In the third aspect of burnout employees lose confidence in their effectiveness. They doubt their capacity to contribute. They doubt the value of their work. It is a discouraging state of mind that weakens their capacity to dedicate energy and involvement. Confidence provides a psychological foundation for work. A lot of jobs in the current information and service economy require employees to create unique solutions to complex problems. Advancements in computer applications, communication devices, or services occur more often through new ideas than major cost efficiencies. Exploring new ideas and applying them to work means taking a leap of faith: faith that one has the knowledge, attitudes, and abilities to succeed. Losing that confidence means a major setback, both for the individuals’ career prospects as well as for the employers’ potential productivity.
Susie, the freelance writer from the previous section, shows signs of losing confidence as well as diminishing her involvement in her work. She sees her work as having less and less importance. Its dull, repetitive nature means that it fails to challenge her abilities, such that she no longer develops as a writer. The more she does this work, the less capable she feels: this is the opposite of a learning environment. She cannot view her writing as providing value to her readers. It seems unlikely to her that anyone would find these articles as informative or exciting. Susie began this work believing that it provided a step towards becoming an increasingly capable, effective writer, but as time passed she lost that confidence. In a way, she changed but the job did not.