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The Burnout Generation  By  cover art

The Burnout Generation

By: Anne Helen Petersen
Narrated by: Anne Helen Petersen
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Publisher's Summary

About This Audible Original

In January 2019, culture writer Anne Helen Petersen set the Internet on fire with her viral BuzzFeed essay diagnosing "millennial burnout"—a chronic state of stress and exhaustion that’s become a "base temperature" for young people today. Now, she continues this generation-defining conversation in a brand-new format, interviewing millennials around the country about their own deeply personal experiences with burnout and the culture that creates it. Listeners will hear about how this issue has affected Petersen’s own life as well as the lives of five very different subjects: Kevin, a musician and Marine veteran; Kate, a first-generation college graduate working to repay her formidable student debt; Haley and Evette, young writers at different career stages in the digital media industry; and John, a pastor and co-founder of a new Baptist church in North Carolina.

The conversations that comprise The Burnout Generation cover everything from debt to social media to the blurred boundaries between our professional and personal lives. In this illuminating and intimate audio project, listeners learn how and why this generation has been conditioned to "optimize" every aspect of our lives (Meal prep for the week! Find a side hustle! But practice self-care! And answer emails in bed!), and most importantly, how the consequences of this phenomenon play out in day-to-day life.  

©2019 Anne Helen Petersen (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.
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Publisher's Summary

About This Audible Original

In January 2019, culture writer Anne Helen Petersen set the Internet on fire with her viral BuzzFeed essay diagnosing "millennial burnout"—a chronic state of stress and exhaustion that’s become a "base temperature" for young people today. Now, she continues this generation-defining conversation in a brand-new format, interviewing millennials around the country about their own deeply personal experiences with burnout and the culture that creates it. Listeners will hear about how this issue has affected Petersen’s own life as well as the lives of five very different subjects: Kevin, a musician and Marine veteran; Kate, a first-generation college graduate working to repay her formidable student debt; Haley and Evette, young writers at different career stages in the digital media industry; and John, a pastor and co-founder of a new Baptist church in North Carolina.

The conversations that comprise The Burnout Generation cover everything from debt to social media to the blurred boundaries between our professional and personal lives. In this illuminating and intimate audio project, listeners learn how and why this generation has been conditioned to "optimize" every aspect of our lives (Meal prep for the week! Find a side hustle! But practice self-care! And answer emails in bed!), and most importantly, how the consequences of this phenomenon play out in day-to-day life.  

©2019 Anne Helen Petersen (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.
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.

What listeners say about The Burnout Generation

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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?

301 people found this 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.

213 people found this 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.

101 people found this helpful

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Ugh, painful! Couldn't finish...

As a Gen X'er, I was intrigued by this book, and decided to download it so I could better understand my millennial colleagues and acquaintances. I went into it with an open mind, understanding that it can't be easy to be part of a generation that has been the butt of social media jokes and stigmatized far and above any other. Not to mention, growing up in an era where social media and technology encompassed every aspect of their personal and professional lives. I was hoping for enlightenment, but what I got was annoyance. First of all, this is not an audiobook. It's a podcast disguised as an audiobook. So rather than a nice, scripted listen, I had to endure hearing the word "like" from millennial interviewees about a billion times more than what was comfortable for my ears. Secondly, the stories were perplexing at best, and utterly ridiculous at worst. I sat through three "case studies," and I could not understand a single reason why there would be such severe burnout in this generation besides the fact that these young adults are plagued with student debt. Other than that, what I interpreted was a lot of "life is hard," and "I have to work a lot at my job, and I don't think I like it" and "I might have made a mistake in my career path or college choice." ???? Hello? How is that even remotely unique to Millennials? I had to stop listening halfway through the story of the New York girl who went to college and majored in theater, only to move to New York City and find out she couldn't make it in theater. Give me a break. These were the best examples of burnout that the author could come up with??? I was expecting stories and examples that were gritty and real and understandable from a different generation's point of view. But all I heard was whining, whining, and more whining. It's almost like a parody of every millennial joke you ever heard. I stopped listening about forty-five minutes into it. Maybe it gets better, but I'm over it. I'm really sorry that this didn't offer a better, deeper, more realistic view into the real burnout that probably does actually exist with Millennials. Anyway, just glad I didn't waste a credit on this.

82 people found this 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.

81 people found this 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.

75 people found this 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.

58 people found this helpful

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Whiney millennials whining

Literally just a bunch of millennials whining about having to work hard.. most of these college students are complaining of working too hard while in college, yet they exclusively attend school and don't have to work on the side in order to live. It's hilarious.

