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Avoiding Burnout, and Other Essentials of Open Source Self-Care

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I everybody I think you for coming back i and Kathleen Danielson and I'm talking to you today about burnout and just to introduce myself I have a project manager and live in Berlin Germany but that is a new development of about 4 months ago I moved from Washington DC i where 3 years prior I had started and and co organized by meetup group called UTC I also has really evolved and still am very involved in open speed the US and I am on the board of directors of that organization I sort of the treasure and another the thing about me I'm not paid to do open source I'm mentioning it now because of of the way that that impacts out people who are paid and were not paid both capsule experience burnout there sometimes in pretty different ways I'm coming from that perspective but they're not mutually exclusive I am a paper
poster child for burnout and getting this talk
because I needed to hear it and normally when I talk about is community stuff how do you manage communities have you help develop your communities what I was finding was more and more the conversations I having the very informal talks was really focusing on the burn aspect of this this spring and I find myself extremely burnt-out we adjust planned 1 of the great conference data the map U S and had been doing their duty see for 3 years I was exhausted and I was tired and that kind of heated everything and it took me a while to figure out what was going on but I wanna talk to any of my teammates that in 1 and get involved in South I noticed was annoyed about everything so today I have no match to share with you but lots and lots of feelings will be excited and sort of about what burnout is and why it matters why we should care about it what causes it and how to avoid it and then what to do if you did not manage to avoid it and I also have highlighted words and phrases throughout my at that time I talk they are different ideas vocabulary concepts that may or may not be familiar to you to you may be familiar in a different context and but hopefully they should help you think about your own work and a with open source and community leadership and on top you have a way to think about and talk about it going forward the so you start with but what is burn out I have poses Question 2 of my Twitter followers yesterday on any guy actually couple really good responses on
so just to put them out as some of them talked about things a lake not believing in the project that you're working on anymore and that's something that comes with burnout and some talk
about the the which the depletion of energy and how drained you feel both of emotionally and intellectually you still have the energy anymore and some talk about some the
inability to recharge it's not a matter of just you know what a nice weekend and I'll come back on Monday and I'll feel better arm when you burnt-out doesn't really work and some people talked
about the way that you end up feeling about your teammates and the people around you and how you like to interact with them and and these are all pretty valid concerns as a backing out of them a
little more clinically and burn out as a term that was coined in the 19 seventies by an American psychologist as it initially was used to discuss all of phenomenon that was experienced commonly among people and helping professions and doctors nurses teachers therapists and people who really I caught a lot of emotional energy into their work on and felt very drained innocence and become a much broader term and but that's a that's kind of that the origins of it the 1 thing that's important to know about that is that is not well defined and there is no entry for burnout in the DSM 5 which is basically the as psychology reference book and every diagnosis and that a psychologist or psychiatrist 2 issues comes out of that book burn us out there if you would say to somebody I'm I'm experiencing burn out it's a little bit like saying and having a nervous breakdown that could mean a lot of different things but typically and it can include elements of things like anxiety depression stress and and I wanna mention here that it's can be an a way to hides a bigger issue so you may be a list out managed through a burnt-out sometimes I could just be hiding something much larger such something to be really aware of and I am not a mental health professional you should talk to mental health professionals they're wonderful people the so what is it look like how do you recognize that you are experiencing have burnout out other than sending obnoxious pictures to everyone you know I you often will see things like increased irritability as a lack of enthusiasm and a lot of loss of empathy and for the people who you're working within the communities a year working for UN and decreased performance basically this is gonna look different for every person and for every situation on but the main point here is that something changes something changes in the way that you experience this community the experience this work and there's no really clear obvious reason for why so I don't care why am I even bothering to give this talk other than the fact that I needed to talk about my feelings on a really practical level really hurts open source projects and you lose leaders of projects become unstable because they have a very high turnover you lose institutional memory you don't have the you don't have the uh the strong leadership that you need you also end up losing people who were doing less visible a less celebrated work things like and that really infrastructure of the work that you're doing a communications planning events documentation on a lot of things that maybe aren't the glorious exciting work but are at the that are really essential and really important and really exhausting another reason it's really important talk about this is that for open source projects these are added these system these are the organizations that have implicit power structures there's no clear HR department to go to to say hey I'm feeling exhausted out what to do this a lot of and having to make that up and for ourselves we have to kind of be and making sure that we're taking care back on our own and then realistically we don't care about our burn out because we care about people that we care about ourselves and we care about appears on our health and mental health and so the reason to care about the perhaps so what causes that I'm really in focus actually quite a bit on on what causes and you'll see that the rest of the talk and the reason for this is that there is no magical cure for burnout I wish that there were the absolutely is not the only way I found to really address it is to figure out what caused it and work backwards from there 2 reasons that word can digging into it digging into this is