Dear OOO,

I’ve been sort of doing things at my job for several months now. For a while I couldn’t figure out what was going on, because I always loved my job and was excited to do it, but when I started reading all of these stories about burnout, it hit me: this is what I go through. I work in media, so it’s not like I’m saving lives, but it’s been a stressful year between the pandemic, the financial pressures in my business, the difficulty of working from home with children, and the challenges of dealing with people who are also burned. outside. I spoke to my boss, whom I like. He encouraged me to take an extra week off, which I did. Now that I’m back to work, I still feel exhausted. I cannot quit my job because I am the source of health insurance for my family, so how can I be treated?

-Katie

Stories of burnout, you say? Have there been any stories of burnout this year? I guess I remember one piece of reflection or of them, a historical retrospective, a few strangely framed trendy pieces, a great report functionality, and Oh my God so much How? ‘Or’ What stories. (I’ve suppressed at least a dozen others; it’s actually illegal to send me more.) Almost all of them made me feel something between annoyed and angry, either because they were dismissive or too flippant about the concept, or because their suggested solutions made no sense.

For a while, I kept getting Google News Alerts for my name because, as someone who Resign in April 2021 and I made the mistake of using the b-word in my tweet, I sort of became a data point in a handful of these stories, despite exactly zero of their authors asking me for a comment. I am so exhausted by the talk about burnout that I have ignored several burnout questions submitted to this same column. I also ignored several friends who suggested that I write about burnout instead of complaining about how everyone went wrong. I literally received a request to be part of a burnout panel by writing this column.

At one point, frustrated with another bad post on burnout, I deleted a bunch of spicy tweets and decided to channel my energy into building instead. working hours for journalists needing free coaching. Since then, I’ve done about 50 of these sessions, and the word burnout has come up in at least 40 of them. As bad as I think Burnout Discourse is, I also recognize that there is a real problem here. So here we are to my last OOO advice column, and I finally gave in.

One thing I’ve noticed in people’s descriptions of their own burnout is that they tend to list all the reasons they don’t “deserve” to feel burnt out. A woman of a few years out of college basically worked around the clock writing articles that she found extremely unsatisfying, but she was sheepish to call her exhaustion. Burnout, because she felt like she didn’t work long enough to qualify. One guy apologized for using the word because he was earning a high salary by media standards. And you, Katie, feel compelled to label your legitimate stressors by establishing that your job is not as important as that of healthcare workers.

All of this hesitation, however, is bullshit – and bullshit that makes our lives worse. Being exhausted is not a deranged badge of honor. It means you don’t need to earn it. But when people are told over and over through silly articles and even silly tweets that burnout is not “real” or that it does not apply to white collar workers or that they are too young to be knowing what real suffering is, they are inclined to repress and delegitimize their feelings rather than taking concrete steps to change their situation. And yes, of Classes the word has become a catch-all that means very different things to different people, but it’s a feature, not a bug. Part of the reason it was weird to see my own experience used in all of these stories was that people were making assumptions about what “burnout” looked like to me and therefore judging it accordingly, without realizing it. slightest idea. (Never tweet, that’s what I’m saying.)

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