Overwork and burnout

My synergistic links today are from #blogjune writer Alisa Howlett of Flight Path and Zoë Krupka writing at The Conversation.

Alisa says this about #blogjune “I enjoy how we take the lid off ourselves and reveal what gets us going in the morning, what brings a smile, what makes us tick and the issues and opportunities we are currently dealing with.” She’s going to “reflect upon and share my thoughts on steps I have taken towards improved well being.” She identifies why this is so important for library workers to share.”Passion can easily take over. We are a bunch of passionate people, striving to serve our communities the best way we can. Our profession is somewhat unique in the sense that there are so many pathways you can take, each one manifesting our passion in slightly different ways. There is no ladder. Only ideas to bring to life and opportunities to exercise our passion.” In many cases this means burnout, disillusion, & getting out of the profession.

Zoë is writing about health and work, and how wellness initiatives aren’t the answer to  overwork. I was particularly struck by her final paragraph (emphasis mine) “No amount of multivitamins, yoga, meditation, sweaty exercise, superfoods or extreme time management, as brilliant as all these things can be, is going to save us from the effects of too much work. This is not something we can adapt to. Not something we need to adjust the rest of our lives around. It is not possible and it’s unethical to pretend otherwise.” It seems so obvious but “Nothing can alleviate the stress of overwork except working less” is not always easy to implement.

I think it’s possible to ride a balance between work and overwork as long as you have good support structures and everything is going according to the plan (or the best outcomes for unplanned situations.) But woe and disaster if something does not go according to plan – the carefully balanced load of work/family/obligations/fun/housekeeping tips over like an apple cart spoiling everything. I know that if I don’t get a couple of days at home per fortnight to just do nothing then the next week is going to be a lot more difficult to cope with.

Balance in life. Balance in work.

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