Burning Man is Ruining My Life

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Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby organizedchaos » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:18 pm

I don't know why I am writing this all here. I think I just need someone to say this to who will understand...

Let me start off by saying that I am one of those people. One of those people that others look at and can't understand why I stress myself out so much over a job. One of those people who is hard to get in touch with, isn't always there for her friends because she thinks the priority is 'committing' herself to work. All around workaholic.

I missed Burning Man last year and was practically in tears sitting at my desk watching all of the updates of friends departing from default to go back home. I was a member of camp envy, probably watched the burn most of my waking hours.

This year before I left, one of my favorite things was knowing I would be completely disconnected from default and I wouldn't be available phone/ email/ carrier pigeon/ etc. No 7:30AM calls from my boss, no 11:00PM emergency calls from my clients, no requests to stay in the office until 1:00AM to finish up one last thing. I did my due diligence and set everyone up with what they needed before I left, I hadn't had a vacation for a few years and I knew I deserved it. So I turned my phone off, but low and behold Saturday morning I stumble out of a tent woken up by playa priority overnight Fed Ex - with a package from my assistant telling me how

When I got back, you would have thought they had just lived through the zombie apocalypse with the way they talked about things and needless to say, my boss isn't going to be happy about me taking another vacation for a very long time. Slowly, things started to get worse at work. I'm beginning to value my own time and I am not answering the phone around the clock, not responding to email at 9:00PM, I am setting time aside for my family and friends and doing the things that actually make me happy. But its been what... 3 months since we got back? Things at work are deteriorating.... I used to be what I thought of as one of the most valuable people here. But now I am constantly wondering if I am going to be fired, or maybe demoted. My boss says I am a different person and I wonder... am I different, or am I really just the person I needed to be? Did Burning Man this time around ruin my life the way I know it? Will I ever be able to be that person again? Do I want to be?
The answer is never no.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby ygmir » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:29 pm

I might propose, you are human.
Burning Man, does nothing
You, do everything.
you make choices.
You may well have gained a new perspective, you may see things through different eyes.
But,
you are you.........nothing is there, that was not before.
You may just be seeing it differently.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby oneeyeddick » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:48 pm

Ruining my life?

Quite the opposite, plus, now I have a real reason for my hobbies.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:52 pm

organizedchaos wrote:Let me start off by saying that I am one of those people.


You may be one of those people who needs professional help. Seriously.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby maladroit » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:04 pm

I think it did a good thing. Recalibrated your priorities...made you discover how much FUN it is to be yourself, and to be around people who are being themselves. Not this fake, formalized bureaucratic structure and artificial reward system.

It's not always possible to work somewhere that allows you to do whatever you want, but at least you should be able to work someplace that ceases to matter when you walk out the door at 5pm every night. A lot of people are probably giving you things to do so that they can go home to their families on time...because they knew you would just do it. Now that you're behaving sensibly, everyone might actually have to share the workload and go home at 6pm instead. Or hire someone else, since it sounds like you were practically working two jobs at once.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby lucky420 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:16 pm

Sounds like they don't appreciate you and are trying to lay a subtle guilt trip. May be time for a new job?
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby organizedchaos » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:25 pm

Thanks for these reply's everyone.. it is exactly what I needed. I think it's easy to get wrapped up in something and start to think of it as the 'norm' or what's required when what I really need is balance.
The answer is never no.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby trilobyte » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:49 pm

It could be the job, it could be your grip on things or perspective. The impact of re-entry from Burning Man is no laughing matter, it can be really difficult mentally and emotionally (even if it's not your first burn). If you feel it's necessary, don't be afraid to seek out professional help.

What you'd shared with us is basically that you were in a "live to work" situation, and your experience at Burning Man has led you to want to "work to live." People can experience that change in the way of thinking not only after Burning Man, but any other significant or life-changing event. Going from single or married without children to having kids is one example, but there are many other reasons. That can be a big adjustment, and from what it sounds your job either requires you to live to work or you've just been doing it that long that they have that expectation of you (early calls, extremely late hours, etc). Depending on the relationship you have with your employer, you may want to talk to them about that. It may be possible that they're willing to make some changes or respect some boundaries, it may be possible that there's another position with the firm that's better suited to your shifting priorities and interests, or it may just become clear that you need to make a job change. Good luck!
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:41 pm

NOt really anything to add, but your job sounds insane. And your co-workers clueless. And that I believe that american deserve more vacation--let's go ahead and have a month each for a decade and then see if we need re-calibration.
For reasons I won't go into, I was never one of those type As.

