Hi friends. I’m writing this to you from a Redwood park in Oakland, California, which is how all mildly pretentious email newsletters about burnout should begin. I’ve been in the Bay Area doing consulting work, but mostly playing The Sims 4’s new college expansion pack. My grand-daughter sim Lucille just graduated with a degree in Physic. We are all very proud.
This email is not to brag about my impressive Sim descendants — it’s to share with you a new essay I published about burnout. In September, I left my media job to heal from a deep fog of crankiness, exhaustion, depression and run-of-the-mill professional burnout. It was a risky financial decision I was privileged to make, and I've spent the last two months processing that choice, what it cost me, and what drove me to that point.
I promise this isn’t one of those self-congratulatory posts about traveling the world and learning how to meditate. Instead, I focused on the way burnout is nearly unavoidable in our current economy, unless you have impressive financial security and the rare freedom to just bounce from a job that isn’t working for you. In my opinion, burnout is part and parcel of an economy that tries to extract as much labor from an employee as it can without taking responsibility for that person’s humanity.
Here’s a taste:
I’m afraid that there is no cure for burnout. After all, you can’t untoast toast. I love toast. As die-hard readers of my blog will know, toaster waffles make up a solid third of my nutritional intake. I speak as an EGGOs loyalist and not a scientist when I say that bread changes on a molecular level when it’s been introduced to intense heat. That isn’t necessarily bad: after all, toast is delicious. But there isn’t any going back to the plain, soft bread it was before—much like how trauma changes you into a slightly different version of yourself, forever.
Wishing you all a peaceful November and a tolerable Thanksgiving! All my best,