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Burnout, a syndrome that affects law firms. Keys to identify it

There is a common enemy in law firms. The Syndrome of Burnout has become famous for impacting the professional life of some law specialists. It is characterized as a condition with exclusively occupational origin and whose most prominent symptoms are emotional exhaustion, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the workload, depersonalization and loss of interest in work-related activities and low achievement or personal fulfillment in them. Chronic fatigue, irritability, sleep disorders, lack of concentration, gastric disorders, muscle tension, headaches, among others, may even be reported.

The term "burn out"or "burned-out worker"was used by lawyers in California (United States) to give a name to the gradual process of loss of interest and professional responsibility that was occurring in some coworkers. 

According to the work El Síndrome de Burnout in the Legal Profession, written by Noelia Silva and published by In the Digital Magazine of the Ushuaia Bar Association, this condition usually appears in those who dedicate themselves to assistance professions and invest a great part of their energy in dealing with the problems of other human beings. Among this list are lawyers, teachers, doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists.

The publication recognizes that some factors involved in the working lives of lawyers areconstitute a risk for the appearance of this syndrome. These are: long working hours, variations in salary income, degree of vulnerability and conflict in the services offered to the client. A 2015 study, made by the Foundation Institute for Applied Research of Lawyers of Barcelona, recorded that traumatic pathologies, stress, anxiety and cardiovascular problems are the health problems that have the highest incidence in those engaged in this profession in Spain.

Low self-fulfillment, negative perception of one's own workThe feeling of being in a bad mood, low professional esteem and the impossibility of bearing the pressure are some of the feelings that become evident when going through this condition. In the long term it can even cause problems in personal relationships with clients and co-workers.

In 2019 the World Health Organization recognized this syndrome as a disease.It will be included in the international classification of diseases. Its diagnosis will come into effect as of 2022 in all international health authorities.

Legally, work is considered an essential rightThe Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, enshrined in the Magna Carta of the world and in international treaties. In Venezuela, Article 87 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela establishes that "the right to freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela".Every person has the right to work and the duty to work. The State shall guarantee the adoption of the necessary measures so that every person may obtain a productive occupation that provides a dignified and decent existence and guarantees the full exercise of this right.". It is therefore a human right inherent to the subject. 

Article 26 of the Venezuelan Organic Labor Law provides as follows "Every person has the right to work and the duty to work according to his abilities and aptitudes, and to obtain a productive occupation, duly remunerated, that provides him with a dignified and decent existence.". It also guarantees that the State will promote liberating, dignified, productive, safe and creative work.

Examination at Burnout

A bad day at work can cause stress, exhaustion and lack of interest. When these symptoms occur consistently there is reason to suspect that something else may be at work. 

The new WHO classification defines it as emotional burnout syndrome and associates it with chronic stress at work. To identify it, they emphasize three fundamental aspects: depersonalization of tasks, emotional and physical wear and tear, and low performance.

Although it could be related to other pathologies, such as anxiety disorders and depression, it is not always possible to identify the cause of the disease.The difference is that in the burnout the symptoms are of less intensity and are exclusively related to the work aspect. Specialists agree that it usually appears in people whose jobs are linked to the personalized attention of others. Others have defined it as a process rather than a pathology, which affects above all those who are very committed to their work and end up becoming more closely linked to the activities and people they serve.

In addition, it tends to occur in work environments withThe following are some of the most common causes: excessive volumes and rhythms of work, strict or inflexible schedules and conditions, monotonous tasks, or when the employee is assigned activities that are not his or her own because they exceed his or her capabilities and resources.

It is usually identified because the sufferer begins to experience negative attitudes and feelings towards the people he/she works with, and even towards the professional practices he/she habitually performs.

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