What does burnout look like online?

This is a follow up piece to, We Need To Find Another Gear.

The delightful thing about the internet is that it provides representation and discussion where very little, or in some situations none, existed prior. 

Such is the case for burnout. 

Burnout is represented in news articles, books and YouTube videos, many of which seek to help you understand if you are burnout or depressed. Whilst I want to talk about how burnout is represented in the media, I do not want to go looking for ways this may be, but rather talk about how I have come across it (or not) in my own little filter bubble, both on and off line. 

Burnout is the result of hustle culture, which along with the girl boss received lots of attention. This was the peak time in which we could commodify our hobbies, time block our weekends and feel both anxious about doing things and anxious about the thought of doing nothing. What we are seeing now is an attempt to repair the burnout. An attempt to undo all our thinking about what hard work looks like and what the role of work means in our lives. This is huge. Not only is it a big societal shift but I feel like it completely changes the foundation on which we were building our lives. 

Apparently the opposite of burnout is engagement. But the fact that we are not seeing videos or articles about engaging with our lives shows me that we are still very much in this post-hustle culture, burnout stage where we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Because, for me personally, until I see it filtering its way through my media, I don’t think the shift is happened. And it’s probably premature for it to happen because it feels like as a society we are still very much in our highlight reel phase of Instagram and life really. Even our failures are packages up as lessons and be made to look cute. So many people have multiple Instagrams to show different sides of their personalities. What makes the story doesn’t make the main feed and I for one am obsessed with my close friends story. Whilst I know I am talking about the online world a lot, in situations like these I can’t help but think of the Agenda Setting Function theory, which in short tells us that the media can’t tell us what to think but it can tell us what to think about. 

The media put hustle culture on a pedestal, it put burnout on the menu and now it needs to work to sort it out.