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Author Topic: Job Burn-Out
Timothy Ervin
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Oklahoma
Registered: Jan 2001

 - posted 07-18-2003 09:35 PM      Profile for Timothy Ervin   Email Timothy Ervin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok, I have to ask the question , after doing this work for 16 years, am I burned out, do I just need a break or should I look for work in another field. I am at the point where I now have an ulcer, am very stressed, have trouble sleeping and have no problem going off on an employee or customer.

The last two years have been rough. Two of the theatres I was managing closed, then after moving across country to work for another company I unfortunatly found out that it was not the answer to my problems I was hoping for. Plus, I have not had a vacation in 3 years. Seems like the theatre business has changed so much-just in the last five years alone.

It used to be fun and I enjoyed going to the theatre and would work LONG hours and days and even on my day(s) off I would go by the theatre to check on things. Now, I count the minutes until I get to leave. Some of my complaints:

*Customers are constantly complaining about everything (I guess thats nothing new, but it seems to have increased within the last few years).

*Good staff is hard to find.

*It's all about number crunching and paper work and emails and getting your ass chewed because of the least little thing.

*The theatres expect you to be on call 24/7 but they sure do not want to pay you for the extra hours.

*Your expected to have a cell phone that you mostly use for theatre related business but the company does not want to reimburse you for the calls.

*You are supplied with a pager that is always beeping, at the most earliest hours in the morning from the corporate office staff , who get to work a normal work week and even though you had to close your theatre the night before and did not get into bed until 3 AM, the corp. staff expects you to be up and ready for their calls at 9AM.

*Managers are getting chewed up for the building maintenance, but the company does not want to spend any money.

My list of complaints could go on and on. I'm sure that everyone has a few of their own to add to the list. Bottom line is that I really love the theatre business, it's in my blood and its hard to think of doing anything else but I need advice, a break or something. Maybe I should look into managing for a smaller company with less demands. If anyone else has experienced burn out or a situation like this what have you done to get thorugh it?

I have seen alot of good, long term managers who have left the business within the last four years because of all the stress. What is happening to this industry? [Confused]

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Sam Hunter
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 779
From: West Monroe, LA, USA
Registered: Jan 2002

 - posted 07-18-2003 10:53 PM      Profile for Sam Hunter   Email Sam Hunter   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If its no fun anymore then move on. That being said with todays job market and all that bullshit jumping ship may not be the thing to do.

Taking a vacation would be a good thing to do and changing the way you handle things may help as well. In other words don't take shit personal or it will eat you alive, I know , been there done that, had counseling to help out and learning to thing things in a different light helped me out. I am still paranoid but gotta have something wrong I guess. I know a lot about burnout as I reached it some years ago with my previous job. Just got to the point I didn't give a shit. I finally got promoted and was given a better position that allowed me more flexibility and I got rejuvenated.

Anyway, hang in there, buy some nice Hawaiian shirts, find a beach somewhere and watch chics [thumbsup]

Things will look better [Wink]

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Paul G. Thompson
The Weenie Man

Posts: 4718
From: Mount Vernon WA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 07-18-2003 11:07 PM      Profile for Paul G. Thompson   Email Paul G. Thompson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Timothy, that's Corporate America. It is all going to hell in a handbasket.

Today I read that Boeing is going to lay off another 4,000 to 5,000 salaried workers by year's end.

As for the burnout, remember this: "He who does much, much more is expected." In conjunction with what you posted, what I said will add to it.

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Gerard S. Cohen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 975
From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: Sep 2001

 - posted 07-18-2003 11:32 PM      Profile for Gerard S. Cohen   Email Gerard S. Cohen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The situations you encounter may be reality and caused by the nature of the industry at present, which you did not cause and over which you have no control. However, they cause you much dissatisfaction and make you increasingly irritable.

A vacation with travel to another location, and reestablishing a good social life outside your workplace would be good for your mental and emotional health.

