Brevity Is The Soul Of Apathetically #11: Work Burnout

Ugh. The never-ending lessons in how to create a ‘trauma-informed’ and ‘anti-racist’ workplace that somehow manage to involve folks having to relive their own personal trauma(s) continue. (Or, as my Partner succinctly sums them up each week: “the beatings will continue until morale improves!”) I’m not even just talking about me feeling work burnout in my title. Apparently one in particular of those recent three-hour trainings was enough a week ago that the senior leadership actually canceled our all-org Zoom meeting afterward. Because enough people simply wrote in after the training and said they were too burned out and were taking some time off to the point it seemed pointless to hold it for the rest of us. You’d think this might be a clue to management to maybe back off the trainings a bit? Right?

But, no. The problem with folks who specialize in providing ‘evidence-based’ (aka numbers-based) solutions to things, is that if some empirical study somewhere (possibly one we worked on) says something is a good idea, it’s a good idea. Current context need never apply. At some point, data people have this annoying tendency to become so hyperfocused on “the data” that they forget that foremost of adages that I try to keep in mind when I do evaluations: “statistics are just human beings with the tears wiped off” (Paul Brodeur and/or Irving Selikoff as quoted by Paul Brodeur, depending on which source you believe.)

And, because I’m a contrarian who likes to yell at people, apparently, I seem to be the self-appointed, ‘here let me shock you all each training by being willing to just out and out say things (within reason, and as approved by my own personal Greek Chorus) about what trauma actually feels like openly, just for the satisfaction of seeing how folks will have to ‘deal with me.’ Fueling myself off my personal ‘you all don’t believe I can, so I will’ spite font has served me surprisingly well in my life during all that trauma. Even if it usually led (leads) to collapsed ‘puddle on the floor’ style dissociation eventually. Thus, it’s almost like I was meant for the role of ‘annoy the trauma-uninformed trainers until they cave and give us concessions like the right to turn off our Zoom meetings during the training.’ Because spite really can be a coping strategy, I swear! (Oh, yeah, and also so maybe because if I’m the one being the annoying ‘let me say what you don’t want to hear’ as someone now just high enough up in ‘management’ structure that I can’t immediately be shut down, then all of those others who have been skipping org meetings left and right after emotionally intense three-hour trainings won’t have to?! I swear there is some motivation for this beyond spite. Maybe there’s a lot of spite there, too, but there are also some genuine attempts at ‘being the light’ and all that, too. I swear! And, I take it as a point of pride that after I refused to do a River of Life, I notice we haven’t gotten very many more of them. Now that it is more actually ‘volunteer’ than ‘voluntold,’ I notice that we suddenly we don’t get nearly so many ‘volunteers’ each week!)

But, the problem with these three-hour trainings remains that they happen on Fridays. And, when they happen on Friday, they inevitably take the entire amount of emotional bandwidth I have previously devoted to yelling at the world via my blog instead sharing my story with you all afterward. So, when it comes the weekend and I actually have ‘time’ to write, I don’t have ‘bandwidth’ to write.

And, also, apparently, I entirely forget that I actually have a solution for this that I pre-prepared last year. So, uh, oops. Have another installment of the Brevity is the Soul of Apathetically. Because that’s what they are there for!

Sibling’s “Care Coordinator” from insurance during a random required Zoom meeting regarding what to do with the fact that Sibling was recently dropped by PCP for being too ‘medically complex,’ about talking to her own state bureaucracy about what to do about this fact. (The One-Horse Townhouse, while still good itself, is still in a One-Horse Town without a ton of available PCPs): “They give me the run around, too, and I’m like ‘I work here!?'” (Also, it’s super comforting when the ‘Care Coordinator’ doesn’t know things like that hospitals no one longer typically do admitting privileges for PCPs. They just have ‘hospitalists.’ Because she ‘can’t remember the last time she actually knew someone who was in a real hospital.’ Umm. Really? You work in ‘care’ and you are that out of date?! Yup, very typical Hell…)