that we can help find the risk factors the things are anemic as likely to experience burnout we define a warning signs to see you know I think I'm starting to get burnt out once a tardy happened while if we know the causes we can start to address them and we can find ways to make sure it's not happening to us again so before causes of burnout that I'm focusing on and our balance expectations pacing in the locus of control balance is a pretty obvious ones around are you spending enough time not working and this 1 can be kind of sneaky because you don't realize a lot of time that you're open source work is work especially if there's someone who's not being paid to work on it it is kind extracurricular activities you know so when you think of your work life balance you tend put that in the life bucket which is good because it means you know you you care about it's something you're volunteering to do you no one's forcing to but it's still something where you have expectations of yourself others have expectations of you it still work even if it's fun even if we love it and RIAA as someone gave me the idea of making sure you not putting all your happiness eggs in 1 basket and other things that you care about the things that really energize you and they all 1 thing and if that 1 thing have South what happens do you have enough to counterbalance you otherwise expectations is also another pretty obvious 1 this has to do with people's expectations of you would people and expect you to put into this and then especially where your own expectations are and this is another 1 that can be pretty sneaky because it's really easy to mass to have your own expectations masquerading as someone else's you can project your own expectations onto others and think that a lot of people are expecting certain things in which may not be the case and sometimes as something you need to verify externally and say hey I think that it sounds to me like you need this thing for me is that is that true pacing another 1 that seemed really really obvious is the PAC working at sustainable can you and take can you handle planning a conference planning amino creating a workshop at writing a newsletter in can you do that in an ongoing way maybe you can in which case also I cannot and it's a lot of times especially when you
really enthusiastic about something you wanna bring you wanted to take on all kinds of new challenges which is great but open source have projects are much more marathons and spreads they are ongoing at the ongoing projects and having a more of a marathon mentality administrators can help you out a lot so we do need to adjust the pace at if we wanna can keep working on locus of control is 1 that's maybe a little less obvious because it's a less obvious concept and this has to do with everybody and everybody had falls somewhere on the spectrum of energy at a locus of control which has to do with your perception of who where the control lies the things that happen to you do you have control over the events happening in your life or is that control external on maybe it seems a little obvious that people who can fall closer to the inner locus of control side of the scale and tend to be a little bit more resilient and they're able to ask a little more what can I do in this situation so the situation is difficult what do I have control over what can i help with and people and that with that more out the locus of control field which were powerless they feel things are more happening to them and that they are having control over that so that was very and much more theoretical and a dive into how that applies to the work that we do in our different open source projects conveniently though ways to avoid burnout are actually the same things cause arms so it's a matter of kind of uh renegotiating your balance the expectation you pacing locus of control and the different tools that you got to do this I things like like establishing emotional distance establishing safe and healthy boundaries utilizing your teammates the word no it's a very important word on in your happiness eg distribution these are all things are and help you go back to those of foreign and re reassess where you're keeping and some practical tips and Marina did more into this later but you know you can read these the the things like don't do this alone to say no take time off tell people you're taking a sabbatical and you will come back in 3 months and it's hot hang out with people other than your open source you back community like go to happy hour somebody else and making sure you're aware of what these risk factors are 1 of the the what are the things in your situation that army make you likely to be burnt out and address them and talk to people as I talk to people actually do in their in their organizations their leadership meets regularly to debrief and it's not about the project is about how are you doing how are you handling things are you how are you feeling you feeling supported on and they found that really really helpful some examining yourself talk and what he's saying to yourself are you really critical views very for very critical yourself why and is that based in as is at based in reality do you need to kind to construct a little bit so I'm gonna go and the 3 examples of scenarios that to me I think very very common these are by no means the only scenarios you gonna run into but I think the whole PC you will have everything we just talked about really applies to our work in open source so 1 we touched on this already a stealth job it's really easy particularly if you don't work as if you don't work in open source of that's not on here your day job is very easy to not notice that you've taken on an additional job of open source work and it is masquerading as a hobby it may be your hobby but it is still work and work life balance is something that exists for a reason and some a way to address this is going to be looking at your pacing is on the sustainable pace might use slower then what you thought it was going to be and that may be a little frustrating the can you to think about are you still giving yourself time outside of our outside of work even if work is something you love which should be as great on into that and rethinking weighted point downtime is your down time responding to mailing lists because if it is maybe should get another downtime as well on it might help the another 1 on how a really clever name for this but it's basically peers in different context you end up with people on committees on teams on leadership groups some are being paid to do this works of art and it creates this gap and the these tensions with and with how things are going pacing is very different depending on whether or not you get to do this in your day job expectations really different if you get you get to do this 95 versus if you to do it after you get home from work had the timelines something that is of for our task may