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Thread: Burnout

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Perry Norton's avatar
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    Burnout

    In Reply to: Burnout posted by Earl Finkler on May 26, 1998 at 00:24:34:


    Can't help you on the Cubs thing. Try the Diamondbacks. Some people cope with this feeling by deliberately distracting themselves from the job and concentrating on "penguins" or something. I knew one man who pretended that he was about to go to some faraway place, like Kathmandu, and concentrated like mad on learning as much as he could about Nepal and Kathmandu. He wasn't going there, of course. But he learned something and, more importantly, he was able to release some of the pressure -like letting some air out of the steam radiator.

    I've long wondered if there wasn't some logical "term" for people in a profession like ours. You know, "five years and move on". You come in with ideas, work them as best you can, say what you want to say, do what you can do, and then clear out.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Barrow, Alaska
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    Planners Burnout and Revitalizing

    Hello Again

    Just wanted you all to know that I have a specific project -----to prepare an article for APA on the subject of Planner Burnout and dealing positively and creatively with the matter. So I could use as much help as I can. If you know of any personal experiences, literature, or contacts, please e-mail me as soon as possible. I have a fairly tight deadline. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

    Earl Finkler

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Feb 1998
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    Greensburg, Kansas
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    Planners Burnout and Revitalizing

    Earl,

    A fascinating topic. I get burnout about every six months when all the things that don't go right build up inside. I take a day off, take on a different challenge, or find some other attitude adjustment. Nothing helps more than a good group at a conference after the formal sessions. What kind of personality type helps a planner survive? I vaguely remember a report on planners' roles and personalities--facilitator, number cruncher, administrator, etc. How can a one or two person office find all the types that are needed?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Earl Finkler's avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Need Help With Article

    Hi Jeff

    Thanks for responding.

    I think many planners have been in situations you describe, and describe very well. Just wondering if you or anyone else reading this has thought of any possible ways to deal with known rejection other than by not recommending something outright. Some possibles: floating trial balloons with those in power, looking for a compromise that incorporates part of your idea, using public information to inform the people and possibly garner some support, etc.

    For my article, I'd like to know how you and possibly others might get to the point of self-censorship. How many times do you have to have something shot down before it wears you down or weakens creativity and energy?

    Just asking.

    Thanks again.

    Earl

  5. #5

    Need Help With Article

    The strategies that have been suggested for dealing with specific setbacks are probably very useful on a day-to-day basis, but what about "cosmic burn-out?" I am discouraged not by my last two or three failures, but by the long-term marginalization of my profession. I have worked in the public sector for twenty years, and it seems to me that the importance of planning has diminished. There seems to be a feeling that government is always bad for you, and that has led to fewer public projects and decreased public involvement in private projects. Short-term economic thinking has taken over the process. I don't mind losing a rezoning battle, but it is depressing to have to justify the existence of the zoning ordinance--to elected officials. Does it look this bleak to anyone else, or am I just having a bad day (or year)? And is it any different for private-sector planners? And is it too late for me to become a stock broker?

  6. #6

    Planners Burnout and Revitalizing

    Earl:

    This is my second attempt to get you a response; not so smooth with the interactive electronics; always hitting the wrong button.

    As for burnout, there are several secrets that have worked for me after nearly 20 years. One is to have a 5 year plan. If you don't like what you're doing at or before the 5 year mark, make a change. That is why this is my 4th planning job, each having lasted 5 years or more. So far, into year 4 at job number 4, I am happy and find the work rewarding. Realize that planning is a hugely diverse career. In each of my 4 jobs, one has barely resembled the other. Explore what works for you and pursue that. I like research and policy change and find it tedious when all that is happening is processing of paper fast enough to suit the development community.

    It also helps to have a good, balanced personality. While being hard-working, you have to learn not to take it home and to have another life with plenty of other interests. It helps to have a warped sense of humour so that you can share your ridiculous, as well as aggravating experiences with colleagues. Finally, you must believe in what you are doing and that, in some way, you are making a positive difference. Otherwise, why bother? That is when you enter your next career as a park ranger or artist..whatever. Good luck getting more responses!

    Theresa

  7. #7
    Member
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    South Royalton, VT
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    What to do about burnout before you've even started?

  8. #8
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Jan 2005
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    Quote Originally posted by jpguevin View post
    What to do about burnout before you've even started?
    Go into another field.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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