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Combat Burn out, what works for you

By Jcritch ·
As a old fart in the IT field (20+ years) maybe the old dogs need to teach the new dogs some tricks to stay alive and healthy in this field.

I am calling on everyone young and old, what do you do to keep from burning out?

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Or get tagged along with.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to tag along

Every few years the work load here requires a summer temp. Nothing keeps you on your toes like a high school senior or college underclassman wanting a couple of months of real world experience. Everytime the kid asks a question, you get to rethink how you do things.

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Difficult in a small company

by geobeck In reply to tag along

...when everyone asks you constant questions about how to do things that they did for years before you showed up (somehow). It sucks to be the guy who 'knows everything', even when every second answer you give is "I don't know."

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Self awareness is the key

by amcol In reply to Combat Burn out, what wor ...

After more than thirty years as a professional I have come to the conclusion that "burnout" is one of those terms everyone throws around just to provide themselves with yet another in an endless series of excuses not to take personal reponsibility for one's own life.

Burnout is a physical, mental, and emotional response to constant levels of high stress. There's nothing in that definition that requires the stress be job related, which is probably why the divorce rate is so high...people burn out of their marriages. There's also nothing in that definition that indicates the sources of the stress, which is the gist of my point.

There are external and internal stressors. My boss is a moron, my job sucks, I'm on call 24/7, the guy in the next office talks too loud and I can't concentrate, the accounting department keeps screwing up my paycheck, my commute's real long...all of these are external job related stressors. They're also all addressable issues in that we can do something about them. Sometimes that requires making a small change...asking the guy in the next office to please keep his voice down. Sometimes we have to change our entire situation, up through and including finding a new job.

Then there are the internal stressors, the pressure we place on ourselves. Pressure to perform, to be perfect, to make more money, to succeed, to not fail, to keep climbing the organizational ladder, to not let anyone down. These all seem a lot harder to address, but actually they're easier...if we have the willingness and wherewithal to make the necessary changes in our own personal lives and the way we view our own selves.

The whole point is that burnout is actually a result of the hopelessness associated with feeling that all these things are piling up on us and there's nothing we can do about it. THAT'S the way to avoid recognizing that's not true, that in fact we DO have control. We CAN make changes. We ARE able to make things better.

How to do this? That's an individual decision, since everyone's stressors are uniquely individual. However, the path to success is self knowledge. Knowing what's in our own heads and minds and hearts, coming to terms with that, and being comfortable in one's own skin gives us back the control over our own lives we so readily and so foolishly relinquish.

Your boss is a jerk, your job is a bore, no one appreciates you, and that all really bothers you. Why? It doesn't have to be a cause and effect situation. You made a choice, whether you know it or not, to let your boss and your job get under your skin. Make a conscious choice to NOT let it bother you.

Yeah, I know, easier said than done. It takes practice, lots of it. Most of it's pretty easy,'s just a question of learning how to relax.

Sorry this all sounds so pedantic but it's a topic I'm obviously a bit passionate about.

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Take Control - Set Boundaries

by Wayne M. In reply to Self awareness is the key

I will concur with amcol and provide a list of actions that have worked for me. I don't have a lot of time for details today, but if something sparks questions, ask.

* Become an 8-to-5-er. Get home at a reasonable hour. Also, you will force yourself to become more efficient by not "doing whatever it takes" instead get it done on time.

* Delegate work. Let someone else do something even if he will not do it as well as you. Don't get stuck being the only one able to do something.

* Give kudos. Tell someone when he has done a good job. Make it a habit to do every day (some days you will have to look harder than others!). Focusing on someone else is a great way to distract yourself from your own issues.

* Find a better way to do a task you hate to do. Sometimes it may feel like it is more work to simplify something than to just do it, but it also brings back some of the enjoyment of the early days when you were solving new (to you) problems every day.

Give these a whirl and see if they help.

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Some More Hints

by Wayne M. In reply to Self awareness is the key

Try some of these:

* Find someone to grab a cup of coffee with every morning. Five minutes of discussing politics, sports, tv shows, etc., can set the stage for the rest of the day.

* Take a lunch break. On a good day, bring a sandwich from home and just sit outside somewhere and eat it.

* Be a mentor. Ask someone to tell you about the latest problem he solved and listen without giving advice.

* Create a Friday morning doughnut club. Put a sign up list in a common area. Bring in doughnuts next Friday with a sign saying "Take One!" regardless of whether anyone else signs up.

* Occassionally walk down the hallways backwards.

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Individual Decisions

by tekdoc In reply to Self awareness is the key

society, or
all mankind,
should study the
consequences that are
likely to result from each
decision that is possible at
the present time. By making
appropriate selections today,
society can influence its
future, rather than wait for the
inevitable to occur. The individual,
too, can consider what sort
of person he wants to become,
and what goals he wants to
achieve, before making a choice
between various alternatives.
He can set out to produce a
certain future for himself,
instead of feeling that his life
is completely determined
by forces over which he
has little control.?

Allen Tough
The Adult?s
Learning Projects

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A mental break.

by E. In reply to Combat Burn out, what wor ...

Do something completely unrelated to work that you enjoy, on a regular basis.
My favourites are fishing, mountain biking, medieval combat, camping, gardening and building 'stuff'.

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by master3bs In reply to A mental break.

I took up juggling and some related skills (hence the name master3bs - master of 3 balls)

Juggling is very relaxing.

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That's the only way I survive

by geobeck In reply to A mental break.

I took up indoor rock climbing a few months ago. When the stress at work is so bad I feel like climbing the walls, I go to the gym and do exactly that. In five months, I've lost a full trouser size and gained a full jacket size. If job stress continues to rise at its present rate, I'll be the geek equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger by Christmas.

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Take time to unplug

by jdclyde In reply to Combat Burn out, what wor ...

Doing too much of anything will get old after long enough.

Take time away from tech and doing something that relaxes you. do this WEEKLY.

Share your interests with friends. If you have more than just co-workers to share the latest tech toy with, it helps keep it "cool and fun".

Work somewhere that RESPECTS and VALUES you. If your somewhere that is always on the edge of major layoffs, it is a lot of stress. Also need some freedom. The old style "managers" that equate busy with being a good worker are to be avoided like the plague. There is a lot of time spent reading and just thinking.

Add a new interest. If you don't learn anything new, it all gets old.

Take a class on the latest/greatest wizbang.

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