When I was in college preparing for a teaching career, one of my textbooks, written by a PhD named Levin, had a chapter on "The Mental Health of the Teacher" that was invaluable for me.
People who serve the public and must interact with others at work, are like teachers surrounded by immature minds. Sandwiched between superiors and subordinates all the time can grind one down. Periodic escape is necessary.

Also, it may be a good time for a complete physical exam,
since good physical health provides a foundation for emotional
health and contentment.

All the best,

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Jason Black
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1723
From: Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 07-18-2003 11:40 PM      Profile for Jason Black   Author's Homepage   Email Jason Black   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

I'm right there with ya buddy. I've been with the same company for almost 16 years and I'm close to wits end as well. Noon shows, late shows, 13+ hour days, unmerciful customers, out of touch supervisors who don't care WHAT you think, LOW WAGES, unmotivated labor pool, the list continues. They all are wearing me thin.

While I do LOVE what I do, I think it's more who I'm working for. I have those customers whom I really love to see and talk to, but it's to the point that I simply do not care any longer. Well, let me correct myself... It's not that I don't care, I do, rather, it's the complete lack fo acknowledgement form our corporate office that blows me away...

Keep all your numbers in line (on a yearly basis), see that income is up and expenses are down, increase per caps, not lose a SINGLE SHOW and you don't hear a damn word.

Let one lady bitch because there was a piece of toilet paper on the floor during a 7:00 rush (with 7 out of 16 shows starting at 7pm -THANKS TO YOUR HOME OFFICE) and you are the most inept individual ever to walk the face of the earth. See demeaning, or less than motivating, emails come through about everything WRONG with an operation and never a Thank you, Good job/etc... and you eventually drive off your competent, loyal employees. I've seen this happen on numerous occasions. Rule by intimidation not by example. What a complete and utter crock of [bs]

A "Thank you so-and-so, you've done a really good job recently" or better yet, when you receive a positive feedback on your feedback forum/card/etc, LET THE EMPLOYEE KNOW!!!!!! Dont' simply send them all the negativity. You demoralize them when this is done...This works from the bottom of the line to the top.. from Janitor to CEO.

Paul is correct, Corporate American has gone to shit. This industry, or some of the companies in it seem to be some of the worst there are.

Anyone taking applications? Better yet, Anyone listening ? [Big Grin] [Eek!] [eyes]

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Aaron Mehocic
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 804
From: New Castle, PA, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-19-2003 10:43 AM      Profile for Aaron Mehocic   Email Aaron Mehocic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, I'm listening and I hear you. I'm going on 13 years in this industry and it HAS CHANGED. Like all of you, I love what I do and thats why I can't leave. On the other hand, Jason is exactly right - corporate can give a shit less about us. At the end of this month I will receive an hours cut that will probably finish me off and force me into the DEAD JOB MARKET. I have never asked for a raise, benefits package, or extended time of for whatever reason in all the years employed here. I am loyal to this company and feel that at times (not always - but mostly) go above and beyond my job desription in terms of maintenance work, using personal tools and equipment for projects not requiring my help, and a general overall concern for the operations of this company - both mechanically and fiscally. Sad to say, but after almost 13 years this is how I'll be hanging it up.

Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you how this job ruined a seven year relationship with a perfect woman who just couldn't understand why I just couldn't move on [Roll Eyes] .

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Timothy Ervin
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Oklahoma
Registered: Jan 2001

 - posted 07-19-2003 04:20 PM      Profile for Timothy Ervin   Email Timothy Ervin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You guys know wxactly what I am talking about. See, here are some long term seasoned managers burned out and looking to leave the business they love because of a lack of compassion and understanding from the corporate office staff.

And, as far as relationships go, being single and trying to find someone who is willing to put up with the crazy hours we work is almost impossible. I too have lost out on some good relationships because of the weekends and holidays that I have had to put in this business.

