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Community Manager Burnout

"Balanced on Water" by Murray Barnes

When I saw the topic for yesterday’s Twitter #cmgrchat, I thought it was a good one to discuss, particularly now.  The holidays just ended where everyone feels stretched in too many directions.  It’s January so the business expectations for a New Year are fresh in everyone’s mind and people are still playing catchup from the end of last year.  And Community Managers are always on…at least that’s the way is seems.

But the discussion was not one of concern or complaint as you might expect.  In fact it was full of lots of positive points from community managers on why they do what they do and ways others in this position can keep burnout at bay:

  1. Community Managers are often Type A personalities and understand that.  Much of the pressure they feel is more self-imposed than company imposed – and understanding and managing that themselves is key.
  2. Setting realistic expectations both for yourself and your community is needed.  And sticking to them.  If the community doesn’t expect you to be on at 10pm and you’re not, it’s all good.  If sometimes you are and sometimes you’re not it could cause confusion.
  3. All jobs have stresses.  Talking to your boss about the stress you’re feeling when it starts not when it’s gotten too far is important.
  4. And talking about that stress out loud, whether to your boss or your friends or family, may lead you to solutions you would not have come up with on your own.
  5. It’s okay to get in a funk about something…it’s just not ok to stay in a funk about it and give in to inertia.  Give yourself some time & space to be in a funk (one chatterer suggested about 10 minutes) then shake it off and move on to something else or come back to it.
  6. Keep your perspective.  Two quotes that I really liked from this chat:
  • “We think we have 24 hours jobs, but the truth is, we can step away. Life will go on.”
  • “I now have this written above monitor, “Is anyone dying?” – No? Walk away, do something to numb brain and come right back.

And what are the signs you are experiencing burnout?  Well for some it’s just staring at the computer screen blankly, for others it’s having nothing to contribute at business meetings and for yet another it’s not having the desire to play foosball.  In other words, it’s different for all…but identifying it in yourself is also key. Check out transcripts of #cmgrchat here.

Do you think Community Managers are more prone to burnout than others?  What are your keys for staving off and managing burnout?

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