TV Burnout Help

Need some help to shake your burnout on the job?

Here’s an excerpt from my findings about how news people and their stations can deal with it…

Stations can manage burnout and burnout risks by offering educational and training opportunities, having satisfactory daily schedules, and offering enough vacation time. Producers can manage burnout by seeking additional education/training on their own, as well as paying adequate attention to their life outside of work. One 17-year news veteran, who worked both as a producer and manager, feels taking breaks helped him cope. “Vacations are always a good way to recharge and rejuvenate your soul. [Also, taking] a mental health day was always needed every month or so [to keep me from being more burned out].” A producer who works in a Top Five market with 11 years experience says a chunk of time off rejuvenates her. “Every year I save up my vacation and take an entire month off from my show. Do I miss it? Sometimes. But for the most part, no! It really makes me appreciate my time at home and away from work.” A former producer with 12 years experience, now in TV management, says she found her feelings of burnout could be relieved with special assignments. “At my first station… when I was feeling burned out, they gave me a break and a special assignment. Managers need to know when to throw employees a few bones every now and then. They will get so much more out of employees if they give them a break.” Another producer with 17 years experience, now in a Top Five market, who describes himself as happy with his current station but has quit producing jobs before because of burnout, advises producers and other news people to find activities outside of work:
I feel strongly that producers need connections away from work. Even if you think you are only going to be in a place a couple of years, join a church, a community group, volunteer at the humane society, do local theatre, something to be with “real” people. Newsroom culture, in general, is not “real” – we are more sensitive to certain ideas and points of view and don’t have much experience with others because most news people are “alike.” We need to “get out” and see what “real” people are like.
A producer working for over two years in a small market says she was feeling burned out so she quit to go back to school. She is now working as an associate producer and feels getting her master’s degree and having a new job helped relieve burnout. “I saw myself becoming more detached from my audience and what “real people” cared about. Taking a lesser role at my new station has given me some perspective.”
A majority of producers in this study (70%) who scored burned out, at high risk of burnout, or at risk of burnout said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their vacation allowance. Fifty percent said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the amount of time they spent at work. Forty percent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the amount of training/education offered by stations. Fifty percent said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the amount of their own time they spend on education/training. Forty percent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the quality of their life outside of work. These results should indicate that producers and/or their stations are not taking action to manage burnout. However, because this study’s statistical power was low, the relationship between these things and burnout were not found to be statistically significant. A future study with a larger sample should be conducted looking at these relationships.

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