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 03:11 am (UTC)
hl: Drawing of Ada Lovelace as a young child, reading a Calculus book (Default)
From: [personal profile] hl
Given than I have been working on the org for about four years, and giving way more of my time than an usual job, with barely any breaks, I'm finding your comment more than half insulting.

Date: 2012-07-05 09:26 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
I am sorry you find it insulting. it wasn't intended to be that way.

Yes there are some people in this org that does it, regardless. Because they feel their contributions are worth it in the end, because they have a social network in the org that supports them, or they are just that type of selfless or high energy people who keep trying longer than others (they burnout eventually too, just takes longer).

People have a right to not deal with it on top of what their dayjobs and what else they have in their lives, as an unpaid volunteer. It might not be you who is causing this overhead personally, but the org as a whole ends up doing. People who have more sought out skills (technical, legal, whatever) is a small pool to start with. So you get even less people who would be willing to do that type of sacrifice. Even lesser because these skills tend to be scarce and needed on other non-profits and paid jobs too, thus it is easier to loose them to a project or other interests that feel more fulfilling to them.

Dedication and persevering throughout is a good bonus, but the org is big enough now that we cannot rely just on that alone to the degree we are relying on currently.

Date: 2012-07-05 09:51 am (UTC)
hl: Drawing of Ada Lovelace as a young child, reading a Calculus book (Default)
From: [personal profile] hl
I love it when you imply this is not true for most, if not all, the people working on the org, be them doing the same things in the dayjobs or not. Only that by 'love it', I mean, 'hate it'.

I'm not sure what you think is the solution to the 'communal projects imply working with people' bit, and that means that people who can't stand dealing with people can't handle it, because the org is one, and I've only seen problems come out of 'this person is too awesome/the only expert and they don't want to deal with people; let's just leave them to decide everything' type of thinking.

Date: 2012-07-05 02:45 pm (UTC)
via_ostiense: Eun Chan eating, yellow background (Default)
From: [personal profile] via_ostiense
I've only seen problems come out of 'this person is too awesome/the only expert and they don't want to deal with people; let's just leave them to decide everything' type of thinking.

Ditto. Been there, worked with those people, gave up and quit (thus contributing to more strain for the people who stayed, I'm sure). And for the record, outside of the OTW, I've worked with people who were at the top of their profession (people who had literally won Olympic medals) who didn't have a teaspoon of the "I'm special and highly skilled and I can't be bothered to try to work with you" attitude that causes so many problems.

Date: 2012-07-05 11:41 pm (UTC)
hl: Drawing of Ada Lovelace as a young child, reading a Calculus book (Default)
From: [personal profile] hl
After thinking some more (and having tea), I do get that you probably just mean that 'if people who are experts are not heard because other -- non expert, presumably -- people want to direct what happens, they will probably quit, which is not good', rather than any number of more insulting possibilities. I agree with that, and I agree it may be a real problem, particularly in some parts of the org (may because I don't presume to know everything).

I don't think that's a 'dealing with people' problem in the sense I was reading it before. If you're working for an org like the otw, you will probably have to 'deal with people', in the sense of training people to do your job, finding something to agree on when you're disagreeing with other people making decisions, advocating for your opinion accurately (and yes, that could include 'this is how we do it in My Real Job, where they really know what they're doing because of x'), and elevating stuff to board if it's bad enough.

On the hopes of explaining what I was trying to say, what I was pointing out is a pattern I thought I saw (which, on the other hand, may be only confirmation bias and the fact that I'll notice more when I had more hopes for their work), which is that some people come in saying they have particular expertise and then never apply it, even when other people put themselves at their disposition to train/order about doing what I call 'minion work' (i.e. the petty part of the work that anyone can do if directed accordingly).

So, if I haven't misrepresented you, I think we agree?

Date: 2012-07-06 08:14 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
yeah essentially we agree.

What happens often is that there are people who are trying to get these skills, and people who try to encourage and facilitate it. However often, there are others who sort of prevent that from happening under the hood. The reason I am maybe sarcastic and bitter about it is because I've been on tail end of this and seen it happen to others. It is common enough at least in some parts of the org. They say "do it, use it help us" yet when you offer a solution, try to take initiative there is an invisible wall there, in some case being treated like you don't know anything that or you are the one in the position of learning who actually doesn't have much of a clue. But no, if the hierarchy of elevating the problem doesn't worked in practice I am not sure we would have such an influx of experts who are unwilling to use their expertise.

I am behind what I said, but if you don't mind, at this point I am exhausted of verbal attacks and accusations. Feel free to contact me if you want to continue this discussion in private. You know my email.

Date: 2012-07-06 08:17 am (UTC)
hl: Drawing of Ada Lovelace as a young child, reading a Calculus book (Default)
From: [personal profile] hl
I'm sorry if I contributed to that -- these past few days haven't been the best on that sense for me either. I may take you up on that when I've more a breather, though.

Date: 2012-07-06 08:25 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
*hugs* actually after typing that I had a small idea, check my thread with via's at the end and see if that helps clarifying what I really think is a misunderstanding. If you still want to discuss it, feel free to take it up when you like, if you like. :)

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