EP307 – Burnout – WPwatercooler

February 1, 2019

On this episode of WPwatercooler, Jason and his panelists dive deep into the topic of “burnout” and its presence in the WordPress community. They begin by highlighting common burnout experiences, such as repetitive tasks or dealing with the same issues repeatedly. One panelist, Ross, shares his shift from various WordPress roles to working for a Las Vegas casino, emphasizing the change of pace as a relief. They also discuss the monotony some WordPress developers might feel, given that many sites end up looking and feeling similar.

The conversation touches on the longstanding reliance on PDFs, particularly in the context of restaurant menus on casino websites. They highlight how this old web technology continues to persist, drawing parallels to outdated software like Internet Explorer. The panel also emphasizes the importance of variety and change, suggesting that taking on new projects or finding different angles can rejuvenate one’s passion for their work.

Towards the end, the discussion steers towards the blurred lines between professional work and personal passions, especially when the two are intertwined. It’s mentioned that without clear boundaries, burnout can creep in even more easily. The overarching message is that while WordPress is versatile and dynamic, it’s essential for developers to find variation in their projects to avoid the pitfalls of burnout. The episode concludes with a reminder of the importance of setting boundaries to ensure balance and prevent exhaustion in both personal and professional spheres.

00:00 Intro and Burnout Definition
00:57 Introduction of Ross and His WordPress-to-Casino Transition
02:01 Sponsor Mentions and WordPress Reality Show Idea
03:16 The Grind and Comparing It to Video Games
04:34 Community Burnout and Repetition
05:44 Burnout from Same Problems, Same Questions
06:41 The Struggle with Password Retrieval
07:26 Recognizing Burnout Before Snapping
08:04 Changing Business Dynamics and Adapting
08:40 Diversifying Projects to Prevent Burnout
09:54 Rediscovering Passion Through Side Projects
10:59 Social Media Burnout and Community Discussions
12:03 Interpersonal Drama in the Community
13:50 Gutenberg Fatigue in the WordPress Community
15:11 Custom WordPress Development for Churches
16:37 The Perennial Issue with PDFs, Especially Menus
19:22 Revisiting the Impact of PDFs on User Experience
21:54 Finding New Directions in Familiar Spaces
23:51 Rekindling the Love for WordPress
25:52 Respect and Set Boundaries
28:08 Strategies to Avoid Burnout
29:16 Closing Remarks and Episode Acknowledgments


Episode Transcription

(00:00) the music thank you very much I really appreciate that what’s up everyone this is Jason WP water cooler episode the higher the numbers the higher pitch we’re gonna talk about we’re gonna talk about burnout and before we introduce ourselves tell us about yourself hi sorry everybody hi what’s up I’m Ross I’m from Las Vegas I do a lot of stuff in WordPress used to work in a bunch of wordpress things I now work for a Las Vegas casino doing WordPress and by far it has been much needed and you know
(00:57) that’s where kind of burnout comes from is that a change of pace really is what it is or not a change of pace but the answer is generally I am say read and I make requests each with press press press on savory media add all the things that’s not actually the thing I say I feel like you have different mirrors in your house and your like I preach I teach I do like you just press awesome I’m Jason Tucker you found me override Jason Tucker and Twitter my website
(02:01) Jason target our blog in this particular episode of debut water cooler is brought to you by desktop server and server press I want to say thank you very much for those folks for helping us out go over to our website over at visit server press calm and find out all about the cool stuff that they got going on over there we should totally do a wordpress reality show like why is another thing I think I would be really weird no no I wanna I want to development show where it’s like every week you gotta develop a plug-in and
(02:34) then we judge it and then like you’re gone and then at the end like you have like this catalogue of this whole thing like yeah it’s like Shark Tank Plus plug-in Palooza yeah I mean be like better right Nataly mcLeese be the judge of it how about that so let’s talk a little bit about burnout burnout burnout is we just talked about this about something like plague and Palooza it’s it if you have burnout and you’re totally just tired of doing the type of work that you’re doing or just feel like
(03:16) you’re in this weird grind and on if you’ve ever played like World of Warcraft or any of those types of games where you’re like the person Zelda for instance and you’re like here’s a thing go take it to this other thing and you just feel like you’re just like a FedEx worker literal grinding literal grinding for me outside of my work you know I I do I Drive for lyft and so lyft is like my kind of escape from from this so I go in you go do more work every kind of work oh no a lot like he totally just