Okay, a lot of things are unspiraling in my head and I really have no idea what to say. Except, maybe, yay.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby Elsewise » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:25 pm

Except, maybe, yay.


Srsly - it sounds to me like your job is ruining your life, and that your burn just helped you realize that you deserve to have a life outside of work. It is one thing to work those kinds of hours and be on call like that all of the time if you are doing it because it is something you love or for a cause or purpose you believe in. That would then be your life's work - no difference between work and having a life, in that case. But it is an entirely other thing to be doing that just because it is your job and is expected of you. Only you know your needs and situation, but I'm pretty sure no amount of financial reward is worth giving up that much of your limited time here on earth for the benefit of others and/or for the benefit of something you view as merely a job. I know things have been and still are pretty scary out there in employment/job security/financial stability land, but i think many of us need to stop allowing this sort of treatment of ourselves to be the answer. Besides, are you really being effective at anything at 1:00am if you've been working since 7:00? especially if that sort of schedule is a frequent occurrence for you? Working more is not always the answer.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby Savannah » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:26 pm

ygmir wrote:I might propose, you are human.
Burning Man, does nothing
You, do everything.
you make choices.
You may well have gained a new perspective, you may see things through different eyes.
But,
you are you.........nothing is there, that was not before.
You may just be seeing it differently.


Nothing is there that was not before. :shock: True, true, true!

. . . I imagine, metaphorically, little doors in the brain that are either opened gently out of curiosity, blown wide open by chance, or (probably frequently enough due to denial, ignorance, poor luck or running out of time) never found at all. Sometimes a trauma or near-death experience is the gust of wind that blows this door open to greater realization, sometimes it's the birth of a child, sometimes it's Burning Man or another trip to a a far off place, sometimes it's some controlled substance or other . . . & sometimes it's the slow passage of time and accumulation of experiences (and that's when the door to realization opens gently). But when you round a corner very suddenly and that door blows wide open with great force, it can be so shocking that one blames the wind for creating the door and the truth, instead of saying, "This truth was here all along."
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:41 pm

Savannah wrote: . . . I imagine, metaphorically, little doors in the brain that are either opened gently out of curiosity, blown wide open by chance, or (probably frequently enough due to denial, ignorance, poor luck or running out of time) never found at all. Sometimes a trauma or near-death experience is the gust of wind that blows this door open to greater realization, sometimes it's the birth of a child, sometimes it's Burning Man or another trip to a a far off place, sometimes it's some controlled substance or other . . . & sometimes it's the slow passage of time and accumulation of experiences (and that's when the door to realization opens gently). But when you round a corner very suddenly and that door blows wide open with great force, it can be so shocking that one blames the wind for creating the door and the truth, instead of saying, "This truth was here all along."



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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby BBadger » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:29 pm

Just think of your previous life and way of thinking as the abnormality that was corrected by your trip. All those expectations you set for others back then were like a bubble waiting to be popped, and now you're back to something a little more sustainable.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:57 am

I've had a similar experience, though less extreme, I would say. I worked in consulting for years, spent every week on the road working 8am until whenever (10pm, 1am, 4am, etc), and spent my weekends exhausted and trying to avoid doing anything so that I could recover for the next week. Almost 3 years ago, I had a falling out with my company, which led me to a regular 9-5 job where I don't travel (and got a raise, believe it or not....). In the last ~3 years, I've been to Bman twice (a friend convinced me the first time, second time required no convincing), 4 regional burns, various other events, and, more importantly, I've reconnected (or connected for the first time) with all my local friends and started occasionally calling my family. I couldn't have, realistically, done any of this without the freedom that my new job has allowed me (though I could have called my family :)). Since I left the drive, momentum and energy of the consulting world I have certainly felt that I'm missing something, but I cannot imagine my life now without what I've learned and become in only a few short years. I'm not a different person, and yet I am. Parts of me that were suppressed due to exhaustion or lack of time have had a chance to emerge, and I feel that I'm so much better for it. I don't think I've found exactly the right balance for me since I feel that my job is lacking in a few key ways, but I've now had the chance to let the pendulum swing the opposite direction, and I can think about where in the middle I want it to land. If you never try the other side of the pendulum, how will you know where the right balance is for you?

