I just came across a great post from Anne Truitt Zelenka over on Web Worker Daily, Anne (formerly known as Anne 2.0) is a brilliant writer and always has some of the most interesting things to post about. The last one is one I think will hit close to home for a lot of people which is why I decided to post about it here. Year end is coming, for some of us this is the most hectic part of the year – for me and the others on my team this is “TechEd time” and that means long hours (have to communicate from India to California all at the same time on a single call) and stressful planning and hectic brainstorming in order for us to really pull out all the stops to make this year’s SAP TechEd season a killer one. This can of course play havoc on your personal life as well as your work life.
So when I was reading what Anne wrote I really sat back and said wow now that hit home!
Even if you love your work, there will be times when it no longer fills you with passion and energy. You feel emotionally exhausted and cynical. Your health suffers as stress mounts. You wonder whether you have the resources, internal or external, to meet your responsibilities.
Web workers may be especially prone to burnout in a hyperconnected world. That damn laptop’s always around, waiting with email at the ready.
Replace “laptop” with “blackberry” and it seems to get even worse.
However, think of this as the early warning system as well as take a look at some of the practical advice she has for dealing with it.
- Find a new project
- Offload some responsibilities
- Get some help
- Reach out of yourself
- Start a side job
- Take a sabbatical
OK not all of them might be so practical as they can be even more disruptive but the first 4 are a definite good thing to think about.
She’s even provided a nifty link with a whole “test” one can take so you have an idea what’s what.
To see if you might be at risk of burnout, try this Burnout Self-Test. If you’re close to burnout, though, you probably already know it: you feel irritable, overworked, and underappreciated.
I took it and had a “50” which is actually quite bad, then I said wait a second I wasn’t feeling “burned out” so I sat back and really thought about each question.
50 – 59 You may be at severe risk of burnout – do something about this urgently
I took things apart and gave it a thought as opposed to simple knee jerk reaction. The next time around I was in the “green” so I think with a lot of things it’s a matter of your prespective and how hard you look at a particular item and I bet once SAP TechEd is over if I took the test again I’d be even lower. Keep that in mind as well, take the test again once your current project is over.
So how do you deal/cope? Me I find I am more often than not one that does the “Reach out to yourself”, the sounding board type of person I have the white board in my office that I sometimes just go crazy with as well as my blog, journals and writing as well as ranting and rambling (I don’t post half of those podcasts) as well as Twitter and the SDN Advisory Board.
Reach out of yourself. When you start to burn out, you may push people away with your grumpiness, but connecting with other people can be just what you need to to change your thinking around. If you feel comfortable with it, share your exhaustion and pessimism online with your friends. Instead of annoying people by using IM as your personal therapy provider, broadcast your angst on Twitter or Facebook or Jaiku. Then the people with some free emotional cycles can come to your aid.
The poor folks that I bother sometimes 😉 but I’m always there to return the favor as well. In fact the entire Community and Collaboration often make ourselves available to all of you as well here in the community.