(03:53) goes and drives and like it’s the scenic views and like has crazy stories like it’s definitely something that should be prescribed it’s like you don’t even have to do people watching you like go get the people to watch like you’re just like it’s like proactive people watching they come to you that’s all yeah burnout let’s how do you how do we define burnout how do we kind of what’s what’s the what’s the best way digs I been talking about this with this has come up a lot in various forms lately
(04:34) within WordPress but also you know it’s it’s obviously you know goes to a lot more than WordPress but specifically in terms of the community in terms of participation I think that there is a heavy it’s like a bounce rate it’s like a burnout rate I totally I totally think it is like a bounce rate I mean at some point like how many times can you see in your feed that you know so-and-so did something before you’re just like you know unfollow or unsubscribe like yeah dude like I would describe burnout as
(05:13) like you had this good idea you’re gonna be the start of business that offers this thing and then right out of the gate it’s just data entry and you’re just like this was not what I wanted to do this was not a good idea like I think that’s what burnout is man and Bernie is definitely a real thing I think that burnout especially in that community context is something where you are doing something and not getting anywhere like even more literally thinking about like a car that’s you know spinning out or
(05:44) burning out it’s like I think you see that in the community a lot where people are like trying to do stuff and they feel like they’re achieving absolutely nothing and I feel like the last couple episodes of water-cooler that I did when we talked about like meetups not like you’re not getting the fulfill amount of meetups and stuff like dude that was me being like I’m burnt out cuz like I roll up to meet up and I’m like I’m gonna show you show you this and they’re just like so what plugin is good for parallax
(06:12) and I’m like are you serious right now so that’s that’s also what I mean like burnt out on answering the same questions because especially if you’re doing freelance work like now rest you’re doing something where you’re working on the problems and you’re not having the same problems come at you day after day I know that that’s something that I’ve experienced when I do a lot of work with beginner folks and definitely last year I reached a point where I was like I’m not doing another password
(06:41) Tribble I’m not if you don’t know your password you have to leave I am NOT doing you go in the other room retrieve your own passwords and then you can come back we’re not doing it together that’s retrieval burnout I didn’t actually ever say that but that sounds like a good name for a record password retrieval burnout I would listen to that record is with burnout the danger is if you don’t recognize it before you snap essentially you will say that to a quiet the important thing is to recognize it
(07:26) before the snap before the burnout gets I and and how I think I recognized it before my snap was that I was I was saying the same thing over I was telling you know the the company that I was working for hey I noticed this trend I was really pushing and like we need to you know change the business do this do that and like at the end I was just like you know hair pulling out cuz you know like you’re having the same conversations you’re arguing you see a day to day like you’re in the data you know that WordPress is going this way or
(08:04) your business is changing but like you can’t adapt so quick and like you just get so burned out like that’s how I noticed it is I was pushing for something and pushing and pushing and like when I stepped back like that was maybe 2 percent of the entire pie but I was pushing like it was like 80% of the pie you know I think that’s how I first got burnt out yeah I think taking on oh sorry say your your meeted I think taking on small projects small projects that relate to the thing that you’re doing but doesn’t have you kind of
(08:40) confined or studying constraints is definitely a thing that helps out so if you have some dumb little project or go through your list of 500 domain names that you bought and you never actually did anything with and build a fake website for the thing that you’re wanting to do if you ever wanted to get into like e-commerce you never built an e-commerce website go bill go try to sell a bunch of stuff that you don’t actually have that you’re no one’s ever gonna buy any house it’s just something you’re playing around
(09:04) with but like go sell widgets and see if you can make it happen or go build a donation website for a friend’s you know just like a thing like you know stuff so the first time I experienced burnout I wrote a plug-in it took 20 minutes and all I did was style gravity forms like you just had a class name and I did a it like I did that 20 minutes took my head off of everything in like you know I did that for a year and I didn’t know these new paths and I think that really helped like subsidize my by burnout by saying