I'm not a risk taker when it comes to my career, so I had to be pushed to get where I am now. Sounds like your mind is pushing you to give life a try. Think about a way to find more balance. Don't burn your bridges, and think of how you'll get back if you find that you've made the wrong decision, but accept that it will initially be a big, hard (*chuckle*) decision. I expect that someone with your work ethic and (presumably) skills, wont have a hard time finding a more reasonable, similarly compensating job. It may feel wrong at first. Give it a year or two. I doubt you'll regret it. If nothing else, you may find out that you hate having a life and would prefer to work till 1am every night, and then you'll stop second guessing yourself. :)
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:32 am

One of the best universal medicines is balance.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby gyre » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:33 pm

If a vacation is interrupted by work, it should start over, or be replaced.

If you're a key man, you should get paid like one.
And treated like one.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby MacGlenver » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:55 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:One of the best universal medicines is balance.


It certainly prevents a lot of injuries...
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby dreams_of_burning87 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:16 pm

I can't tell you what to do and what not to do, but... I feel you. After my first burn I came back to work and my home and everything seemed so dull. Already, I didn't see the meaning in waking up, going to work, sleep and then do it all over again. Now, my views on society's standards were even more amplified and it was affecting my work and relationships with people at work. I felt like that guy in Office Space who got hypnotized and then he went back to work and stopped doing what he was told; the veil was lifted from his eyes.

The veil was lifted from my eyes too. A lot of things that meant something to me, not necessarily meaningfull though, meant even less to me. You're at the crossroads many burners have probably come to. I'm proud of you :) Mom... I mean come on, you already knew that going into this (Burning Man) that it would be eye opening and life changing in some way. You got just that!!

Rejoice!

Open yourself up to change, to new paths and your prayers will be answered. Don't forget that this is so small in the grand scheme of your life, don't let something small snowball and make you regret. You do have that power to take back your life, it can be scary but you got it girl!

Like in one year I broke up with my ex, moved out, went to burning man and then got fired. I thought my world was crashing so hard, it turns out it was the best thing to happen to me.
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Re: Burning Man is Ruining My Life

Postby Mojojita » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:21 pm

I have one of those jobs that often requires very long hours and the occasional need to stay connected 24/7. The "balance" for me comes in the form of very liberal time off during the "slow" times or for pre-planned vacations. I pretty much just put it down in the office calendar when I will be gone. However, there was a time that the stress built to a point that I melted down and began to weep in the office. The boss was so unnerved that he jumped up and left for the day, texting me deep apologies, leaving me with a very understanding client. He listens much more carefully now if I tell him I am over my head. It is a lot like the last straw and the camel's back. What created the extreme stress in that circumstance was that I was getting pressure to work through the weekend which was my last weekend to prep for leaving for the playa, and the first days off for weeks.

Spending less time with family and friends is not an option for me - my hubby is a very social animal and we stay very engaged with a lot of people. So there are less important things that suffer - artwork, reading, cleaning the house, yardwork, cooking, etc...

I agree completely with those that have suggested that your issue is a matter of priorities - and it also sounds like you may have some resentment building against those that expected you to just keep doing what you have always done. I hope you can give yourself permission to change your priorities, often if need be! I wonder if receiving the fed-ex on the playa was that straw that broke the camel's back for you. Maybe you need to take a close look at what the rewards have been that made you want to be a workaholic - how does/did that make you feel better? Contrast that with the difference in your attitude and priorities since returning from the playa.

You made the choice and had the experience of being unplugged - which could have happened in lots of ways but Burning Man is one of the better ways to do that IMHO. It may have given you insight needed to be happier.

You may be feeling some guilt that you don't want to work as hard as you have. I know I have to occasionally deal with that - luckily I have gotten really good at using our new operational family motto, "Fuck 'Em".
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