How To Avoid Burning Out At Work (And Not Set Fire to a Nuclear Sub)

Four easy tips to prevent you from committing work arson

Ash Jurberg
6 min readMar 21, 2022

Photo by Marco allasio from Pexels

How desperate are you to leave work each day?

However bored, overworked, or underappreciated you are, I'll bet you are not as desperate as Casey Fury.

On May 23, 2012, Fury was working as a painter performing an overhaul on the USS Miami nuclear submarine. He had enough of work for the day and wanted to leave early.

We have all been in that situation.

Many of us would have faked a sickness or invented a family emergency. Fury ignored these options for something a little excessive — he started a fire, which isn't the best idea when you're on a nuclear submarine. Unfortunately for Fury, the fire got out of hand and caused over $450 million in damages.

After several years, the repair bills proved too prohibitive, and the submarine was permanently decommissioned.

Fury did get some time off work — seventeen years in fact as he was sentenced to prison for his action.

So what are the signs that you may be burned out in your current job, and alternatives are there to committing ‘work arson?’

1. Work shouldn't be the Squid Games

After graduating, my first career job was for a global oil corporation — I was chasing money and didn't care who I worked for.

There were six new starters on my first day — all recent graduates. We spent the first day together completing a company induction and were told we would meet once a month and be assessed on our work performance.

And so the Graduate Hunger Games commenced.

I was determined to win this battle. I would be the first in the office and the last to leave. The others caught wind of this, and it became a farce as we got to the office at 8 am, then 7 am, and then 6 am.

There was no one else around but the six of us all battling for the title most hours worked. Mid-level managers caught wind of it and started encouraging us, saying the main assessment criteria in our monthly reviews were hours in the office, and they had been through…

Ash Jurberg

I’ve been to 105 countries and am welcome back in most. Check out my new book