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Sustainable Work

"If physicians have reasonable control over doing what they are good at
in a community they feel connected to, there is no burnout."

The concept encapsulated above can apply broadly across various professions. Having control over one's work, using one's skills effectively, and feeling a sense of connection to the community or workplace are all fundamental aspects that can significantly reduce feelings of burnout. This is true not just for physicians but for educators, artists, engineers, service industry workers, and many others. These factors help people feel more engaged and satisfied with their work, which are key components in maintaining job fulfillment and mental well-being.

If you have questions about this topic or if it’s something you’d like to explore further,

please don’t hesitate to reach out. Talking through this can help!


A model that connects deeply with the core concepts of job satisfaction and burnout prevention are the ABCs—Autonomy, Belongingness, and Competence. These are critical psychological needs identified in various motivational theories, notably in Self-Determination Theory (SDT) developed by psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. This framework is often used to explain motivation in different contexts, including work.

1. Autonomy refers to the control or agency that individuals have over their work. When people feel they can make choices and have influence over their environment, they tend to be more motivated and satisfied.

2. Belongingness captures the need for social connection and feeling part of a group or community. In a work context, this translates into feeling supported, valued, and connected to colleagues and the organization.

3. Competence involves feeling effective and skilled in one's activities. When individuals feel competent, they are likely to experience more positive outcomes at work, including higher productivity and greater job satisfaction.

Adding to these, Meaning—sometimes considered as an extension or part of these core needs—relates to the purpose or significance one finds in their work. When work aligns with personal values and contributes to a greater good, it can deeply enhance job satisfaction and reduce the risk of burnout.


Reflect on Your Work Experience

Welcome! This space is designed for you to take a moment and reflect on your professional journey and personal growth within your organization. The questions provided are not a formal assessment, but rather prompts to help you explore different facets of your work life. This is an opportunity to think about what's working well for you, what could be improved, and how closely your current role aligns with your personal values and professional aspirations.

Why Reflect?

Reflection is a powerful tool for personal development and can lead to meaningful insights about your professional environment. It can help you:

  • Understand your role in decision-making processes and assess your level of autonomy.

  • Consider your professional growth opportunities and how you receive and use feedback.

  • Evaluate your work-life balance and your involvement in activities that nourish your well-being.

  • Think about your place within the team and the broader organization, including how your work contributes to the organization’s mission.


How to Use These Prompts

There's no need to rush through these prompts. You can consider them at your own pace, perhaps tackling a few at a time or returning to them whenever you feel the need. You might find it helpful to jot down your thoughts and feelings as you go, or simply to ponder them during a quiet moment in your day.


Begin Your Reflection

Dive into these questions whenever you're ready and see where they take you. If certain prompts strike a chord or if you feel stirred toward making changes, these reactions are valuable clues about areas in your life that might benefit from further exploration or action.


Need to Talk?

If any of these reflections bring up issues you’d like to discuss or explore further, I’m here to help. Reach out anytime you feel the need for support or guidance as you navigate your professional path.


  • Flexible Work Schedules: Do I have sufficient control over my work hours and breaks to manage my work-life balance effectively?

  • Decentralized Decision-Making: Am I involved in decisions that affect my work environment and duties?

  • Self-Advocacy: Do I feel comfortable providing feedback to my superiors?



  • Professional Development: Am I taking advantage of opportunities for ongoing training and education to enhance my skills and stay updated in my field?

  • Feedback and Growth: Am I open to receiving feedback, and how do I incorporate it into my personal and professional growth? Do I regularly seek feedback to improve, or do I wait for it to be given?

  • Constructive Feedback: Do I receive constructive feedback that helps me understand my strengths and areas for improvement?


Work-Life Balance

  • Reasonable Work Hours: Are my work hours reasonable, and am I able to avoid regularly working excessive overtime?

  • Wellness Activities: Do I participate in programs that address my physical, mental, and emotional health?


Personal Culture

  • Expectations for Transparency: Do I expect transparency and openness from others, and how do I react when it's not provided? How important is clear and honest communication to me, and do I practice it myself?

  • Conflict Resolution: When I disagree with a decision or approach, do I express my viewpoint respectfully and constructively? How do I handle conflicts: do I confront them directly, or tend to avoid them?

  • Ethics and Values: What are my core values, and how do they influence my behavior and decisions at work? How do I align my actions with my ethics, especially under pressure?



  • Team Building: How connected do I feel to my team? Are there opportutines for regular activities and gatherings?

  • Support Networks: Do I have access to mentorship, programs or supports?

  • Relationship Building: How do I contribute to building relationships within my team and the broader organization? Do I actively participate in team activities and discussions, fostering a sense of community?



  • Mission-Driven Work: Can I clearly see how my work contributes to the organization’s mission and values?

  • Volunteer Opportunities: Do I participate in community service or pro bono work that provides me with additional fulfillment and meaning?


Organizational Management

  • Appropriate Staffing Levels: Do I feel that there are enough staff members to handle the workload comfortably?

  • Tools and Technology: Do I have access to the necessary tools and technology to perform my job efficiently and effectively?

  • Acknowledgment: Do I feel acknowledged for my hard work and dedication?

  • Fair Compensation: Do I believe that my compensation is fair and reflects the demands of my job?


Organizational Culture

  • Leadership: Does the leadership and culture of the organization allow for open discussions about concerns and ideas? Is feedback welcomed and valued

  • Transparency: Is there a culture of transparency where decisions are communicated clearly and reasons are provided?

  • Conflict Resolution: How effectively does the organization handle conflicts and disagreements? Is there a process in place that respects all parties involved?

  • Diversity and Inclusion: Are diversity and inclusion promoted in ways that impact daily operations and team dynamics positively


What can be done?

Reflecting on your work environment and personal experiences is the first step. Now, let’s explore how you can apply these insights to initiate positive changes. Depending on where you feel most motivated to make an impact, you have several paths to consider: (Coming soon)

Questions or Concerns?

If these issues resonate with you and you're seeking further guidance,

please reach out. I'm happy to assist you.

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