(09:54) like I have this other thing I’m experiencing it I was searching for like you know different forms styles and different things like I was obsessed with this new found love for forms I still hate forms but at the time it like it was that changed it was that change of pace that I was talking about I mean WordPress WordPress is nothing but forms if you look at it every time you go you hit submit is a fancy I it is I love it fancy data input I’ve taken three months off of like just being on
(10:59) on any social media with WordPress so a wordpress admin or sorry advanced wordpress root stuff like that and you know the great hosting stuff and my plugin suggestion I took a couple months off of that because again I was getting very frustrated I was getting very burned out I’m like you know just somebody would post a question about like hey what’s the best plugin and then you know 200 comments deep is just why don’t you post it over here like we’re not even having the same conversation like now we’re talking
(11:32) about like where you should have posted this question instead of answering the question I was doing I’m slowly evolving back in I’m slowly getting my you know like now that I’ve had sleep for a couple days like I’m slowly getting back into things but I’m kind of noticing that trend again is just like you know people are so quick to to point out the Flies and I think that’s where my burnout comes from it’s just like I’m over it you know that is that’s exactly what I was gonna say
(12:03) next was that my what I’m experiencing is not burnout with the software or the work necessarily like currently I’m I’m feeling so burned out on the interpersonal drama like I am like wow y’all like at a certain point can we work together cuz we’re all doing same thing and we’re not all tryin like it’s just over and over you know this this stuff and there’s a lot in progress that’s trying to help but I think that burn is what burns me out the most because it’s all these people who are
(12:40) all trying to help and so it’s really hard to even be critical of all of that that’s happening in that community so the only solution sometimes is just to remove yourself from it but the problem is just like what you just said rest it doesn’t actually solve the issue right like you go back there and it’s the same stupid thing again now everyone’s yelling at this person because they didn’t post in the right spot instead of just answering the damn question and then it’d be over like like everyone’s
(13:09) like so on principle and has to be this way and it’s just like it’s it’s exhausting it’s truly exhausting the last burnout I faced like this might be controversial was good I was over like Gutenberg I was over after like like five months after they announced it like that was I think the most recent burnout was just like I’m over it another article about what to do if Gutenberg does this thing and I was just like you know awesome great so no suspects that’s all you just like I can’t can’t even hear about it anymore
(13:50) yeah really I guess you’re just like I am tired of dealing with this I have no more energy to contribute completely completely big fan big fan of Gutenberg I like where it’s at now and I like some things that were doing and I’m glad that it’s here and you know right on but I was burnt out like if you seriously go to WordPress TV and just type in Gutenberg like I think there’s like 70 pages of just talks that word camps like within the last two years by the way like this is a small amount of time in
(14:28) the actual you know WordPress is 20 now so out of two like you know a small percentage of WordPress this thing has been all about really what really grinds your gears so I don’t know there’s there’s a bunch of those sorts of things so like for me for me at work for instance I used to work at a church that I built their web site from scratch I built all the stuff that they needed to kind of make everything work I built custom post types for you know our sermons for those Sundays and I built you know taxonomies for all of the
(15:11) speakers and you can see all the speakers information like you build all this stuff and you build it way better than anybody else’s you know kind of building it because they’re just building Church websites and you’re trying to build like a database of stuff in ways you can look at it and everything and you know for the church I’m working at now it’s like we’re at a point where it’s like we want to rebuild our website but we also want to get a mobile app but we want the mobile app to
(15:35) work with the website and I don’t want people to do double if not triple entry on all these different places and it’s like let’s make our you know our content management system that’s not our website but like the actual management system of the church have that be the thing that generates all the stuff for WordPress and so it’s like okay well that’s a lot of rest API stuff and a lot of those types of fun things to kind of build out and everything but I’m finding that for me to be able to pull that off myself
(15:59) it’s like I do I’m butcher baker candlestick maker at the into a wall gets an internet connection it’s my fault you know I gotta worry about all that stuff so everybody’s phones everybody’s phones and it does a thing and I can’t you’re like in one of those relationships were like you just go over to like the in-laws and they’re like my printer is broken like I haven’t even stepped foot in the door yet you’re talking about your printer that is good job is to deal with the printers it’s
