Tired

Jul. 4th, 2012 07:33 am
jennyst: Jenny on a photo of space (Default)
[personal profile] jennyst
[personal profile] awatson wrote a great post on burnout recently. I've mostly been suffering from those symptoms too much to write in here, despite my early dreams. If you want more OTW news, [personal profile] renay and [personal profile] hl are also writing a bit from different perspectives.

Board is difficult. We have three people who can hardly ever make a meeting at the moment. I would say you can see from our minutes, but I'm having trouble getting a quorum to approve the minutes so I can post them. And it's getting to be holiday season, so it's only going to get harder. We can't really have the discussions of big issues that we need if only half the board are there. So we tick along on the admin side, and work on making specific committees more sustainable.

That's an uphill battle, too. We have had an unlucky year, with six chairs having to step down in the first six months of the year - that's significantly higher than normal. We've also had a lot of experienced staffers finally hit the point of "too much". So for those who are left, training newbies is balanced with keeping things running, and trying to fit in some long-term strategic thinking in the gaps. It's easy to think that all we need to do is train and mentor more people for future leadership, but mentoring is hard work, even if it's rewarding. There are people who say they have tons of professional experience, but then don't seem to apply any of the expected skills to their org work. Which applies to me some days, too - I forget that the day-job skills for dealing with difficult clients could be applied to fannish friends in the org.

The AO3 performance problems have slipped off the headlines, but behind the scenes everyone knows it's only a temporary reprieve - we need to fix the actual problems so they don't recur. And because of the stress that's causing, still no-one wants to talk about any of the issues that were raised publicly during the last election.

I wanted to end this on a hopeful note, but I can't think of one right now. I guess that's another of the symptoms of burnout. Anyone want to volunteer for Board next year?

Date: 2012-07-05 02:18 am (UTC)
via_ostiense: Eun Chan eating, yellow background (Default)
From: [personal profile] via_ostiense
First of all, being a working professional with highly sought skills doesn't make one's off-the-clock time inherently more valuable than another person's, seeing as how the OTW is a volunteer gig and you don't get paid for it. Do I agree that there are lots of places where things could work better? Yes. Do I think that a committee member who makes tons of money in their day job has more worth on a committee than their fellow committee member who works retail? No. And trust me, unemployed people have much better things they could be doing with their time, too.

...and there aren't any people who work professionally with highly sought skills in the OTW? There are a lot; some put those skills to work and some, for whatever reason, don't. Their reasons may be valid, but that doesn't make it less frustrating when, as [personal profile] hl says, current staff/volunteer people are asked to help with a task relevant to their area of expertise (i.e. they don't have to make the case that they have skills to impart, because people have indicated that they want to learn and want their help) and then they disappear. The OTW has a lot of flaws, but the staff and volunteers also count as "real people who have real lives."

Date: 2012-07-05 09:49 am (UTC)
autumnus: A purple monochrome portrait of Zoe from Dreamfall, with drawn stars in background and "the Dreamer" written on bottom. (Default)
From: [personal profile] autumnus
Sorry for the lack of clarification there. I didn't mean people with highly prestigious jobs. If you have a skill that is highly sought (due to scarcity of it or sudden high demand) and you are in the market for non-profit job for certain hours, there is more demand for it both in terms of companies who will pay for you to work for them and as non-profits where the money is replaced by other things like acquiring experience, emotional fulfillment at getting something good done, reputation, networking, etc etc (these actually factor in paid job selection too, that is why some of us can elect to pick a lesser paying position for example). While I understand the frustration, it is also important that we understand why it is happening put a stop to it.

staff and volunteers also count as "real people who have real lives."
No. Most of the staff and volunteers count as real people who have real lives and yet somehow manage to keep going with this environment that is really not very accessible to real people who have real lives. The problem is there aren't that many people who can do it, and those we have are either already half burnt out or on their way there.

Date: 2012-07-05 02:41 pm (UTC)
via_ostiense: Eun Chan eating, yellow background (Default)
From: [personal profile] via_ostiense
I don't think we actually disagree on the facts that there is burnout and that working conditions in the OTW are stressful, but the way you're framing it is patronizing and insulting, and your statement "Most of the staff and volunteers count as real people who have real lives and yet somehow manage to keep going with this environment that is really not very accessible to real people who have real lives." doesn't manage to clarify whether or not you think that the people currently working in the OTW and struggling to make things better are "real people with real lives" or if only the people who quit are worth caring about.

Some people work for the OTW and make problems. They are real people with real lives.
Some people work for the OTW and try to solve problems. They are real people with real lives.
Some people work for the OTW and then quit. They are real people with real lives.

Framing one group as less important than another just because they're still toiling along is bullshit.

Date: 2012-07-06 08:23 am (UTC)
autumnus: A purple monochrome portrait of Zoe from Dreamfall, with drawn stars in background and "the Dreamer" written on bottom. (Default)
From: [personal profile] autumnus
*frustrated* I think I finally get (I really hope) what you and hl are feeling insulted about. One group isn't less important than others. Why does people think when I say "highly sought" people read it as "important"? It is two different things.

People's time, just like products is basically a limited supply. There is more demand for it, the market for it is more competitive. Thus people with this type of skillset tends to be the first to go, ergo this is where we first see the negative results of the underlying issue that is affecting the whole org.

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