Creator Burnout

Creator Burnout
April 3, 2024 Rob Artigo
In Podcasts

YouTube and TikTok users know this all too well. Fact: We live in a more isolated work environment, often at home, in our own little space, with what seems like a lot more to accomplish. In this Tough Things First podcast, Ray Zinn discusses “creator burnout”, why it happens, and how to deal with it. (Watch the video podcast here…)


Rob Artigo: Ray, a lot of talk lately and Congress took some action on this is, is the possibility of banning TikTok, and or forcing a sale of TikTok. Now, this podcast isn’t really about that, but one of the side stories that I happen to notice was something called creator burnout. We have these video influencer types that are on these platforms and they spend so much time doing all the work, putting in the… because really, it’s a individual responsibility.You’re going to have some kind of channel on one of these platforms, and you’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to actually do work, and that includes the recording, the editing, you’re writing it, and somebody said that, actually, it’s like storyboarding what you’re going to do, and all the other tasks that are associated with the process. And there’s, apparently, depression that ensues among many of these people, and they even have mental health problems. So let’s talk about creator burnout. Is there a kind of creator burnout that can occur in other tech industries or any industry really, where people have to put in a lot of time and effort in a creative endeavor? I mean, we have creative teams in these things. Silicon Chip Design, for one, I know they have teams of people that do certain tasks in that, and it can be pretty tedious in the creative process.

Ray Zinn: Well, it goes to the saying that if you love what you do, you don’t work a day of your life. And there’s another one which is counter to that, which is, no pain, no gain. But if you do enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t have burnout. I write every day, I write thousands of musings. I’m on my fifth book, yeah, on my fifth book. And so creator burnout really becomes when you lose interest in what you’re doing, when it no longer becomes enjoyable. It can happen in sports. Forgotten now that somebody just retired because it was burnout.

Ray Zinn: Cont.

He was getting burned out. He’s a well-known football coach, extremely well-known. And so you can get burned out in politics. There’s a guy recently leaving the Congress because… I think his name is Buck or something like that, because you get burned out. If you’re no longer enjoying what you’re doing, you will burn out. So I think the key here is if you continue to enjoy what you’re doing, whether you’re doing design, whether you’re doing nursing, whether you’re doing teaching, whatever the field of endeavor you’re involved with, you’re going to experience burnout if you don’t enjoy it. Again, if you enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t work a day in your life.

Rob Artigo: It seems that if you stop enjoying what you’re doing and you face some burnout is maybe you got to pivot and do something else. Can we-

Ray Zinn: Absolutely. Pivoting is another thing, obviously. I don’t care, as I said, if you’re a politician, if you’re a football coach, a sports coach, or if you’re an athlete, or if you’re involved in running a company, I know that the average tenure of a CEO is around five years, no, three to five years, three to five years. And the reason for that is because of burnout. And it may not be burnout being a CEO, it may be a burnout in being a CEO at the endeavor at the company that you’re involved with. So again, it doesn’t matter if you’re an engineer or a teacher or a coach or whatever, an athlete, if you cease to enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to get burned out.

Rob Artigo: Well, sometimes I would suspect that people don’t recognize that, that is what’s behind their feelings of burnout and some of these issues, like the mental health problems and the depression and that sort of thing. And bringing it back to a creative team, say, for silicon chip manufacturing, is there a way to recognize when a team member is suffering from burnout or facing burnout that they maybe don’t even recognize is occurring, but their actions or behavior seem to reflect a lack of motivation and desire to continue doing the job?

Ray Zinn: Yeah, that’s the key subject, is how do you recognize employee burnout? Number one is they’re going to make more mistakes. Their interest is going to flounder, they’re going to take more time off. They’re going to be sick more. Just look for a change in their behavior, maybe they’re going to be more disgruntled, more upset, more looking for excuses, as you would. So again, they’re a disgruntled employee, whether it be burnout or for whatever reason, their telltale signs are, they’re going to be more angry, more upset, more disenchanted. And so that’s the key to knowing when one of your employees is on the edge, as you would’ve, of burning out.

Rob Artigo: Can we prevent it in our teams?

Ray Zinn: Well, it’s a psychological thing. It’s up to the individual. You can help them by just understanding what they’re going through, maybe it’s a divorce, maybe it’s a problem at home. It might be financial. It could be a number of things which are outside the issue at work. It may have nothing to do with work. It may just be something that their personal involvement outside of work is causing the problem. So again, when I was running my crown, I did a lot of managing by walking around and talking to people, and then talking to their managers, supervisors, trying to understand how their team is doing.

