Burnout is a familiar word we hear and use whenever we’re tired. During this pandemic, more and more people are beginning to lose hope because of this. But experts say that we may be wrong on what we know about burnout. It’s not enough to feel burnout; there is actually a way to measure it.

A psychology professor at the University of California, Christina Maslach, created the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) in 1981. This test shows the levels of burnout based on these standards: lack of motivation, negative thoughts, and reduced ability. If someone gets negative scores on all three, he or she officially has burnout. Michael Leiter, Maslach’s co-author of “The Truth About Burnout,” said that we think burnout and being tired is the same, and that’s wrong. According to the MBI results, the largest group of people experiencing burnout are those who are no longer interested in their work. For example, some people go to work because they have bills to pay, not because they are enjoying what they do.

But this doesn’t mean burnout has only two results. Maslach and Leiter revealed three more categories in their latest research: tired, not effective, and disconnected. People who fall in any of the three categories don’t have burnout yet, but are already there. The test also showed that burnout is not always a personal issue. Sometimes, their environment causes them to feel burnout. This is why MBI and other burnout-related tests are important: it’s a way for us to know how to prevent burnout and get rid of it. Do you want to take the test?