

About the Creator and Performer

Anne Helen Petersen is a senior culture writer at BuzzFeed News, where she writes about the intersection of celebrity, gender, and a whole lot more. She received her PhD in media studies from the University of Texas, and her most recent book, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, was named one of the NPR's Best Books of 2017. Her next book—Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.—is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Audible Studios in 2020. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Needs less emoting, more courageous questioning

A well-produced exploration that misses the mark. There's a lot of emoting and angsting and "sort of" and "right?" here but not much more. And thus, while I found the conversations interesting, the end result feels like a bunch of people safely lamenting instead of courageously questioning. Don't get me wrong. Burnout is a real thing, and I think it's important to look at it and deal with it. But that's the problem here. Petersen seems devoted to lamenting the problem, to talking about it ... but ... not much more. This angle — combined with a lack of definition as to what burnout is — inflate burnout to Goliath proportions as if to say, "This must require a book. And more think pieces. And a TED talk. And a Netflix documentary."

So, to me, the concept comes off as hyped. Burnout is positioned as a huge problem but with no clear definition. It seems Petersen wants you to believe it's lurking behind every corner. Lots of generality and critique, almost zero actual introspection and digging ... though Petersen seems to like the *idea* of introspection and digging. The result, it seems, is that burnout can be almost anything from normal job dissatisfaction and workplace politicking to oppression by systemic racism or sexism.

All of this comes off as a conversation taking place inside a comfortable room with soft couches and coffee — a safe space to journal and lament the difficult world handed to Millenials by the Boomers. My suggestion is this: yes, talk about burnout. Lament it. But first, define it. Then, once defined, venture out of that comfortable room, down into the basement and give the support beams about 10 to 20 strong kicks. See if they hold.

That is, instead of only safely emoting, also courageously question your assumptions. The big ones. Test the foundations.

What if the modern religion of Individualism is toxic and unfulfilling?

What if our consumerism consumes us?

What if education and knowledge are extraordinarily dangerous without humility?

What if meaning can't be found through the scientific method?

What if knowledge puffs up, makes you proud, makes you want to impress yourself and others, and that pride actually paves over your deepest needs and suffocates your heart?

What if burnout is your heart convulsing under all these layers of assumption, error, and expectation?

What if you were created for a purpose and you don't get to decide what that purpose is?

78 of 81 people found this review helpful

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Not just millennials...

I enjoyed this quick listen about burnout. Though I feel designating that feeling to a generation is not accurate. I am Generation X, and more align with the term Xennial. I was born in 1977.

I recognize many of the feelings of the interviewees as the same as many of my friends.

This book serves as a reminder, you are not alone in feeling this. Perhaps more a result of our time than our age.

83 of 89 people found this review helpful

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An advertisement.

I wanted to listen to a book about people and their struggles with burnout, explain what burnout is, and perhaps offer some solutions. Instead, I got stories about burnout with personal politics laden throughout and constant paraphrasing and interruptions from the author when I would rather have heard the speaker say it for themselves. The author did manage to indirectly explain what burnout is (so long as the definition means "working so much that everything becomes work"), but offered no advice other than "learn more about burnout", which is something that a potential reader could have been told first thing (or done on their own time) so that they would not have to bother with this.
The Author kept referring to some article she wrote about burnout on some site that will remain unnamed, yet couldn't be bothered to have placed it in this body of work in any capacity, forcing anyone interested to give their site free clicks.

This was free with my audible membership. This was the only book this month that looked even remotely interesting, and I feel like I just wasted my time.

102 of 112 people found this review helpful

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good information, but no solution to the problem

good information and examples, but there is not much of a solution proposed. there are larger societal issues at play here that are barely touched on.

39 of 43 people found this review helpful

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In this burnout culture

I rarely read a “whole” anything. I rely on podcasts, NPR, and booktv to keep me culturally up to date. So, I knew about the original article and had eschewed the information as just more “poor me” liturgy.

Thank you so, Audible and Ms Peterson. This really is something we all need to think about. I’m going to be reading and talking about it—and talking and talking.

—FightingtheBurnEveryDayBabyBoomer—

36 of 40 people found this review helpful

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So, basically a podcast episode.

As the title says, it doesn't go very deep, and doesn't even define any of the signs and symptoms of burnout. Didn't even deliver something as basic as that.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

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good stuff!

there are a lot of great things in this book. I, as a Generation XrR, got a lot out of the conversation around burnout. I highly recommend.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Nothing that adds up to something

A collection of stories, interviews really that all describe a shared experience (being burnt out). A lot of description and talking about a problem, but very little by way of practical advice or solving it. Not worth it if you're looking for more than common sense, but of course there is value in hearing something that resonates with your own experience. But this is nothing more than that.

58 of 66 people found this review helpful

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Dissenter from demographic

Nothing is ever their fault. They appear to take no responsibility for how they got where they are. They are robbing themselves of their agency to make their life better.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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disappointing

nothing but a bunch of people whining about wrong life choices. No numbers or stats are bring provided by the others about what exactly "burnout" means and how widespread it is. A lot of feeling, with no facts to back it up.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful