Being emotionally overwhelmed while experiencing burnout is just a great thing, isn’t it? /sarcasm
For those that read my mundane posts, you might recall that I help out with Swing Dance events. And by help out - it’s more like “be taken advantage because I’m the most trustworthy/reliable/competent person around” which is essentially a recipe for big time burnout (which I’m experiencing now, wooooo).
Right before my break up last month, I was instrumental in running one of the largest events in North American and it literally drained most of my energy. I felt so taken advantage of during that I felt violated(basically, head of the organization was drunk most to the time, whenever he was around (MC’ing, “putting out fires”, promising people stuff) it just fucked with the whole event schedule and general flow that made it a nightmare to run (it’s a competition event and I do all the things to run comps - scheduling, logistics, paperwork, communication ,etc).
So right after that draining weekend that took me 4 days to recover from, my boyfriend breaks up with me. And going on right now, it’s the next largest event in our scene. I also am an integral organizing team member - I run registration and volunteers. Now, these people that own it are much nice than the other, but they are way more disorganized. I had a long talk with one of them a month ago because I didn’t know if I could emotionally handle doing such a big job for her event after 1) the burnout from the previous event and 2) the emotional fallout form my breakup. We both thought that it was a great idea to include someone to help me out in my role on site so that I could breathe a little.
Ha, yeah right.
Now, the guy who is helping me out is FABULOUS - I have zero bad things to say about him, but I can’t delegate things to him that are a total mess. If all the invited guests were supposed to register on the online system but 75% arrive not be in said system, well, then we run around making sure who’s who and if they are legit. If I’m trying to do something but 3 people are constantly asking me about shit that has nothing to do with my department and I politely tell them to find that person, then 10 minutes later they come back with “I can’t find them can you tell them?” ... to which the answer is no, and this scenario is constantly on loop all day. Add that to the regular stress of running a registration desk and volunteers (snags, people being late for shifts, general mistakes that happen), plus being the person WHO IS ALWAYS BEING ASKED FOR SHIT THAT SHE DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT OVER AND OVER NO MATTER HOW MANY F*CKING TIMES SHE TELLS YOU THAT SHE DOESN’T KNOW AND GO ASK THE PERSON SHE TOLD YOU TO (can you tell I’m frustrated?), this evening I snapped.
The main highlight of this event is a battle between hip hop dancers and swing dancers. So for that evening there’s a guest list for invitees of the hip hop dancers so they can bring their friends/spouses, etc. Well, doors open at 7:30, and I’m still getting emails with “add so and so to the guest list” at 7:28. 1/2 the people arriving are not on the guest list, some are saying they were told by the main organizer they could get in for free (he is not there to confirm this) and I’m just trying to get everyone in with a reasonable delay.
So I’m sorting out the guest list that is just really a random list of names of whomever while checking people in. When the big show happens, the deal is we lock the doors so that everyone can watch - but guess what? they forgot to announce that, so who do you think has to run around to let people in?
Now, I’m not paid for this, I get a “free pass” to the event that I don’t really get to enjoy because I can’t dance because I’m always being pulled in 19 different directions. The ONE THING I wanted was to just watch the show in peace, but I realized 5 min in that I would just kept being called back to the door. And that’s when I snapped.
It’s really hard to not get bitter when you’re running around so that advance dancers can showcase they’re stuff, have high def video be made (which is essentially a promotional video opportunity to get them gigs), who get paid (granted a minimal fee for this event in particular) and get to hang out and drink beer and dance when they aren’t busy. I, on the other hand, run around trying to figure out what the fuck is going on most of the time so that my things can just run even a modicum of smoothly.
So I burst into tears right before the main event, realized how much I could give 2 shits to watch people, yes, do fucking awesome dancing, but with the caveat that these people get a platform to promote themselves and their dancing in order to book teaching and performing gigs. They also get to hand out, drink bere, get really nice well thought out gifts as thanks for participating (last year it was a bere with their faces on it, this year they get a special edition record in a special designed sleeve just for the event. What do I get for all the work I do? A thank you. I don’t get paid. Or the opportunity to get invited to go to other events for free (like our main organizers do). I just get burnout and bitter because no matter how much I try to delegate, shit just falls on my shoulders regardless.
So I left before the main event started, after crying solidly in the staff room for 10 solid minutes. I won’t be going back (there is still a full day left tomorrow). I had planned to perform a piece during one of the comps, but I don’t feel like baring my soul to a community of people who I just feel take advantage of me without really giving anything back. All they do is take take take, and they (I use they as in general people in the community, not specifically these organizers) make you feel like a shit for wanting something in return. The reality is: you wanna be able to have a good time by working an event? Then you have to be a teacher deemed good enough. Then you get all the perks. Us lowly plebes that make shit run, we’re a dime a dozen clearly and not worth much (fuck, I’m bitter)
So this might spell the end of the swing dancing community and me. This is just the last in a long line of similar occurrences over the last 3 years. Now I have to start recuperating from this most recent emotional meltdown and keep working on recuperating from the burnout.
Tl;Dr Don’t burn people out - it’s not nice.