That feeling of needing to get more done but not having the energy to do is a ubiquitous feature of the ambience that characterizes modern life, and one that Professor Anna K Schaffner knows well. Having gone through her own burnout experience, she is one of the most insightful commentators on our relationship to work. She analyzes it through modern lenses – including political, economic, technological, cultural, and gender identity based. Her provocative and nuanced book, Exhaustion: A History, is an anthropological chronicle of the historical roots of exhaustion and the implications those antecedents have for our current zeitgeist of interminable world weariness. 

For anyone who feels perpetual fatigue and the sense of not being enough because you cannot do enough, that life should be more than getting through your to do list, this conversation is a must listen.

Key Highlights:

[00:01 – 11:49] – Opening segment

Rush introduces Professor Anna K Schaffner!

Discussion on Exhaustion

Symptoms of burnout

[11:50 – 18:47] – Finding The Root Cause of Burnout

History of burnout

Effects of Home-based work environments

Low autonomy and no sense of community

Treatments for burnout

[18:48 – 44:47] – Using Human Energy To Heal Burnout

Identity-based culture

The concept of human energy

People need to be self-aware of their triggers and stressors

State of vitality

[44:48 – 46:54] – Closing Segment

Professor Anna discusses the importance of destigmatizing burnout and helping people understand what’s going on

She invites us to visit her website:!

Connect with Professor Anna at:


Website: Professor Anna
LinkedIn: Professor Anna
Book: Exhaustion: A History


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Tweetable Quotes:

Professor Anna K. Schaffner – “In a large number of cases, it’s our working environments that are making us ill. It’s not our fault.”

Professor Anna K. Schaffner – “We need to understand what depletes our energy.”

Rusha Modi – “We don’t have a great concept of energy, but we are very elaborate about talking about its absence.”

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