Author Topic: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition  (Read 764 times)

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Maribeth

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Since burnout is a topic that comes up a lot around here.... WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition

maximillionx

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2019, 12:43 pm »
I was so happy to hear about this on The Take Away on NPR! Recognition leads to solutions....hopefully.

Having just recently done some research on it for a project, it's astonishing how much of burnout's description and characteristics you personally recognize working in theatre.

Michelle R. Wood

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2019, 10:03 pm »
Having just recently done some research on it for a project, it's astonishing how much of burnout's description and characteristics you personally recognize working in theatre.

I was doing personal research earlier this year due to a stressful spring of overlapping shows, and was quite disheartened to see a term called the "stage manager syndrome" in a businsess manager help article. It made me really step back and think about what I consider my job, and what I should consider my job. My AD and I have worked through some new processes that will hopefully decrease the stress in our next season. Reaching out and clearly articulating when you need help is difficult, but vital.
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison (Harper's Magazine, 1932)

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Tempest

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #3 on: Jun 01, 2019, 08:12 am »
I was doing personal research earlier this year due to a stressful spring of overlapping shows, and was quite disheartened to see a term called the "stage manager syndrome" in a businsess manager help article. It made me really step back and think about what I consider my job, and what I should consider my job. My AD and I have worked through some new processes that will hopefully decrease the stress in our next season. Reaching out and clearly articulating when you need help is difficult, but vital.

Michelle, could you link that article here? I'd like to see it.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

RuthNY

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #4 on: Jun 01, 2019, 08:40 am »
I'd love to hear more details please, about the new processes you and your AD created to decrease stress!!
Thanks!




Having just recently done some research on it for a project, it's astonishing how much of burnout's description and characteristics you personally recognize working in theatre.

I was doing personal research earlier this year due to a stressful spring of overlapping shows, and was quite disheartened to see a term called the "stage manager syndrome" in a businsess manager help article. It made me really step back and think about what I consider my job, and what I should consider my job. My AD and I have worked through some new processes that will hopefully decrease the stress in our next season. Reaching out and clearly articulating when you need help is difficult, but vital.
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
--Alan Alda

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Michelle R. Wood

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #5 on: Jun 03, 2019, 03:14 pm »
The article in question is called "High Achiever Burnout." While the whole thing (a short page skim) is worth a read, the part that really grabbed my attention was in the first 2 paragraphs:

Quote
Essentially they expand the scope of their job by assuming others’ responsibilities. In the short run this isn’t a problem. Their intent and resulting outcome is good. However, it’s rarely a one-off situation. It can easily become a habit and create what we call the “stage manager” syndrome—when things are going well no one notices your contributions, but when things aren’t, you end up holding the bag.

Coming from my background in low/no budget small regional theatre, I have a tendency to just step in and make things happen, knowing there's often no other recourse. It's so easy to get caught up in the "show must go on" mentality and just make it work. But as the author points out, this attitude can be quite destructive in the long term.

More personally: this year was my first time serving a full season as a resident stage manager rather than freelancing around. We're a small staff, and we all wear a lot of hats. Some of the structure of my job was inherited, other parts happened due to staff changes, show needs, and schedule requirements. What became very apparent by the last mainstage show was that I'd been spinning too many plates for too long with little to no break.

While I named all the reasons why the job ballooned beyond simply "stage manager," talking through things with a friend and then later my AD during an evaluation helped me identify that part of the problem was myself. I didn't come to my AD when things first started getting overwhelming; even when I reached out for help on occassion to other staff, it felt like I was admitting I couldn't do my job. Which, in essence, was true: but the question became how much of my work should be my job.

We've identified a place in the budget where we may be able to hire additional help for me on a part time basis, and working with the music director on larger productions to take some of the load off me in rehearsal in terms of running tracks and keeping the sound cues straight in prep for tech with our board op (we don't use orchestras). This new season doesn't have any overlapping shows either, so my spring will be much better in terms of having time between shows to prep rather than this past one (where it felt like I was jumping from tech to opening to tech for a while).
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison (Harper's Magazine, 1932)

smejs

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #6 on: Jun 03, 2019, 08:13 pm »
Thank you for sharing, Michelle - both the article and your experience!

maximillionx

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #7 on: Jun 03, 2019, 09:58 pm »
The article in question is called "High Achiever Burnout." While the whole thing (a short page skim) is worth a read, the part that really grabbed my attention was in the first 2 paragraphs:

Quote
Essentially they expand the scope of their job by assuming others’ responsibilities. In the short run this isn’t a problem. Their intent and resulting outcome is good. However, it’s rarely a one-off situation. It can easily become a habit and create what we call the “stage manager” syndrome—when things are going well no one notices your contributions, but when things aren’t, you end up holding the bag.

Coming from my background in low/no budget small regional theatre....I was jumping from tech to opening to tech for a while).

Wise realizations Michelle! It sneaks up on you. It sounds like you have a good support system, but remember to support yourself too. We all want to make the most happen with the least resources and that certainly is our employer's standpoint too (best productivity for least pay...I know that sounds evil, but it's business!). Keep in mind your personal equations: What makes you able to work? Do you have time to be healthy? Do you have time to recharge? Do you have time to be with loved ones? But OOOooooo you're giving me some flashbacks.

Last year, the theatre I worked at folded. I served as that PM, SM, ME, Designer, IT fella, do-it-all person and was - unbeknownst to me DURING it - burning out fast and unhappy. I have spent the last year, refocusing and re prioritizing myself in different ways (different job [i.e. teaching], taking classes, doing the jobs that I want, seeing my spouse and family and friends).

When you burn out, it takes time to heal. It's not just exhaustion, but the mental damage it and you do to yourself. (I'm not good enough, what's the point, this doesn't matter, etc...)

Also, the research I referenced:
https://hbr.org/2014/06/your-work-life-balance-should-be-your-companys-problem
https://hbr.org/2016/11/beating-burnout
https://www.jstor.org/stable/25780982
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1500970

And if anyone needs to talk about burnout and frustrations with work, do it....you'll feel so much better! I felt so alone until I did (which is probably why I'm word-vomiting all over this post lol)

Michelle R. Wood

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #8 on: Jun 04, 2019, 10:13 pm »
Agree so much about the feeling alone and not able to talk about things: it can become a bad cycle of "This is bad, well fix it, wait, this is bad, well fix it," on and on with no apparent escape. Your many hats sound earily familiar, though fortunatley someone else handles the build and lighting around here. Props, on the other hand, has kept me quite busy, which is part of the extra help we're looking to ad hoc hire in the new season.
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison (Harper's Magazine, 1932)

loebtmc

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Re: ARTICLE: WHO recognizes burnout as a medical condition
« Reply #9 on: Jun 06, 2019, 03:51 pm »
I so agree with all this — and have had my share of burnout a few times. But amusingly, first time I saw the headline I thought it said "Who recognizes burnout as a medical condition?" — that is, a question as opposed to the organization WHO. Made me laugh both ways!

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