seem really simple but if you've got an hour a week to get to this project that takes a lot of and reliability this is what I hear a lot of people on the other side for me to do get to do this sort of a full time job it's really difficult for them is less about the the volunteers don't have time they usually understand that with a really struggle with is that the volunteers sometimes aren't as reliable and they say will do something and they end up not delivering which I think comes back to expectations particularly expectations of ourselves and and so 1 way to mitigate this is to talk about it is to be very very explicit with your group about who has what time to commit to and what does that mean of being very straight and honest about that and now I and can trying to set aside that this is what I hope I'm able to do and have coming back to this is what's real estate is something that you probably want revisit pretty frequently and this also is just as an aside this is already a meritocracy idea breaks down on somebody who gets to do this at work versus somebody who does this for play so that the person who gets to do it for work they are able to put more in and do more work which is also there that has no relationship to merit these other
scenario that I wanna talk about is this idea of a community of jerks on it is probably not a surprise anyone in this room that sometimes open source communities are not full of nice people and
these are people who were draining their emotionally draining there they can be trolls they can be consistently negative they can be really difficult on personal and I think I'm not alone in feeling this and think that toxic people say much much more about the community that there and then they say about themselves and as the new managers we uh as communities as a whole we set the tone for who for how people behave and if we don't know and if we don't set boundaries and set expectations and we don't force than that says a lot about our priorities and know that metal side of objects on and then also toxic communities they really can become an emotionally abusive pretty rapidly and very very subtle and difficult to spot where and so this 1 is really delicate 1 what's another 1 we're talking about it helps make sure that you know your your validating your experience with others a lot of times other people are going to be running into the same problems and you also I may be in a position where you can work to the institute cultural shifts and you know political could have put a code of conduct in place and make sure that the people are enforcing and make sure that the guidelines for the on the mailing list nature people enforcing those and another option is those 2 weeks and rent about that and at the end but this is something that ends up becoming a is always see is a valid option but really needs to be of so finally you know we've talked a lot about what causes burnout and what that looks like on a so what happens if you end up print out like I was and there are a lot of his different ways to approach this and again unfortunately I don't have any kind of magical solution to give you because it has everything to do with wire burnt-out what caused it on as I talk to people about their own experiences with burnout what their recommendations were 1 universal thing I heard there was step back stepping back and distancing yourself from the work will not solve anything it will however give you a chance to figure out what happened why did it happen if you step back change nothing and then come back and come back later you're gonna run into the same problems again so stepping back is absolutely not a solution it is a tool to get to a solution once you step back hopefully you can identify the cause you have to look at is different on the definitions we discussed earlier see how they fit into what into what you're doing talking to people about when you're ready for me I found that and as I started to figure out what was going on that I was really burnt-out and and started to unpack why I was able to talk to people and it really help for me to talk to people who were a part of that group and who were separated who were a part of that because when I talk to people who were part of it I just got angry and I got really frustrated so talking to people who are more on the fringes maybe knew who I was talking about but 1 involved they help me sort of unpack you know in the stomach you really frustrated this group it doesn't seem like they necessarily hurry maybe something else is going on and then once I can do that then I could talk to people who directly been involved in it people who really had contributed to the field and burned How I could understand more where they were coming from and more of where my own frustrations were from and then I again I wanna mention that you can leave if necessary and there's really nothing wrong with that of In my view COLT culture uh couple months ago there was a really really great anonymous piece on leaving toxic open source communities and read you a quote by me as well on looking back the reason I did leave my community singer was because there's a giant social stigma around leading open source community open source is supposed to be our passion something we work on even in our spare time we talk about community collaboration and working on projects for the greater good to walk away from an open source project for mental health reasons seems somehow selfish the impact is that no 1 talks about leaving a community the lack of people that visibly leaving toxic open-source projects is that people may not know leaving is a valid option I have this article incredibly useful and there are a lot of really quiet ways that communities can be toxic and I'm absolutely not here to tell you leave your communities but I am here to tell you to say keep an eye on how people treat others in your communities how people treat you and how to do and so to keep an eye on your mental health and make sure that it's OK because on if you do hear 1 thing I say it that you should not compromise your mental health for toxic community In fact you should not compromise your mental health train non-toxic community I would like you not to compromise your at whole for any community or project the thank you for be if
