Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Preaching to myself, part 1

President Obama met today with Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK. They discussed the global financial crisis, the April economic summit in London and a comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan. I gave a presentation on teacher burn-out. This serves to put my seminar into perspective.

A few years ago, I noticed my bad attitude (BA) was at a crescendo. This BA had a lot to do with a lot of things. But I wasn't going to just let myself fizzle out or settle down. I took a fair amount of time ruminating that summer. I made a list of the things in my job that give me real meaning. I wrote down what attracted me to my profession in the first place. What did I find satisfying now? What inspired or excited me? These were the parts of my job life that I was going to keep as my focus. As a musician, there were many facets to analyze-composing, performing, teaching, volunteering, judging, my church position, my CD and inventions.

I was really good at writing down the frustrations: the personalities, the lack of recognition, the bureaucracy, the status quo, the fear of the unknown. Many of these frustrations were in my church position or in my state teaching association. These things were threats to the parts of my job that I loved. So, I asked for these things to begin to change and ultimately when they didn't, I gave up a job that I really liked and stepped back from some of my volunteering roles.

Some of it ended badly. I have regrets. Who wouldn't. It rippled, it ripped. And, ultimately I am now in an amazing mission church with incredible musicians that could have never happened without the self analysis and reflection. It was hard, frightening, frustrating, and the best lesson I have had to date about myself.

Part of the burnout lies with your situation. The other part comes from within. You are most vulnerable to burnout when the stress you experience impacts negatively on the things that you find most satisfying in your job. So, if you're in the mood to question your job, ask yourself the above questions, and make your lists. Then ask yourself why you got into your job in the first place. Are you really doing what you want to do?

More on my presentation tomorrow.


  1. Sheesh, I was just here a few minutes ago and commented on your last post. This one wasn't up yet. As I returned to my page, this popped up.

    Yes, the ultimate question...are you really doing what you want to do? Sometimes burnout just means it is time for change.

  2. Ronda, thank you so much for Ishmael and the compliment on the last post. But change is hard, isn't it? Or is it?


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