And we constantly run across people who are going through a bad problem at home, a bad home life, as you would, or a personal life. It has nothing to do with the company, but there are occasions where there’s an issue at the company with the either pay, or could be the job description, it could be that they’re struggling with the particular tasks that they’re doing, but more likely than not that I have found, it’s more personal, it’s more problems outside of work, is what’s causing their issues with regard to burnout.

Rob Artigo:

And reversing it is another thing. And perhaps doing something like tweaking… you said the job description, maybe something like tweaking the person’s responsibilities within the team so that they’re doing more of the stuff that they really want to be doing and less of the stuff that they are struggling with, and maybe that will lift them out of the burnout process.

Ray Zinn: Well, again, remember, Rob, I was just saying that most of the time, I found that 75 to 80% of the time, it’s a personal, it’s not involving work. It’s not a work problem, it’s a personal problem. And they cause more problems than at work. So while I wouldn’t ignore or minimize something that might be happening at work, I certainly would look elsewhere. I just find out how their personal life is going. And as I said, nine times out of 10, or eight out of 10, anyway, it’s usually involving a personal problem that they’re facing. And that’s not something that you can solve particularly other than maybe asking them to take a little personal leave or maybe just encouraging them to seek counseling in some way.

I mean, again, depending upon the problem they’re facing, that changes the solution. But anyway, as I said, eight times out of 10, or at least my experience is 75 to 80% of the time, it’s a personal problem, not a work problem. And again, back to your starting comments about the TikTok and creative burnout, what’s happening is that they’re expecting more from their efforts than they’re getting. So it’s an exaggerated view of their expectations, and that causes discouragement. We’re referring, again, to people who are doing creative work on TikTok or Facebook or X or whatever, or LinkedIn. If they’re not getting the reward that they expect, that causes them burnout, as you would. I know it sounds securus, but that’s what’s happening, is that they’re not getting the reward that they were expecting.

Rob Artigo: That makes sense because we have, in many cases, what they call, the gig economy, where people are doing these… maybe working from home and they’re doing piecemeal work for something, and we use just to plug the service we use to get our transcripts done for the podcast. They send it out to somebody and that person edits, they write it up and edit it, whatever, they transcribe the audio. I think it’s probably done by computer first, and then they go through and work it up. That person might be getting paid okay, but in some cases, the gig economy ends up being, if you work it out, it’s sometimes like pennies on the dollar for what you’re… that’s where you’re going to face the depression, is that, man, this is a lot of work and I’m not getting anything for it.

Ray Zinn: Well, it’s unrealistic expectations, is what causes these kinds of problems. So maybe it’s something you thought you would enjoy because it sounded good or paid well or something, and then you found out that your expectations were unrealistic. And so I think that’s the other issue that they face, is having a unrealistic expectation. I’ve talked to a few people that are involved in this media effort, whether it be marketing or whatever, they’re doing some kind of creative editing or whatever, that they’re losing interest in it, maybe they’ve grown tired of it, maybe it’s not a challenge for them, or maybe they just feel they’re not being properly rewarded for the efforts they’re putting in. Unrealistic expectation is what I call it.

Rob Artigo: Well, Ray, I appreciate you being with me for this great video podcast. Our listeners can choose between the audio version or the video version. You can come back and check out both. But those of you who have checked this out on YouTube and enjoyed this video, please rate the podcast wherever you are and make sure that you let people know that you’re listening, and even share the link for this stuff. This is quality information that helps a lot of people in business out. So thanks, Ray. This is great. And I should remind people, is where you have your blogs, links to all of your social media, and also, you can find out more information about your books. You mentioned Tough Things First, and the Zen of Zinn series, there’s three books there. We have the upcoming Essential Leadership, which is going to be a fantastic book, and I hope people will be around to experience and enjoy that book as well. Thanks for the great conversation, Ray?

Ray Zinn: Also, let us know if you enjoy the podcast compared to the audio. I know some of you are on your way to work, you listen to the podcast, and so the video wouldn’t help. But for those of you who are able to view the podcast as a video, please let us know if you prefer the video over the audio so we’ll know where your interests lie and what seems to stimulate you more, whether it be just the plain audio or if you prefer the video. So let us know on that too. Please respond and give us that feedback. Thank you.

Rob Artigo: Yeah, any feedback that they can provide would be great as well. I mean, do they want longer podcasts? Do they want shorter podcasts? That kind of thing, or if you have a topic that you’d like us to discuss, please chime in and let us know.

Ray Zinn: Thank you.

Rob Artigo: Great conversation, Ray. Thanks.

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