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Kathleen Danielson - Avoiding Burnout, and other essentials of Open Source Self-Care

Kathleen Danielson - Avoiding Burnout, and other essentials of Open Source Self-Care

As technical community managers we are faced with a unique set of challenges. We do it because we love our communities, but we also are often guilty of neglecting our own very real needs in order to serve those communities. We end up feeling guilty, run down, inadequate, and ultimately burnt out.

https://us.pycon.org/2015/schedule/presentation/345/

D5710b3bca38f1233274b4cbc523dc4b?s=128

PyCon 2015

April 18, 2015
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Transcript

  1. Avoiding Burnout And Other Essentials of Open Source Self Care

    PyCon 2015 11 April 2015 Kathleen Danielson
  2. @KathleenLD ➢ Developer Advocate, Mapzen ➢ Currently: OpenStreetMap Foundation; Ada

    Initiative; Geo Berlin ➢ Previously: GeoDC; OpenStreetMap US ➢ Not paid to do FOSS (!!!)
  3. I’m giving this talk because I needed to hear it

    ➢ My area of interest was (is) FOSS community ➢ Last spring I found myself extremely burnt out ➢ Frustrated with my communities and projects and teammates
  4. (Cat Break)

  5. What is burnout? Why does it matter? What causes it?

    How do I keep from getting burned out? “I'm already burned out. Now what?”
  6. What is burnout? Why does it matter? What causes it?

    How do I keep from getting burned out? “I'm already burned out. Now what?”
  7. What is burnout?

  8. What is burnout?

  9. What is burnout?

  10. What is burnout?

  11. What is burnout? ➢ Coined in the 1970s ➢ Started

    as something affecting people in the helping professions
  12. Not well defined ➢ No DSM-V diagnosis (but there is

    one in the ICD-10) ➢ Can include elements of anxiety and depression ➢ WARNING: Could be hiding something larger!!!
  13. What does it look like: ➢ Increased irritability, cynicism ➢

    Loss of enthusiasm ➢ Loss of empathy ➢ Decreased performance Basically, something changes.
  14. (Cat Break)

  15. What is burnout? Why does it matter? What causes it?

    How do I keep from getting burned out? “I'm already burned out. Now what?”
  16. Why does Burnout matter in FOSS? ➢ Leader turnover →

    Unstable projects ➢ We lose the people who are doing the less visible, less celebrated work ➢ FOSS doesn't have an HR department ➢ We care about our health and that of our peers
  17. What is burnout? Why does it matter? What causes it?

    How do I keep from getting burned out? “I'm already burned out. Now what?”
  18. Know the Causes ➢ Identify risk factors ➢ Spot warning

    signs ➢ Deal with it once it’s already happened ➢ Make sure it doesn’t happen again
  19. Causes of Burnout ➢ Balance ➢ Expectations ➢ Pacing ➢

    Locus of Control
  20. Balance ➢ Are you spending enough time not working? ➢

    "Putting all your happiness eggs in one basket"
  21. Expectations ➢ What do people expect of me? ➢ What

    do I expect of me? ➢ It's easy not to be aware of your expectations for yourself ➢ Easy to project your own expectations onto others ➢ Sometimes need to verify this externally
  22. Pacing ➢ Is the pace that you're working at sustainable?

    ➢ Marathon, not a sprint ➢ Have to adjust pace if you want to keep doing this
  23. Locus of Control • Inner: people see the point of

    control for things in their lives as happening inside themselves. ◦ “What do I have control over?" • Outer: people see the point of control for things in their lives as happening outside themselves. ◦ Powerlessness
  24. (Santa Cat Break)

  25. What is burnout? Why does it matter? What causes it?

    How do I keep from getting burned out? “I'm already burned out. Now what?”
  26. Ways to Avoid Burnout ➢ Balance ➢ Expectations ➢ Pacing

    ➢ Locus of Control
  27. Your Toolbox ➢ Emotional distance ➢ Boundaries ➢ Teammates ➢

    The word “No” ➢ “Happiness Egg” distribution
  28. Practical Tips ➢ Don't lead a community on your own

    ➢ Take the summer off ➢ Ask for help ➢ Socialize separately ➢ Talk to people; debrief ➢ Be frank about your risk factors
  29. Common Risk Factors ➢ Stealth Job ➢ Peers in Different

    Contexts ➢ Community of Jerks
  30. Stealth Job ➢ FOSS masquerades as a hobby ➢ Particularly

    applies to people who are doing FOSS work in addition to a traditional full time job ➢ The need for work life balance still applies ➢ A sustainable pace might be different than what you expect ➢ Rethink what you call “downtime”
  31. ➢ Volunteering vs Working ➢ Creates a gap in: ◦

    Pacing ◦ Expectations ◦ Timelines ◦ Reliability ➢ Talk about it Peers in Different Contexts
  32. LOL @ Meritocracy

  33. (Facepalm Cat Break)

  34. Community of Jerks LOL @ Meritocracy

  35. ➢ Jerks drain energy ➢ Toxic people say a lot

    about their community ➢ Toxic communities can rapidly become abusive, often in quiet, insidious ways. ➢ Talk about it ➢ Institute culture shifts ➢ Leave Community of Jerks
  36. What is burnout? Why does it matter? What causes it?

    How do I keep from getting burned out? “I'm already burned out. Now what?”
  37. Responding to Burnout ➢ Step back ➢ Identify the cause

    ➢ Talk to people when you’re ready ➢ Leave, if necessary.
  38. “Looking back, the reason I didn't leave my community sooner

    was because there is a giant social stigma around leaving an open source community. Open source is supposed to be our passion, something we work on even in our spare time. We talk about community, collaboration, and working on projects for the greater good. To walk away from an open source project for mental health reasons seems somehow selfish. [. . .] The impact is that no one talks about leaving a community. [...] The lack of people visibly leaving toxic open source projects means that people may not know leaving is a valid option.” (http://modelviewculture.com/pieces/leaving-toxic-open-source-communities) Leaving as a Valid Option
  39. ➢ Do not compromise your own mental health for a

    toxic community. ➢ Do not compromise your own mental health for a non-toxic community. ➢ Do not compromise your mental health for any community or project. If you hear one thing I say:
  40. (Bi-ped Cat Break)

  41. ➢ Leave a committee ➢ Step back from positions of

    responsibility entirely ➢ Create a subgroup ➢ Fork it! Leaving doesn’t have to be the end!
  42. How are *you* doing? So now what?

  43. ➢ Yay! ➢ Identify your own Risk Factors ➢ Mitigate

    them ➢ Take care of yourself “I’m not burnt out!”
  44. ➢ :-( ➢ Look for the things that caused it

    ➢ Start making changes ➢ Take care of yourself “I am burnt out!”
  45. (Cat Break)

  46. No one else can do that for you Be kind

    to yourself
  47. Thank you!

  48. Questions? @KathleenLD