Are you burned out?
Henry Staggs, RRO
Roofing is hard work, and it demands so much of your time. When you speak to most people in the roofing industry. The story is nearly the same. They took a part-time and temporary job in the roofing industry. Years, even decades later, they are still in the roofing industry. It's too late, the roofing industry got ya'! Once the roofing industry has accepted you, you are forever a roofer.
Is that a bad thing?
Of course not, roofers are awesome hardworking people. Roofers have to be so many other things as well; carpenter, plumber, painter, counselor, diplomat, and so on. If you are the boss you'll have even more hats to wear, eventually, all those hats can get heavy. When that happens you might be reaching a state of being called BURN OUT. Which as I have learned is normal, and most people from time to time will experience it. Left unchecked burn out can become depression and lead to all sorts of other more complicated psychological issues.
Don't let it happen
The first thing you can do is either don't let it happen at all. Be self-aware enough to know when you are reaching burn out. And take action to prevent it. Easier said than done, and probably not something you could do alone. Hopefully, you have some kind of support system and if not, reach out to a professional to help.
What is "burn out"
Stress is a tool we use to protect ourselves. It's the reason we have a fight or flight reaction to stressors. Such as a car almost hitting you, or the electric bill was late, and so on. While under that kind of stress. Your body will react by producing certain hormones that cause you to fight or run. When your job is a constant source of stress. Your body does not stop producing the fight or flight response leading to burn out. It's not a bad thing, you did nothing wrong to get there and you can feel better if you do the right things. If not, it is likely to get progressively worse and you risk crossing over from burn out to depression.
What does it feel like?
I know it is OK to say "I have experienced burn out" it still feels wrong. I was taught while growing up that men work hard and don't complain about it. Complaining about work was a taboo in my family. Just get it done and then do some more and more. The fact that I started working to support my self at age 14 does not help. I have been hitting that pavement and feeding myself for 36 years with few vacations. As I write this article it's been several years since my last vacation. And that was a work vacation.
It feels like a train is running over you and won't stop long enough to let you roll off the track.
Consequences Associated with School Burnout (Gardner, 2014)
- sleep deprivation
- change in eating habits
- increased illness due to a weakened immune system
- difficulty concentrating and poor memory/attention
- lack of productivity
- poor performance
- avoidance of responsibilities
- loss of enjoyment
- Burn out or depression?
Burn out is not depression, but can become a depression. Someone experiencing depression will not find relief by a change of environment. That's because their problem is not an environmental problem. In burn out, that same person will find relief. Being removed from the environment that is causing the stress. The bottom line is if you don't feel right, reach out to your doctor.
There are three things you should be watching out for.
- Exhaustion - You feel more tired than usual, and work is BLAHHHHHH
- Cynicism - You start feeling like "so what" or "what's the point" you start to feel like you are just going through the motions.
- Professional ability - It is getting hard, sometimes impossible, to get the same motivation for work that you used to have.
- What can you do?
There are things that you can do to help, but you have TO DO them. For a lot of us that can be hard, since we are taught that working is a good thing. If we do a good job we are good people, but if we cant perform something is wrong with us. You might be one of those people (like me) who feels that you HAVE to press on and failure is not an option.
Here is the deal. Reaching a point of burn out is not a failure. That is step one, recognize that even the best of us need a break from time to time.
- Do you feel tired and maybe have headaches or an upset tummy when you work or think about work?
- Do you feel emotionally drained and finding it harder to cope with normal everyday work stuff?
- Do you see your work performance slipping, are you finding your co-workers and clients annoying?
Saying yes to these questions might mean that you are reaching or have reached burn out and if that is so. Take action right away, do not wait for it to pass, because it probably won't. It is more likely to get worse if you don't take action.
What do you do?
This link to an article on the Mayo Clinic site offers some really good suggestions as to how to deal with burn out. I suggest you take a moment and read it, even if you are don't think you are reaching a point of burn out. I promise you will appreciate this one.
We need EVERY ROOFER we can get, we (the industry) need you guys alive and healthy. Physically and emotionally, so please take care of yourself.