On burnout

Some friends of Tiger Boy’s have a regular games night. I went with him one night several weeks ago, and what we played when I got there was Frank’s Zoo.

I’d never heard of it. “It’s fun,” they said. “It’s a trick-taking game.” Crap, I thought. Well, I ought to at least be a good sport and try it.

What I knew from before was that I cannot play trick-taking games. Not just “suck at,” although I do, but literally “cannot play” — because they stress me out enough that it simply is no longer playing.

What was interesting to notice on this particular occasion was that it stressed me out in essentially the same ways that my job had been stressing me out. Strategizing. Prioritizing. Being supposed to keep track of a dozen factors, their relative weights, and — oh yeah — when not to play the thing that looks obvious because it might be better used down the road, if I could think far enough ahead (and understand enough of the relevant factors) to predict what that would be. Or then again, not. Duh.

Add this to the cold I was acutely fighting off, and the general run-down exhausted feeling I’d had for a couple of weeks, and… it really pushed my buttons. It was totally fascinating to observe (in a third-party kind of way) myself approaching the verge of a nervous breakdown. I had to get up from the table for a few minutes to escape to the bathroom and try to collect myself.

I just now took the “Are You Burned Out?” quiz du jour, putting in the answers from the past several weeks, and I got 68%. “You are very burned out. You need a huge break from your responsibilities, starting as soon as possible. And you need this time to reevaluate what you really want out of your life. Because you’re working hard and going no where… and that would burn anyone out!”

Luckily, I figured that out in the interim — and have taken the appropriate steps.

Yesterday was my first official day of full-time self-employment. Today, I had a massage in the morning (yay!) and a really energizing screening interview with PSG in the afternoon.

Tonight, there’s another games night.
I think I’m ready. :-D

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