Partner: “You know what I like about cats? That they have largely bred themselves to be cute so humans will feed them. The humans didn’t get involved until recently to mess it up. Because there are some ugly dogs out there. And, it’s  all because, at some point in history, someone went, ‘You know what would look good on a dog? An ugly-ass curly tail. Get me one of those! Or a smashed in face! Cats are like, ‘This is a design that can still do things. But also humans want to pet me.’ Also, dogs are more task-focused. ‘Hi, I’ve been your hunting companion for 10,000 years. That’s what you want me for. Oh? You don’t hunt things anymore? I don’t know what do to about that. Let me run around and destroy things.’ Cats are just chill.”

*Watching Married At First Sight. Because trash t.v. can occasionally be fun. One new season star says he made his backyard into a beach because ‘lawn maintenance is too complicated.’ He also has obsessive shrine to the 80s in his basement.*

Partner: “Well, there’s our token ASD guy for the season!”

Lavender: “Yeah. Except you know that you’d totally turn our backyard into a beach, too, if we had one…”

Partner: “To avoid lawncare? Hell yeah I would!”

Lavender (thinking back to earlier in the day): “Well, given that I did just literally make the comment on the way home that my plan for future home ownership was to have enough land that the neighbors didn’t have to see that my plan for lawn maintenance was buying a goat and letting it loose, I’m not saying you are wrong…”

Partner: “And don’t forget saying you fully planned to leave the Christmas lights up until February. But, that’s okay. I’d buy the goat even if we did have neighbors who could see us…”

Partner (giving me ‘career advice’ not to ever volunteer myself. Probably in response to one of those aforementioned trainings. But, also, possibly just because I have a bit of a fawn response in general and need to learn work-life balance): “Things that are easy to obtain aren’t valued. So when you give things to people too easily they don’t value you. This is why Napolean had an aluminum dining set. Because for a time, aluminum was harder to get than gold, and thus more valuable. Remember to give them what’s aluminum for you and just convince them it’s more valuable than gold.”

Partner: “You know what I have learned from the cat?”

Lavender: “What?”

Partner: ” I think she gets anxious now when I don’t give her her [now required daily thyroid] pill. Last night I forgot until late, and she kept coming up and meowing anxiously at me.”

Lavender: “Did she stop when you gave her the pill?”

Partner: “Yes, actually.”

Lavender: “So, she’s a little ASD kitty who takes comfort in routine. And, because she’s also a little trauma kitty, any break in that routine – no matter how unpleasant that routine actually is in absolute terms – signals we no longer love her?”

Partner: “I mean, yes?”

Lavender: “Did she still try to reject the pill after all that?”

Partner: “That’s…complicated. Yes and no? Like, she had to, but not as hard anymore?”

 Lavender: “She is so our cat…”

Partner (on the Capital Terrorism chaos in January): “You know what the future is? It’s a William Gibson book without the cool parts…”

Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out my Glossary of Terms.

5 thoughts on “Brevity Is The Soul Of Apathetically #11: Work Burnout

  1. “The problem with folks who specialize in providing ‘evidence-based’ (aka numbers-based) solutions to things, is that if some empirical study somewhere (possibly one we worked on) says something is a good idea, it’s a good idea. Current context need never apply. At some point, data people have this annoying tendency to become so hyperfocused on “the data” that they forget that foremost of adages that I try to keep in mind when I do evaluations: “statistics are just human beings with the tears wiped off” ”

    Oh, this is so true! I know lots of people who only listen to scientific studies and disregard people’s actual experience if it contradicts studies. I support science, but like you said, within context, and there’s also still so much that science doesn’t “know.”

    Also you should definitely get (or rent! that’s a thing!) a goat if you get a lawn. My family is seriously considering it lol. Also because my sister wants a pet.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I forgot about the beatings and morale quote. I love that one. I question management minds that schedule things on Fridays. Mondays, people. By Friday, no one really cares. Friday is for fluffy stuff.

    And yes, I think cats get compulsive. Mine certain dislikes deviations from the schedule. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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