You would think that since corproate employees get to see their families and loved ones during these important times that they would understand that their managers would like that opportunity as well. I am not saying that we should have every weekend and holiday off, but it would be nice to have lets say one weekend a month free and at least one major holiday free as well. I am a firm believer that if your personal life is not successful, then your professional life will not be as well.

Jason, the only people who are listening are the managers. I dont think the corporate people give a shit. [Frown]

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Ken McFall
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 615
From: Haringey, London.
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 07-19-2003 05:58 PM      Profile for Ken McFall   Email Ken McFall   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Seems the water between us makes no difference to life here.

A company I know has one director who shouts and swaers at people and has lost personal secretarys because of his tantrums. But in the same breath he will be happy to tell his managers and staff off for similar behaviour. YOU are expected to motivate your staff while YOU are treated like [bs]

Bonus systems are changed without even a mention to managers that it's been done. And major poicy decisions are imposed without any consultation what so ever.

I sympathise fully with what you are going thru. So what's the answere....

1 Dump your self respect its clearly getting in the way.

2 Pride gets in the way so Dump that as well.

3 Family and friends are your concern. If they cause you grief then Dump them. After all they don't pay your wages.

4 Sick, or feeling unwell. Then you are not fit to work for us... so we'll Dump You!

5 Compliments and praise are lighter than air and shit so they can drift up the hierachy ladder. You being further down the ladder are therefore left with all the heavier that air stuff.... ie shit.

It's so true that the more you can do, the more that is expected of you. Guys that just coast along can do so because no one expects more of them. They can't be sacked for it because they are doing the minimum expected. Guys like you pick up the slack and get all the grief because you are noticed.

Don't walk away from it, find a way to deal with it that allows you to hold onto your self respect. If it's not in your contract to have a mobile phone with you at all times... start 'forgetting' to take it with you. Let people know you're going to be away for a couple of days and won't be available. Then make sure you're NOT! And finally your home telephone number is your's and paid for with your money. Change the number or get rid of the phone. Your partner can always get one in their name and don't give it out to anyone except your friends.

I've done this in the past and it's very effective, overnight! [Big Grin]

Or if you have caller display then screen all your calls.

There is a minimum time off between shifts in this country, 11 hours, I'm sure there must be something similar there. Enforce it. If the phone rings then ignore it, you were after all fast asleep.

It's easy to rhyme off a list of things to do.... but at the end of the day you have to feel strong enough to do it. But it's for them to show you are being unreasonable not you.

Give and take is a very important concept in any employment relationship. What everyone here has displayed is a great willingness to 'give'. I'm not suggesting you should 'take' just be less willing to 'give' so much.

It's very difficult to change the habit of a lifetime but for your own sake you need to learn ways to get some of your needs, if not recognised then at least, tolerated.

Hope you all find some way to achive some of what you want.

Regards Ken.

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Darren Crimmins
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 130
From: Dallas, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2002

 - posted 07-19-2003 06:00 PM      Profile for Darren Crimmins   Email Darren Crimmins   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Timothy said,

"Your expected to have a cell phone that you mostly use for theatre related business but the company does not want to reimburse you for the calls."

I know precisely what you mean. At my last booth manager position, my general manager wanted me to get a cell phone because he apparently was not able to get ahold of me 24/7.( First of all, unless it is an emergency, I should not be getting a call from him at all, and if they can't get me, that is what our technician gets paid for.)

Anyway, I said sure, just let me know when the company gets it to the theater and I will keep it were I can get to it when I am not at work. But he said that I had to get it myself! I told him I could not afford it (even though I could, but that is not the point or any of his business). And also said that I am not on call when I am not at work, unless I will be getting paid extra for being "on call". If I was around the phone or at home when he or the theater called, I would answer, otherwise, leave a message and I will get to him when I can. Needless to say, he didn't like that. I eventually left soon after that with regards to other bullshit added on top of that.

