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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

#straightfromcait: The Workplace is a Trauma Recycling Center

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

There are two major theories when it comes to burnout. The first is that it is entirely preventable through a simple shift in workplace culture. The second is that burnout is not always avoidable but can be eliminated through self-care, establishing boundaries, and self-advocacy. According to Cait, the truth is somewhere in the middle. In today’s #straightfromcait episode, Cait, host and burnout speaker, talks about the workplace as a trauma recycling center and what that means for burnout.

A toxic workplace often is the result of people recycling their own traumas back onto their peers. Everyone in your workplace, even the people you dislike, has their own trauma that they are bringing to work with them. Our society is not equal and there are many social determinants of health that impact a person’s susceptibility to burnout. Also, since everyone comes from different life experiences, your idea of workplace trauma might be very different from your coworker’s.

By working with a trauma informed therapist and making time for self-care and self-advocacy, you can work to heal from trauma so that you bring less of it with you to your job. Give yourself grace and compassion above all else, and then find compassion for others as well.


After interviewing more than 100 people for this podcast and working with countless others, I have yet to meet a person who recovered from burnout without engaging in some form of self care.” (2:24-2:35 | Cait)

The workplace is a trauma recycling center. Workplace culture can be toxic, and we like to blame that on the system. Listen up everybody. I've said this before I'm gonna say it again. We are the system. The people making decisions at the top have just as much trauma as the people burning out along the path. Do you think that the bullies are people who have worked through their own sh*t? Hell no. Do you think that bosses who demand nonstop working and don't understand that you don't want to slash can't actually work 27 hours a day have been through successful therapy or trauma healing? Hell to the no.” (3:23-4:08 | Cait)

Until we have created a culture where there aren't large percentages of people who are neglected, abused and traumatized, burnout is always going to end up being one of the results.” (4:28-4:39 | Cait)

A psychologically safe workplace for you is not a psychologically safe workplace for someone else.” (6:42-6:47 | Cait)

When you respond with harshness, even internally, what you're doing is recycling your own trauma in your own body every day. Freeing yourself from that is a powerful step towards reclaiming power over your life and healing from burnout.” (11:48-12:05 | Cait)




If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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