FridayFix • Burnout & how to deal

Thanks so much for the great feedback on these Inside Empty Set episodes. Nice to hear from y’all. This week, we’re pulling it closer to the heart and talking about a demon recently haunting the Empty Set offices: burnout.

No, not that kind of burnout ...

“Dude, you’re burned out? Me too, man.”

On top of that, there’s also guilt for feeling burned out at a job you love and feel lucky to have.  Which … doesn’t help.

I’m was a little apprehensive to talk about this for those reasons and more, but I’m hoping y’all will bear with us and perhaps join the conversation.

Last, if you have comments about these or any of our other recent Inside Empty Set episodes, please drop them here or send me an email!

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About The Author


  1. sadock

    You know how the saying “Location, location, location” applies to real estate? Well, for interpersonal relationships, regardless of whether it’s a marriage, business, a friendship, driving in traffic, politics, or your family, the saying becomes “communication, communication, communication.” It must be effective communication as well, which generally necessitates that it be custom tailored to individual situations. Not so much with driving; Use your turn signals & keep your brake lights repaired and you’re probably set. But some employers make the mistake of trying to standardize communications with a handbook or manual, and that can easily backfire. If your employees begin resenting mandatory meeting, they may actually begin to communicate less.

    It sounds like Empty Set Entertainment/Dark Øverlørd Media has been learning how to communicate more effectively, which is awesome. It’s an essential skill to any partnership if it’s going to be successful in the long term. When I faded to black in 2012, I absolutely failed to communicate what was going on with me to @ARealGirl or @scottsigler. I’d wager that this caused them a fair degree of stress which I could have easily avoided if I had simply kept them informed. Yes, I was having a serious medical crisis which I had no control over. Yet the situation does illustrate how important communication can be sometimes. I may be experiencing a similar situation with @Gmork. I’ve been trying to update my Siglerpedia page (last done in 2010) since December 2014, and Carmen has always been our Siglerpedia Czar. She’s still listed that way on THE CHAMPION’s acknowledgments page, so I’m guessing that it’s still true. There are lots of pending communiques which I’ve sent to her via numerous avenues, but no responses from her yet, so I have no idea what’s going on. I have heard a few rumors, but it’s frustrating not being able to establish any sort of dialog with her when I’ve been trying for more than 3 months. @Gmork, @sadock is sending you positive thoughts to aid in whatever may (or may not) be causing you difficulty.

    Y’all mentioned how @scottsigler‘s job is still work, and also mentioned Oprah, Eminem & The Rock. During that segment I thought back to when you’d discussed Michael Vic/professional athletes during the Art/Artists FridayFix™. Anyone who does *anything* has to work at it, even if they’re a professional beta tester for video games. And even they will have things in their life that they’re discontent with and gripe about. That’s where cliches “The grass is always greener on the other side” & “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes” come from.

    Most people never take the time to contemplate how relative almost everything in the universe is. Let’s say you were *somehow* able to eliminate what you currently conceive of as evil (eg murder, famine, child abuse, etc). Wouldn’t behavior that was somewhat ambiguous (eg jaywalking, prostitution, abortion, etc) in the old universe now be evil in the new universe? It would certainly be on the opposite end of the moral scale from good because the “old” evil doesn’t exist in the new universe. So what was once in the middle of the scale is now at the extreme end. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    How is this crazy example relevant, you ask? Well, you discussed folks coveting @scottsigler‘s vocation/life, or that of Eminem, The Rock, or Oprah. They do that from THEIR perspective. I’d wager that they’d be likely to feel quite similar to Scott if they had actually walked his path & put all the effort into getting to where he is today. I know I could not have done what he has to get where he is. And that’s completely ignoring all that he has to do simply to maintain his current level of success. Never mind that he’s constantly trying to perfect his craft & also give more high quality content to us Junkies. Professional athletes have to constantly train to stay competitive with their peers. And they’re risking their health every time they step on the field/court. So just remember that, while someone else’s life may *look* like it’d be a cushy magical wonderland, it likely is not. Even if you were able to miraculously juxtapose yourself with another person, *and* you were also correct (highly doubtful), you would *still* become rapidly discontent about one thing or another. That’s simply the nature of being a human being. Yes, we strive to live a life where we have more positive experiences than negative ones. But if we didn’t have negative experiences, it would diminish our appreciation and enjoyment of our positive ones. We’d have nothing to compare & contrast them to, or, going back to the universe absent of evil example (only using negative experiences instead of evil), any comparison would not be nearly as illustrative & profound.