attempt questions if there are any the yeah it's not really a question mark the colon um I'm going to have a pimp several times with her in the current triggered a book was reading about this lacily apparently in Britain the leading cause of death for men between 18 and 15 suicide now sadly that is a local community still thank you and it it it great out of the and then sorry deal with like guilt of not truth right so you've done some great work you know flattery timely so in the title how do you deal with that URI walk where the sleeps country a resolution of the and so as the this talk I was telling my dad was a carrying on indigenous talk really excited about it he just looked at me is when you know you left the country on its way to deal with that I think that had dealing with a backhander that the guilt of not contributing it's a lot of this had self talk and the you know why are you feeling guilty about it and and because for me a lot of times when I start starts to break down what like what I'm saying to myself I'm like man you are to be working on that but it's not necessarily rational way as something I was really really difficult for me and helped me realize not a good way that I was burnt out was a was the enthusiasm about that time that I saw at say the that US that time has done absolutely nothing to hurt me not time is a wonderful wonderful project I felt really frustrated because I felt like it was something that I tried to put in place a year prior there wasn't really there wasn't pick up around in DC and I saw people really excited about it and that's need frustrated me not because it did anything wrong but because you need the signified that I'd failed that this is something I wanted to put in place and I couldn't and this is something I my committee wanted and I couldn't do it and then only talking through that would people like I had to have I had to like talk with people about that and have to have them say that's that's not what happened here you you in no way failed your community and but it's beginning to like external like you need to get outside of your head otherwise you will just tell yourself you're back to me manager you're bandleader you're about project maintainer and it's awful may just just blew common from I think part per node is just a nice word for depression and depression is something you would want to have sort not using the word but I think it's very common in our country especially in my age like 44 now I can see the people around me falling over you're saying yeah depressed burnout before yeah happens to all of us so this is really something we we have to take care of so it just look around in your community we see people start to of the strange things this is a good indicator that you should talk to them and get out of get out of it just get out of a completely for some time and again if you come back just sure that you don't stop to the same issue again so negativity coming in all the time but it's really hard if you don't clean your mind every now and then to to really get get through with that and the other thing is our guilt is just an invention of Christian culture of thousand years or so you should should rule to build it all sounded like and like to address your comment about depression and burnout being interchangeable because I think that's really significant and there are very important differences and burnout has a lot of overlap with depression and there are at some symptoms of depression is clearly defined where burnout is not earn as much more of a concept depression is not depression have clear symptoms there so there are also symptoms of depression that are not part of burnout on things like suicidal tendencies those are not part of burn out the way you our approach depression is not the same way as you approach burnout you may tell somebody who's experiencing burnout you need to take a couple weeks or you probably wouldn't necessarily tell the same thing to someone experiencing depression because that's what the man isolated situation and so there is a significant amount of overlap they're not the same Ch it I've actually not saying that it doesn't lead to and saying that it there's a progression between on burnout absolutely escalate the have twin girls so I can do nothing and not feel guilty and all or like that there's more going on in my country so I and II I rationalize that's I worry a lot so I do nothing FIL getting so there are some things about the health way explained to yourself why are you not doing this I don't think the silly things I think you know I yeah you twins not solely about the public silly but not in the way public Selena lovely when we ask that but I think having that kind of like mental emotional balance is really important so it is to round up I think so part of the acidification of an open source developer is to see this person has an outside beach mountain bike rock climbing or something so that we know that these guys that going to you have but moments but I agree we we should have everybody should have an extract the key to it is throw em the change their mind and think about something else but because he's not going to get a piranha even if what you do you do it with laugh by the idea to step back now that also by the spot of creativity right to I think who was these I think he was Python ordinal it is said OK I want to rest you have 2 rocks in his hand and see down to think and then the rock is pointing to the floor and that walking up so you need some sometimes of race to competence for the ideas so come because if you all the time working working against 1 that comes thank the things early if you would would be
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Formale Metadaten

Titel Avoiding Burnout, and Other Essentials of Open Source Self-Care
Serientitel FOSS4G 2014 Portland
Autor Danielson, Kathleen
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung 3.0 Deutschland:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen.
DOI 10.5446/31656
Herausgeber FOSS4G, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
Erscheinungsjahr 2014
Sprache Englisch
Produzent FOSS4G
Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
Produktionsjahr 2014
Produktionsort Portland, Oregon, United States of America

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract As technical community managers we are faced with a unique set of challenges. Like most FOSS community members, we're often volunteers, but the work we do in moderating mailing lists, planning events, fielding project feedback and contributions, and being the public face of our communities can take an additional emotional toll. We do it because we love our communities, but we also are often guilty of neglecting our own very real needs in order to serve those communities. We end up feeling guilty, run down, inadequate, and ultimately burnt out.Does this sound like you? Even if you don't do community management work, you might have run into some of the same frustrations. In this talk I'll share with you my own experiences in building and managing different geo communities. Through my own lessons learned, I'll strive to help you think about ways to:- Ensure you have adequate support in your work- Build a vocabulary to talk and think about the challenges you face- Feel empowered to say no and to allow yourself time away from the project- Recognizing and handling burnout- Avoiding burnout next time around
Schlagwörter community management
community
burnout
self care
support

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