Long hours, job uncertainty, poor prospects for pay and promotion, ambiguous roles on the project, time and budget pressure that puts you in danger of mistakes or at odds with professional standards of quality and ethics.

Sound like your job? 

If it does, let me know. We’re planning a major feature on the subject of burnout.

Researchers define burnout as unrelieved stress.
With the recession dragging on and supervisors combining jobs, I’m worried about what unrelieved stress does to the performance and health of engineers and other people in the industry. Just bringing the subject up violates a kind of industry cultural taboo. You’re supposed to take whatever comes your way and be happy you have a job. Two years ago, Hong Kong-based engineer and scholar Brenda Yip took a look at what burnout was doing to that city’s overworked engineers, and it wasn’t pretty. She found that the normal practices during Hong Kong’s recession bred a crop of dejected, cynical and drained engineers who were more likely to suffer illnesses and make mistakes on the job.

I call it post-traumatic construction disorder. If that’s what you’re experiencing, post a comment. And tell us what you or your company is, or should be, doing about it.