(16:37) like people like I say this all the time like people can you just figure out how to send a PDF oh my god in the casino space alright every casino has like let’s say three or four restaurants alright but every casino website has like 300 PDFs like us lay their menus like it’s too hard just to write like Bhushan like what’s on the website so on our on our website we actually we put this thing where we put the menus and it’s all just text and like within a week that was like our third highest ranking page like last night
(17:40) we talked at the beginning you know how to build your business website and one of the things that I do is I talk about site mapping and I’m like alright so you know we’re talking about different pages a site might need and my first exercise is always okay so let’s talk about restaurant well page is a restaurant need and everyone’s like menu like literally the entire class every time everyone’s like we want to menu everyone goes to restaurant websites and and does that and you still there’s a million
(18:09) dollar like you can go through the Google reviews and find out what their menu is without downloading the PDF because people will tell you what’s good what’s not good like that is a better menu than that PDF ever could be pictures and they don’t have that thing anymore because I’ve the photo is taking eight years ago you always have to check your dates on those that is very important those menus change oh yeah it’s totally but but like that is a real thing here so like so so like you said
(18:49) Jason I I built the whole post type that is just our menus and not only that but it’s only it’s it’s by restaurant so like we have one for this and one for that and then you know I built this wine widget this one you know block they just whenever I wanted to say get all of these appetizers from this restaurant and it spits it out you know and this it’s like food that was the best decision but like that we made it took like a week to do and we’re like wow you are a magician and but I mean like our
(19:22) hits and our bounce rate drops and it was just it was insane you know and like I can’t believe that in 2019 I said that weird to 2019 PDFs are still a thing PDF menus for restaurant and casino is like next-level back PDFs are the flash or are the shockwave flash player of the internet right now I think that that is what you’re talking about with like everyone’s still using PDFs I think as as developers or people who work on the Internet you know we’ve been dealing with that problem for like the last ten years and
(20:02) it’s like the fact that a casino in Vegas with a huge budget that people people are really going to decide all the time it’s like highly track it’s not like there’s some podunk you know pet shop in like you know Wichita or something I don’t know actually it’s not implicit see now is your time you know and it’s like but still it’s the same problems and I think that that is something that at a certain point you just kind of have to accept right but like the rest of the world hasn’t solved
(20:32) those problems and we just keeps we just have to keep solving them in solving them and solving them and say you know with IE five or six or seven you know ii mean it’s like you just gotta wait for people to catch up awesome people are gonna catch up i what i want to get somebody on our show that works on Internet Explorer and I want to hear their bird out of what IE it’s like it’s like very exciting and if you go you know if you go down one of the kind of legacy Forks I think actually it can get
(21:20) exciting because then you’re not just doing the same thing now you’re you’re being creative and trying to string things together so almost there’s like an arc where it’s like software’s interesting interesting and then it like plateaus and then it wouldn’t go down in popularity it starts getting interesting again because you’re like so one thing that I have burnout with is like like I love WordPress dearly right just just WordPress it I have my San Diego shirt on today but like every page or every
(21:54) post it looks the same right because you’re using you know page PHP or you’re using you know single dot whatever whatever so like I’ve consciously try to take my own website change something differently like a lady I mean because it’s my own site and I don’t care it’s mostly short codes and ACS fields but I mean like it’s so much fun it’s so much fun but even then it’s like when you’re writing a blog post like I can talk about something that really excites me but like you know I
(22:38) have this article now I’m back into WordPress and I’m doing the same thing like I was even burnt out on that for a while I have some good blog post now I’m gonna I’m gonna start writing again doing things but like I was burned out on that just because like no matter when I wrote everything aesthetically to the I look the same I would put five dollars on red what are we doing to get out of burnout you quit your job and you go work in a casino so I feel like I have a pretty creative mind if I could say so