    I apologize if I annoyed anyone by waxing philosophical, but it seemed appropriate given the content of the episode.

    A couple questions for @scottsigler:
    1 – Y’all were discussing how you’ve never missed a week of podcasting, and if so, it was only once or twice. Do you ever go on extended vacations?
    2 – If so, do you just pre-record however many Scottie speak snippets you need to cover the time you’ll be gone?

    1. A Sigler

      The Siglerpedia is borked, and it’s simply not a priority to un-bork it right now. When we do, we’ll essentially have to rebuild the whole thing. So we’ve been updating with new works and such, but have put a hold on updating personal pages until we can focus on the bigger fix. There’s no way to add more admins, which is part of the borking, so it’s unfair to ask Gmork to manage all that work.

      To your questions:
      1) He does go on vacation, if not “extended”. He just spent a week with his folks in Florida, for example.
      2) We do pre-record intros and outros, and then I edit and publish while he’s on vacation. We have even had one or two instances where I did the talky-talk, but they are very few.

  2. Robin Hudson

    I had been getting getting burned out on teaching for a while when suddenly I had to quit my career to come home and take care of the ‘rents here. A., CAREGIVER STRESS, you are talking to me, man. I didn’t know what stress was – now I’m just angry all the time. I rarely leave the house, I can’t get away from it. I look forward to grocery shopping because I can be alone for an hour, lol. Now I’m just looking for the energy and drive to start my own business or *something* to get some money coming in.

    1. A Sigler

      Oy, Robin. I feel for you. I took care of my Dad’s needs, but not his day-to-day care, in the last few years of his life. Even that was overwhelming. More power and all the love to you.

  3. Mark L. Berry

    I have always been amazed that you have more original stories pouring out of your head than you have time to produce. Plus you create print, audio, screenplay, art collaborations (t-shirts, posters, etc), and now Friday Fix videos too. Most major authors are pushed by their publishers to produce a single new title a year. Didn’t you release 14 in 2014? You are a fusion fire, and burnout for you is still magma hot. Relax, find something fun to do (tryout for the Lions, invent new drink, TP A’s desk), whatever it takes to find your groove again. No rush, no pressure. When you finally find a way to ‘make the relax,’ then 1000 new ideas will swell inside your head. Then re-animate a zombie to claw them out of you.

    Be well. Cheers.

  4. Scott "Big Fish" Pond

    Getting burned-out sucks. It’s bad enough when it is the daily grind-job, working for “The Man”, dealing with all the crap that THAT entails (corporate bile, other folks you depend on being as much–if not more–burned out than you, required training, required travel, required extra hours playing “jerk the monkey” to satisfy the fleeting whims of unappreciative executives, etc.).

    But it hits us all whenever we’ve hit our overload, at-the-limiter, in-the-red-and-bouncing-off-the-needle point for too long, no matter if it is something we absolutely love of something we are just doing to put the bread and sweet meats on the table.

    It’s a tough balance… because once you hit that point, you just want to do absolutely nothing… no work, no play, just sweet sweet vegetation… which then swings you back into the complete opposite direction (toward the land of no-progress, no-motivation, and no-output).

    It’s so tough to find the sweet spot of going all out but still having enough down-time in there to keep the motivation and sanity.

    Most of us can’t do it long term without swinging back and forth between the extremes or else we hit the dreaded “Eff-This” phase or no-return.

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