flexagon: (Default)
[personal profile] flexagon
Burnout and victories

Another week of work burnout is down to its little nub of ash (though topped off nicely with an unexpected Friday lunch with [personal profile] melebeth). There were some victories, two to be precise: I got one of my junior folks promoted after writing an appeal that the appeals committee actually complimented, and I struck a deal to hire another person (before the headcount I was borrowing could evaporate or be yoinked on its string back to California, as they are wont to do). For those playing along at home, yeah, that means I also lost one appeal and, with it, a promotion case: my first such loss as a manager. Thoroughly expected, I might add; the engineer in question really wanted to put himself up, though, and I will defend to the death his right to do that.

With those top priorities taken care of, I'm just down to the angry buzzing list of emails and design docs that want attention. It's hard to focus on them; burnout means that I feel overwhelmed and filled with heart-stopping ennui all at the same time. I'm trying to acknowledging and observe the feelings while still doing the things people expect, and setting up for that four-week vacation. Five full weeks remain between now and then, so I guess self-care will continue to be a huge priority for a while yet.


This weekend I finished reading Sapiens, which I enjoyed for its biological focus and absolute lack of species-centric snobbery. A taste:

Most members of agricultural and industrial societies are domesticated animals.... Today, the society called New Zealand is composed of 4.5 million Sapiens and 50 million sheep.

Handstand presses off boxes!

And I also made some handstand progress, consistently straddle-pressing off of 24" boxes at the gym. I know the height is unimpressive, but it's a start. I had a breakthrough when I realized that I can press off the wall but have a harder time starting on a horizontal surface -- so I put my toes just over the edge of the boxes, so that I was pressing away from the side instead of off the top, and voila. If I can improve on this over time, it'll just be a race to the bottom.

Date: 2017-04-16 03:25 pm (UTC)
melebeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] melebeth
That book looks delightful. Also, I am greatly enjoying the cuteness generator you recommended. (And that you had the same cut tag problem)

Date: 2017-04-17 05:45 pm (UTC)
drwex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drwex
I feel overwhelmed and filled with heart-stopping ennui all at the same time

A remarkably accurate-to-my-experience conjunction. For me there's also a huge ladling of Guilt on top of that because I don't feel I have any "right" to feel that way.

This has been exacerbated recently by our annual push to get Thing 1 to get a (paying) job and trying to get the teenager to understand the vast and thick cocoon of privilege around us all. We try to talk with the kids about what it actually means to "work" in the sense of "if you don't show up you get fired" or in the sense of "you must do manual labor for hours on end and have no control over when those hours begin or cease". Since I don't actually work that sort of job anymore I feel guilty that I'm not overjoyed with my non-physically-demanding work.

Date: 2017-04-21 07:45 pm (UTC)
drwex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drwex
I was thinking of you when I posted my Ursula Le Guin quote

I'm honored to be thought of in any way connected to such a fine writer. I disagree with the quote, though. We are each owed much, by those close to us, and somewhat less by those less close. That's the basis of a functional (reciprocal) society. The view that we are owed nothing, and that anything provided beyond our own means to provide, is something we discarded with Victoriana. We are somewhat slower to discard the notion that those unable to provide for themselves are somehow suffering from a moral failure, but I have hopes we'll get there, too. Maybe even in my lifetime.

everything has a lethal dose. Even drinking water can kill you

Also true, and agreed. But what I'm trying to do is temper my own complaining - and by extension the (dare I say) whining of a teenager - by understanding that situations could be so much worse and life could be so much more demanding. It's not that having privilege removes one's right to complain, nor the psychological reality of being burned out, nor the bodily reality of being in pain from the physical demands of one's work. But rather our understanding and complaints have to be tempered by reality and proportionate. When the kids were younger they used to scream like we were tearing their arms off at every diaper change (I'm told by other parents this is common). Obviously not a proportional response. Not so simple to see in adult situations, but I think the principle still applies.

I've been very cushioning of my forearms since the early 90s when I suffered from an 18-month bout of severe tendonitis and tenosinovitis. So, yeah, I'm aware of RSIs and other injuries that can come from this kind of work.

Date: 2017-04-21 09:48 pm (UTC)
drwex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drwex
I don't know, honestly. I'm taking something of a "break" in that I'm traveling for work next week and thus away from the day-to-day office stresses. Still a working trip but schmoozing with customers and interviewing users is something I enjoy quite a bit. So there's that.

I'm one of those people who can't do "nothing". When I'm at home I stress about the house projects that I'm avoiding doing. I think if I was to take a break from work it would be best as something purposeful.

Date: 2017-04-21 11:56 am (UTC)
triesticity: (Default)
From: [personal profile] triesticity
That quote from Sapiens is particularly excellent to read having recently returned from New Zealand - I had no idea there were *that many* sheep.


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