Friday, January 20, 2006


Burning for Social Change, Burning the Midnight Oil, and Burning Out

It's probably been noticed by our numerous daily readers that there has been a dearth of entires on the good old TCASK blog this week, so I suppose that an explanation is called for.

I haven't been in the office this week.

No, it isn't because I have been on the road constantly speaking and facilitating.

No, it isn't because I was at a conference learning new information and skills to increase our office's productivity.

And, no, I haven't returned with handfuls of moratorium resolutions. I was actually on retreat. As a JV, we have three retreats scheduled throughout the year, and this retreat was a actually focused on social justice. Now my initial thought, was, "Social justice? And you're pulling me away from work!? Where's the justice there?" and to tell you the truth, I did miss a lot of work, but one thing that we spent a lot of time thinking about was burnout.

Now burnout is a word that I hear a lot- one of my favorite abolitionists from EJUSA is always warning me that I need a raise to prevent burnout (I'm not sure about the logic there, but I love her just the same), and my mother certainly worries that I'm working too hard. As organizers, we spend a lot of time recruiting people and we want to make sure that they don't overdo it and get discouraged, so I'm constantly telling people to just come up with one or two small and concrete actions to take on. What that means is that I want to do everything else to ensure that it all gets done. And don't get me wrong, I love doing it. I think that I have the best job in the world. But that doesn't change the fact that when our presenter this week started talking about the danger of burning out, and when I realized that I has worked over 40 hours in just the first three days of last week, I could understand what he said. Having a couple days on a beautiful camp away from all phones and emails was a great time to reflect. Now, I'm not saying that I want to stop working weekends or anything crazy like that, and I don't mind 60-70 hour weeks, but we should keep in mind that we can get tired, so if you:

*are feeling tired
*find yourself snapping at co-workers
*have forgotten your parents/siblings/best friends phone number
*are feeling like nothing will ever change

then you should
*take a day off
*go for a run
*call your friend/sibling/parent
*watch a football game
*rent a movie
*if you have the time- go away for a weekend, and DON'T TAKE WORK WITH YOU (if you're like me that probably made you gasp)
*Go to church/synagogue/meeting/service, if you are a spiritual person
*and definitely, the next time it's nice out, even if you are at work, take 20 minutes and go for a walk and just clear your head.

It might just be worth it.

Talk to y'all soon, on our next break.
Comments :
oh isn't this calling the kettle black little buddy - people who care about you have been IN YOUR FACE for months about taking a little "alex time" and maybe, just maybe, you are gettin' it ... careful or you'll burn out and become a wall street bum like that bad jerry rubin feller from the 60's...
so, not being old, i don't know who jerry rubin is (randy sat next to jesus in the 3rd grade) but i think that randy is the only person who doesn't get to preach to me about taking time off. you haven't had a vacation in 5 years. hey. . . this sounds like alex and randy need to take a staff retreat . . . TO ARUBA!!!!
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