(23:51) so one thing that I do is burn out like I’m just saying like all right I started a whole new section on my website just called like band names like funny things that I think could be a bad name I started a whole thing and like that kind of got me back in the WordPress again and I started this whole new section about like funny places that we have found our babies binky’s so like I have a thing on my blog that says like found it here down here like you know I start a section called don’t have kids
(24:19) cuz you know these are messy and stuff III the whole thing so like that’s what I’m doing it’s just like how do you how do you stop take a break you know drink coffee and like reinvent what you’re doing and for me hey Iook whitby I found the whole new thing I took a break but I’m doing this new thing that’s still my brand but it’s like it’s like you know being a metal band now you’re going pop it’s gonna how I explained it I think I always have heavy metal in the back I
(24:51) can always come out and just you know like have some heavy riffs but like let’s go write a new record for all small businesses in general not just in WordPress but you know it’s funny we talked about burnout for like you doing it but like say you are a restaurant or something like that like or even if you are a WordPress service provider and you offer just the same thing all the time you know offering new services putting new stuff on on the menu so to speak you know that can be exciting because then
(25:22) you’re challenging yourself even though it’s you know not you know maybe it’s it’s not your bread and butter but it’s something that you want to start doing a little bit more it is is to take away to find something that has multiple avenues because I feel like what we’re saying is like if you find something that you like but you can branch off and go a different direction for a week and then do this other direction but you’re still in that house that’s kind of that’s kind
(25:52) of what we need to find I think it’s cause like especially for us I know for us or whatever our interests are geeky interests coincide with our work and that is the case you know for a lot of folks in WordPress and so it’s like you know if you’re doing all this work on the computer all the time and then that’s where you also are getting your enjoyment and those are your hobbies that can really especially for like you Jason etc like obviously you repress that crossover can then get you burnt out on the thing that gave you you know
(26:24) that was fun before and then that that’s really I think the danger of the because then you lose both your joie de vivre for your work and for the passion that you had for your like geeky you know fun experience and so now you have to like cultivate other interests it is something it’s definitely like that might like that that drug experience where you’re like this is so great then you’re coming down yours like this was a bad idea the whole time like it’s definitely like like that direction
(26:57) where you’re just like I am so excited to do this and then you’re just like why is everything of why am i in the green room right now like it’s one of those yeah it’s the party promoter that gets invited to a wedding and you’re just like I do this for work no it it’s definitely like when you invite that like you have a friend who invites their friend because he knows he’s funny but really funny awkward things on the time you’re like okay yeah I get it so those takeaways from burnout here are
(28:08) do something different but stay in your wheelhouse and and if it sucks like go do something different all I can do is suck again you know but like you just have to have to find what you want to go do and just take that adventure and when it starts get it like if you can predict what the endings gonna be you should jump you should jump and change gears and I think you’ll see I’m like a good path yep words in the green room where’s the wisdom from the Plaza Hotel and Casino the thing that’s really I think
(28:46) important is boundaries and being respectful of your own boundaries because especially when you like something and it’s your work if you don’t respect your own boundaries no one else is gonna respect your boundaries and then you’re gonna you know it’s easy to take on too much especially in the WordPress world so being respectful of your own boundaries just like you would be respectful of other people’s boundaries I think that can really help yep avoided maybe not curing but avoid it thank you folks for being on the show
(29:16) I appreciate it Russ say as always awesome time hanging out with you folks and I want to say thank you for all of you that are watching this or listening this is AA podcast if you want listen to us as podcasting over today parkour comm slash subscribe or you can learn how to subscribe to this and tell you people have which we do over on thursdays and which was i said which was awesome with Bridget and and with Jim that was awesome yep we talked about journalism you know feature as I used to say maybe crossover episode

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