Avoiding Burnout In Social Services
Avoiding Burnout (AKA: how to not hate your job) comes up frequently when discussing the PHS (People Helping Sector)
Burnout happens when people pour their hearts and souls into their work only to see little or no result from their effort.
So how do we in the PHS keep from hating our jobs.
Let’s start with what DOES NOT work:
Complain about the client not appreciating what you do
Dissolve your boundaries and give more of yourself
Here’s my #1 suggestion for what DOES WORK everytime for me at BYEP.
Pay Attention/Be mindful (I know ‘McMindfulness’ overused…) - anyway the key takeaway here is that what we do is a marathon—not a sprint—and noticing change (even if you perceive it as small) is a really, really big deal.
Yesterday I met with a young man who has participated in Big Sky Youth Empowerment for 10 sessions (a little over 3 years).
He and a couple of friends are starting a skateboard brand. What’s remarkable is not that they want to start a brand, but rather their position. I asked him to write up what makes them different or what their core value would be. Here’s what I got back:
This is a young man who came to us 3 years ago packing some serious anger. He actually withdrew from BYEP after two years with us only to reapply a year later. I love that he and his friends want to perpetuate positive change.
I’m 16 years into my journey at BYEP and (honestly) there are days when I think about my friends that went to work for Google (instead of the PHS) who I’m now targeting to be donors. But yesterday I was stoked and remembered that everyday work is worth it (Burnout antidote).
Pay attention. You’ll catch the successes. And you won't burnout.
I gotta go find my skateboard.
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