Burn Out

Subject: Burn Out
From: "Atek Writer" <atekwriter30 -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 16:55:35 EDT

I hope this isn't off-topic -- it is hard for me to make a judgement call on this one. I think this is something that technical writers (and particularly contractors) have to deal with (really anyone with shifting deadlines and tight schedules) -- so I'd appreciate your comments.

I have been working as a technical writer, in the wonderful world of contracting, for the past four years. Problem: I am burned out (or very close to approaching it). Although I like to write, and my supervisor/contracting company/customers are very satisfied with my work, I can see that the burnout is starting to impact my work. I'm no longer motivated to do the work and I find myself inching closer and closer to my deadline before I even start. I am seeing more mistakes. As a tech writer, there are several things that I am lacking that are vital to me -- close contact with people during the work day (I really love to help people -- face to face), a stable working location with different projects (instead of what I have now -- different locations but the same old manuals over and over again -- with different covers and titles), and perhaps the thing I miss most -- creativity. (I've tried to be creative -- but basically once you do something that people like, they want you to do it again and again -- I have a pretty low tolerance for repetition although I've learned to adapt.) I know that I will probably have to make a career change soon -- but I'm hoping that you can help me in the short-term by suggesting strategies for coping with burn out. The company that I work for doesn't offer much in way of vacation days, I've already scheduled some time off later this year so I can't take any time off between now and December -- I'm at the stage where one or two days off will not cut it -- I need a strategy to get me to December -- after which I will probably be in a better frame of mind to make some long-term career decisions.

So -- with that background (sorry it was so long) -- are there any suggestions that you can give me in terms of coping with burnout? Any strategies that are particularly helpful for tech writers or contractors (or anyone with tight shifting deadlines)?



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