57 people found this helpful

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Inflammatory when it should be informative

I was hoping to find reliable information about burnout, not a bunch of anecdotes about people who say they have it without saying anything convincing about how or why they have it. Clear advice about symptoms, how to diagnose it, how to talk to a doctor about it, how to correct unhealthy patterns to avoid it, how to treat it and recover when you do have it, how to help others who have it... I kept hoping they would get to it but eventually gave up. Instead it was a bunch of horror stories to feed off people's hypochondriac tendencies. A good example is how the author "discovered a new type of burnout", with no supporting scientific research or authorities on the subject to weigh in on it. No thanks, not even going to finish this one.

43 people found this helpful

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Millennials

This podcast takes a look at a few millennials around the country and tries to explain why they are the way they are. It’s more of a podcast than an audiobook but I actually liked that because you get to hear their voices. The reverend was great. This was free through the members benefit.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Ally C.
  • 11-24-22

More like a podcast

An interesting read on burnout, but just so you know before starting it’s a conversation with 4 people and their experiences of burnout rather than a discussion on burnout or ways to cope with it. Some bits were relatable. Other stories were a bit off track, for example experiences with the church and recovering from a car crash. Still interesting! Just a bit different than what the title suggests.
Overall, an interesting listen still

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  • CEW
  • 08-08-22

Interesting discussions

Less tips and more exploring the topic. Also interesting to consider the race element of burn out. Would be great to see more data around demographics of burn out

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  • Poppy Finnigan
  • 07-29-22

Enjoyed, provoked thoughts

I enjoyed this and finished it quickly, it was the right amount of thought provoking and took a nice pace, only dropped a star as it felt a bit open ended/ I would have preferred a more conclusive emding

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  • Little Miss Scribble
  • 04-18-22

Not just millennials…!

Listen to this if you’ve ever felt burnout but aren’t sure why! There are some interesting perspectives and personal stories and it’s not just millennials that will be able to relate to it (Gen X here!).

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  • Jessica
  • 03-03-22

Wow

I cannot even begin to describe how much I related to this and how useful it's been understanding what's going on for me personally.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-14-22

interesting questions and research

I liked the idea of asking people with different background but similar age about what they found about their life prospects.
Some interview sounded got editing while others are not and I got bored to listen to the many "aam... erghh... you know.... like.." filling words in some answers. I could not decite it is a book or a podcast. Overall findings: if you burnt out go to therapy and walk. I have a bit higher expectations hearing others' coping mechanisms.

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  • Emmy Dent & Simon Ward
  • 02-04-22

Thought provoking

Liked the book just felt it could have more ways to combat/improve burnout rather than 95% examples of burn out

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-29-22

Eye opening

I loved listening to this! I related so much to what was being said, I'm 23 years old and have worked full time since I was 17 I recently had a burn out and had to completely stop everything I was doing and take a step back. when I did this I realised I'm doing everything for everyone else and nothing for me. I'm being overworked, underpaid and don't enjoy anything I'm doing. It's kind of comforting listening to this book because I realised I'm not the only one who's dealing with this.

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  • R. Walter
  • 01-15-22

really interesting topic

really found this enlightening and relatable. I am in the UK and book is discussing America but 99.9% of this topic is totally relevant here as well, and probably is for many other countries.

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  • Chloe
  • 01-15-22

just what I needed to hear

Short but powerful, really validating, helps explain why modern life can feel so difficult

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  • Jason Tranter
  • 06-16-20

Only useful as a warning

Limited to educate on what burnout can look like, but no real useable points for recovery.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-29-22

not for all

was really aimed at a certain ages group, in my experience burn out happens to everyone. just maybe different mind sets and expectations.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-22

Oh so many Eureka moments

Thank you for this!
I’m in the middle of a week stress leave and I’m slowly trying to piece myself together and make sense of what it is that I’m going through. This has been so helpful for me to understand my feelings and what has lead me to be in the midst of burnout. Listening to all the stories gave me a few ideas on how to help myself get through this. Thank you for raising the awareness of the issue and explaining it. I’m going to share this with my parents who even as I take stress leave have been asking my what productive things I’m doing and recommending tasks for me that needs my attention. Ahhh we’ll get there…

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-22-22

The confirmation that I needed

This was a great listen & really validating as to what I’ve been feeling for years now. As a full time academic, it’s sad but also somewhat comforting to know that this is a cross-discipline issue. I appreciate that these topics are being tackled, & I look forward to reading Anne’s full book when its available.