What is Burnout?

If you take anything away from it, it should only be that burnout isn’t one thing, and that you can learn more about what you’re experiencing by asking yourself if it’s a fuel problem or an opportunity problem. Fuels can be addressed by finding a new story to tell yourself. Opportunity is harder to address, it takes longer, and sometimes, because of the deep inequality in our societies, cannot be addressed.

This is the article everyone is talking about: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work

And here’s a good one from Slate in response: https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/01/burnout-millennials-capitalism-buzzfeed-essay.html

And here’s a video from my friend Rosianna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPztftCyKDU

A lot of discussion around burnout is pretty specific to people who have opportunity, but have been sold the wrong kind of fuel for too long. Being grateful for and recognizing the opportunities we’ve been given is, I think, very important.

I also think it’s important to find good fuel and do good work and work hard. I don’t love the idea that burnout is a problem of being over-worked. I think it’s more a problem of being overly convinced that work is the most valuable (or even only valuable) thing we do in our lives. It’s especially important in our twenties, and the American reliance on all-capitalism-all-the-time is, I think, a really big part of how people have used that situation to exploit workers and put them in situations that are unsustainable.

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