I guess alot of theaters think that you should be on call when not at work or that you have no life. My rule of thumb is that if I am not at work, work can wait for me to get back to them unless it is a total emergency. I am not on thier time, they have no right to assume they can get ahold of me. They can just leave a message and I can decide if it can wait until I go back to work or can call them when I get a chance. For me when I am at work, I am there to do my job. When I am at home, I do not take work home with me.

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5246
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999

 - posted 07-19-2003 08:46 PM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It amounts to abuse, pure and simple. Just like Ken McFall's ordeal, these companies are taking huge liberties these days, and getting away scot free with many unlawful practices. Since the unions have been busted, it's gotten really bad.

What's going to have to happen, is working conditions will deteriorate to the way it was in the early 20th century, and necessitate the formation of unions all over again. It appears to be headed in that direction. No one learns from history, so it repeats.

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Ron Lacheur
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 650
From: British Columbia, Canada
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 07-20-2003 05:14 AM      Profile for Ron Lacheur   Email Ron Lacheur   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Something's gotta happen, no one is going to put up with employer abuse and shit wages for much longer.

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Travis Hubrig
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 175
From: Minot ND, USA
Registered: May 2003

 - posted 07-20-2003 02:31 PM      Profile for Travis Hubrig   Email Travis Hubrig   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've been there.

Remind yourself what you like/love about the job and the industry. Try to forget about the things you don't like.
You need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

Nobody can work forever without a break.
Remember that life is short you need time for yourself.

I feel burnt out constantly.
Good staff can help make your job easier but a bad staff can make your job impossible.
In the past year I have joined multiple activities including a softball team and a Mens Hockey team. I look forward to participating in these and to forget about work for a few hours each time I play. Sometimes it is hard to take time off for these things, but planning ahead a few extra days and sticking with the plans will help. If your staff knows that you are unavailable during these activities they will learn that they have to rely on themselves for that shift/day.

What keeps me going when I get stressed about my job, is the customers that come and DON'T COMPLAIN and how they enjoyed the service and the product we sell them. They don't usually thank us for it, but walking around in the theatre and exiting shows you will see it as they leave. When I get upset over operation or corporate issues, I walk into the theatre and talk to some of the customers to insure that they are satisfied with their visit.

Keep on Truckin'


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Justin West
Master Film Handler

Posts: 271
From: Peoria, IL, USA
Registered: Jul 2001

 - posted 07-20-2003 09:30 PM      Profile for Justin West   Email Justin West   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This talk reminds me of the thread on the kids who walked out on their employer-theater near Boston. "Corporate Greed" has taken over the operation of businesses in America. The little people be d@mned, are stepped on, taken advantage of while the biggest honchos rake in the cream off the top. CEOs are not hurting but the people who toil to make the company go, who run the theaters, who ensure a good performance/presentation, who deal directly with the customers...they are are used and abused and tossed aside like garbage...and if you don't like it, the corporation will find somebody else to take the lousy wages. That's why you end up with poor help, staff with bad attitude, people who are incompetent or don't care. This is why we need unions and labor law protections...and a change in society to recognize that if the little guy gets stomped to death, who will be next (it will just move up the ladder). Thus, as projectionists and technicians are dumped as too much of an expense by the corporation, who takes over the responsibilities? The theatre manager, that's who! And he'll be on call 24/7 for low wages. We're all in this together.

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Kevin Baglow
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 135
From: Yeppoon Qld, Australia
Registered: Dec 2000

 - posted 07-21-2003 10:03 AM      Profile for Kevin Baglow   Author's Homepage   Email Kevin Baglow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's just the pecking order. We peck on the kids in the front row and the studios peck on us. The only way to get over it is to have a good holiday-- Somewhere you dont speek the language is good.

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Timothy Ervin
Film Handler

Posts: 84
From: Oklahoma
Registered: Jan 2001

 - posted 07-21-2003 03:26 PM      Profile for Timothy Ervin   Email Timothy Ervin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I really do not want to leave the business, but would love to start over with a good, un-micro managed company. One thats not too big, not too small. Anyone have any suggestions?

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