RE: Burn Out

Subject: RE: Burn Out
From: "Rock, Megan" <Megan -dot- Rock -at- fanucrobotics -dot- com>
To: "'figmo -at- rahul -dot- net'" <figmo -at- rahul -dot- net>, "Techwr-l (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 14:22:24 -0400

Lynn asked:

> Q: How do you keep this attitude from showing on the job?

Like I said, I'm called to do my best at everything I do. Being a Type A
person makes that even easier--I can't live with myself if I'm not meeting
my own expectations of myself, which are usually higher than other people's
expectations of me. I think that's why I can get easily stressed out over
things that aren't of eternal consequence. I treat my managers with
respect, and I put in the time and effort it takes to do a high quality job
on my projects, but I try to keep a long-term perspective.

I set healthy boundaries for myself by asking myself, "Will this really
matter tomorrow, next month, next year, when I'm dead?" Even if I can
answer "yes" to the first three, I haven't yet been able to answer "yes" to
the last one, at least not where my job is concerned. I've seen products
change with the wind, entire manuals be replaced by revised versions two
weeks after the first version went out the door, and employees come and go.
That's the way the business world works. When my fingers are done dancing
on this particular keyboard, somebody else's fingers will take over where I
left off. I really don't think my company depends on me in order to stay
afloat. :) That makes it easier for me not to take myself too (as in
excessively) seriously.

> I've made the
> mistake in the past of letting this kind of attitude show and
> have been
> pushed out the door for it. One such previous boss felt I didn't have
> enough work because I was able to get my work done in a
> 40-hour work week
> while the (mostly hired fresh out of school) programmers
> would be working
> late nights and weekends.

In our documentation group, if our work is getting done in 40 hours, there
is no reason for our managers to ask us to put in 50 or 60 hours. Our
managers don't want to work those kinds of hours unnecessarily either,
because they have lives, too. A lot depends on where you work and who you
work for. I think in some cases it also depends on how much guff you're
willing to take. In most cases, your employer will take everything you're
willing to give and then some, unless you put your foot down when they start
to cross the boundaries you've set. If your boss doesn't respect you or
take you seriously, maybe it's no longer a good fit and it's time to move

I'll admit I've learned a lot from my husband who has been in the workforce
a number of years longer than I have been. His philosophy is that no job is
worth sacrificing mental or physical health or family relationships for. He
goes into job interviews with his priorities firmly in place. In fact,
he'll let the interviewer know that his job is 4th on his list of
priorities. He says he'll give them no more than 50 hours a week and no
Sundays. If they can't handle that, then he knows it wouldn't be a good
fit. He looks elsewhere. So far he has never been without a job when he
has needed or wanted one, regardless of the economy. But he's not too proud
to flip burgers or clean dog kennels if that's what it takes to pay the

Megan E. Rock
Technical Writer
megan -dot- rock -at- fanucrobotics -dot- com

All views expressed are entirely my own and are not necessarily shared by my
friends, co-workers, or employer.

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