Verging on burnout while battling complacency

Posted by on April 1, 2011 at 6:47 pm.

It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night and I’m still working. I work a lot anyway, but tonight’s a special case because one of my city councils is meeting for a goals retreat. The council will draft long-term goals for the city, so as a journalist, I have to be here. The members are in a closed session right now, so here I sit outside, patiently waiting while drafting a blog post.

I don’t like working Friday nights but it seems to happen a lot. It’s not because I’m ever behind, but because I use Friday nights as a way to get ahead. But after working as a news editor/reporter for several months, I’ve realized something: there’s no such thing as getting ahead in this profession. You’re always swamped.

It’s an issue I struggle with on a personal and a professional level. I take a lot of pride in my ability to work hard, and it’s a characteristic that has allowed me to occasionally succeed in my young adult life. But there’s more to it than that.

I can’t stand complacency. If I’m not progressing to something, then I’m unhappy. I distracted myself from journalism work while in college by becoming a better Ultimate Frisbee player. Sure, my ledes might have sucked every now and then, but I learned how to throw a back-handed huck by the time I was a senior (and ask any of my former teammates: that was a huge accomplishment). But where’s that distraction now? I’m in a new city working for a company where some of my friends work. Even when we meet for fun, we still either a) work b) exchange work stories or c) fret about future work.

In a previous blog post, I lamented about my lack of hobbies. I still don’t have any (unless you count reading, but holy cow that’s a lame hobby). For my personality to succeed, I need to establish something in my life similar to Ultimate Frisbee of yesteryear. Otherwise, I’m going to burn out as a journalist before I turn 24 years old.

3 Comments

  • Justin Myers says:

    Agreed. Crochet came in handy for that on my end, and Halo’s been another useful one lately.

  • Sarah Morris says:

    Cooking. Cooking and baking is the best. It’s relaxing while you do it, plus the leftovers come in handy for those nights you feel you’re just too damn busy to eat.

  • Emily says:

    Ryan! I have also been having a hard time balancing work and free time. I think our generation struggles with it in particular because we often seek jobs where our co-workers are also friends. It’s excellent to work with people you like, but at the same your world becomes so much more insular (as you describe). I think other activities are important, not just because they expand your skills, but also because a new network of people can complement different sides of you.

    Much love from SA,

    Emily

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