Something Major: The New Playbook for Women at Work by Randi Braun Might Be the Answer to Burnout, Achieving Parity and More for Women in the Workplace

In today’s fast-paced and competitive work environment, burnout has become an all-too-common problem, particularly for women in leadership positions. The pandemic was the catalyst that added to the stress and pressure, with many women juggling work, family, and personal responsibilities. But what we find is now this feeling of burnout is still with us. Why? 

What exactly is burnout, and how can women in professional environments avoid it? We spoke to Randi Braun, author of the new book Something Major: The New Playbook for Women at Work, to get her insights on this pressing issue and learn how women can prioritize self-care and build resilience to avoid burnout. 

Q: Why do you say women are experiencing burnout at work? Why is this happening? 

Women aren’t just exhausted, they’re in crisis:  research overwhelmingly shows that women are burned out and according to Forbes, 50% of us don’t feel confident about our future job prospects. Too many women are exhausted from what I call Performative Productivity Culture — a set of workplace habits and norms where performing our work and our commitment to the hustle culture takes precedence over the work itself. 

 We gobble up so much of our time answering every IM, attending every unnecessary meeting, that to actually get the real work done we need to burn the midnight oil when we’re the worst, least impactful, least creative and resourceful versions of ourselves. While we can’t change Performative Productivity Culture on our own, The New Playbook looks at ways we can take control back: whether that’s shifting our mindset from being “productive” to being “impactful,” learning to co-design boundaries by co-designing expectations (instead of just feeling exhausted, anxious, or guilty all the time), and reimagining our relationship to our wellbeing a a conduit to our leadership, longevity and impact (not an indulgent day of manicures).  

Q: Many people say women are leaving the workplace to pursue motherhood and spend more time with family. Is this what you are finding? Why or why not? 

By now everyone has heard the stats that millions of women have left the workplace over the last three years, and many assume those are all moms. That’s just not true and we need to zoom out to get a fuller picture. We’ve had many moms leave to accommodate caregiving, but others are leaving to recover from burnout or just to find a “fresh start” because they made it to the top of their field and realized they’re not happy there after all. What’s most troubling to me is that, according to the National Women’s Law Center, women are returning to the workforce at a slower pace than the general labor force population.  

So, let’s make sure we’re talking about women, not just moms. But when we do talk about moms, let’s not be so myopic about caregiving. Yes, caregiving and caregivers are in crisis — but most of the working moms I talk to and work with, want more tips on optimizing the “work” part of that equation — not necessarily the “mothering” side of the equation.  

And, by the way, we need to remember that these women aren’t working moms, they’re leaders with kids. That’s a major paradigm shift that we haven’t realized yet as a society.   

Q: Are women achieving parity in leadership positions at work?  

The data is horrifying. Less than 15% of CEO’s in the Fortune 500 are women and, when we look across the economy more broadly, that drops to just 1 in 20 women, also known as 5%. 

 Women are told to play by a set of rules — be humble, let your work speak for itself, just work harder — that lead us to plateau and burn out. The New Playbook isn’t about blowing up your next meeting or the macro-level dynamics of your workplace– but it is about amping up your awareness, agency, and day-to-day actions to design a career rooted in the goals of leadership, longevity, impact, and fulfillment.  

Q: Black women and diversity – what is the reality vs the perception? 

Hyperbolic headlines distract us from the realities of what “progress” looks like.  

In 2021, for example, when the Fortune 500 added its first two Black women CEOs, headlines were gleeful: “A record 41 women are Fortune 500 CEOs—and for the first time two Black women made the list,” hailed CNBC. “The female CEOs on this year’s Fortune 500 just broke three all-time records,” declared Fortune. Yes, this is all factual information. But the story should be why did it take this long, what are we going to do to change this pace of progress, and how do this few women still constitute a record?   

Similarly, after Black women made gains on S&P Board seats in the early 2020s, outlets ran headlines like, “Corporate boards used to be mostly white and male. That’s changed since George Floyd’s murder” in USA Today or “Black women hold record share of S&P 500 boardroom seats” in Bloomberg.  

Hold the phone. For all the media hype, Black women’s “record-breaking progress” was notching up a mere 4 percent of S&P 500 Board Seats. While these trailblazing women are worthy of celebration, the metrics aren’t.  

On the contrary, the fact that we celebrate these metrics instead of rallying around them as a battle cry, shows us just how broken our system is—especially when we consider that at the same moment in time, male executives still controlled ninety-nine times more S&P 500 shares by value than women. 

Q: Who should buy your book? Any woman who wants to level up her leadership, love her work life, and have fun along the way.  

Remember, burnout is a real problem for women in the workplace, but it is not insurmountable. With the right strategies and mindset, women can prioritize their own well-being and build resilience to overcome the challenges they face. For more information on how to thrive in your career and avoid burnout, visit Randi Braun’s website at