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: Speaking of "Burnout"  ( 5523 )
sofadoc
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« : October 11, 2012, 02:06:48 PM »

Burnout was mentioned in the "Partner" topic.

We have a lot of stitchers on this board that only came into the field after suffering "burnout" in another career. So they really can't answer this question (although their input is welcomed anyway). But I was wondering if any of you "lifetime stitchers" ever woke up one morning and just didn't want to do it (upholstery) anymore.

I felt that way about 12 years ago. I was in my early 40's. Upholstery was just about the only thing that I'd ever done. I had reached a point in my life where I no longer had to hustle just to pay bills. So I closed the shop, and got me a regular job.

I quickly found myself working 14 hour days just to bring home less than half of what I made upholstering. After about 2 months, I came running back to my shop with my tail between my legs.

I purged that "burnout" feeling from my soul, and vowed to never let it rear it's ugly head again. I can't think of anything that I'd rather be doing now.

Do (did) any of you "lifers" ever feel that way?

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
scottymc
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« #1 : October 11, 2012, 03:25:23 PM »

I don't get sick of upholstery, I just get sick of the people trying to screw me on price. I'm just getting back into it now as a matter of fact. But the difference is this time that I have other businesses that pay the bills so I am not so desperate to get the job, the opposite actually so I don't short change myself. I can clean motel rooms for $25 an hour over here, so it is easy to just throw the towel in and go and work there, less stress. The only reason I do work for myself is so I can surf whenever I like, it's my only vice.
We have a strange economy going on in oz, things are tightening up and the mining boom is sucking all of our trades people into working the mines, and alot the tradies left have wacked there prices up cause it has created a shortage and they envy the mineworkers salary, it is weird the beast that has saved our economy may also do great damage to it.
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« #2 : October 12, 2012, 08:55:20 AM »

Glad you started this thread. I have often wondered about this and how you guys who have been around for ages battle burn out.

I am relatively new to this trade and am fighting burn out. I have days I have to force myself to go to the shop and work. It seems to be getting worse since the arthritis is starting to flare up badly and causing me alot of pain in my hands.

My wife had a discussion about this the other night. She is concerned about how much longer I can continue to do this work. Between the hand issues and the constant chemo regimens it is getting harder on me. I do not think that retirement ( again ) is to far off. I would like to get another year or two out of me old run down body. :)

Chris
mike802
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« #3 : October 12, 2012, 09:06:33 AM »

Quote
Do (did) any of you "lifers" ever feel that way?

Let me count the ways!  LOL   I tend to push myself way to much, working late, working through holidays, never taking vacations etc.  Thanks to my wife the last few years I have been taking my weekends and she schedules my holidays, if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't even know what day it is because I focus so intently on getting work out the door.

I feel that to avoid burn out one has to make sure they get enough down time to recharge those batteries.   I have been "burnt out" a couple of times in my 28 years in this business because I failed to fallow my own advice above.    I have been able to get over it by slowing down and spreading out my deadlines to give me some breathing room.  A nice long vacation helps if you can manage it.  Sometimes just closing the doors for a few weeks and reorganizing the shop, cleaning up and just doing all those little things that bother you, but you just don't seam to get to can help allot.  Also finding some inspiration helps, I like going to trade shows to see what others are building in the handcrafted furniture trade.  

Once you have gotten over the "burn out"  be careful, take your weekends, vacations and holidays and for gods sake dont bunch up your deadlines.  I have gotten to the point where I state on my work orders that all deadlines are estimates only.  I encourage clients not to plan family holidays or special occasions over getting there furniture reupholstered, it just causes to much stress for everyone.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
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sofadoc
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« #4 : October 12, 2012, 10:03:29 AM »

Chris' mental feelings of burnout are driven by physical problems, and certainly understandable.

And truth be told, the physical aspects of the natural aging process come into play for all of us when we feel like we don't have the "drive" anymore.

My high school counselor tried to convince me to go to college. But at the age of 17, I was already working in the family upholstery business, and making more than he was as a counselor. So his advice fell on deaf ears.

He should've warned me of the toll that upholstery, or any physical trade takes on the human body. And he should've told me about the retirement plan..........there ain't one!!!

But you know, I've met a lot of people that sit behind a desk all day that have a ton of physical problems. And I've met a lot of upholsterers that are still going at a ripe old age.
So I guess that biological clock ticks for all of us.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
chairs4u
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« #5 : October 12, 2012, 01:47:00 PM »

mike802>I can relate. I have been in business 14 years and have taken only one vacation, that was 2 years ago. I have 20 jobs backed up in my shop because I am struggling to get motivated to do them. Had one customer post a bad review on Angies List because I was 4 weeks past my deadline. That's another problem.. setting unrealistic deadlines. The customers I have are usually very understanding and not in a hurry for their pieces. I love what I do but I feel like I need to re-set my brain. Part time helpers have cost me more money than the jobs because I have to re-do their mistakes. Enough complaining, but any tips on how to "keep-on keepin' on" would be appreciated. -Debra

Debra
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« #6 : October 12, 2012, 03:47:24 PM »

unrealistic deadlines....i put myself in that position too often....this lat customer has had upholstery work done in the past so knows the time...she said so it will take 2 months?? I said nah....3 weeks....i shoulda just said yeah 2 months sounds good!
gene
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« #7 : October 12, 2012, 05:41:10 PM »

Many years ago, when I was young and full of vigor, or was it vinegar???, an old man that I worked with said he had a friend who was in his 70's. His friend had been doing the same job since his teens.
That's just over 50 years.
He asked his friend if he enjoyed what he was doing. His friend said, "What does that have to do with it?

Motivational speakers like to ask, "If money were no object, what would you want to do?" I wonder if thinking about this question contributes to burnout?

gene


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gene
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« #8 : October 12, 2012, 05:46:31 PM »

Oh, check out Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One is "Sharpen the Saw", which is what we are talking about on this thread.

gene

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
kodydog
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« #9 : October 15, 2012, 07:38:58 PM »

After working 3 or 4 weeks without a break burnout will hit you straight between the eyes. The best cure for me is schedule a vacation. Camping trip to the Mountains. Gives you something to look forward to and something to think about when you get back.

Sitting at your computer, Saturday morning, eating breakfast, thinking about that sofa you need to finish, after pulling down a 3 week workload is a bummer. What cures my burnout more than anything is just getting in there and getting to work. The whole "feeling sorry for myself" seems to melt away as I pick up the gun and start shooting staples.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
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MinUph
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« #10 : October 15, 2012, 09:21:02 PM »

I ran my shop in Syracuse for 27+ years. I was burnt out with it and it was mainly because of the cheapening of the trade. I may have said this before but I will again. I often told myself back then that if I had to lessen quality to keep work and compete with the guys that did it cheap I would close the doors. I did just that. 10 years later I got back into this and am enjoying it once again. Mainly working for someone else so the choices are not mine in the quality of work. I get to do what I want at the job and am appreciated for my experience. So I guess my burnout cure was getting away from it for awhile.
  The aches and pains of manual labor have taken their toll on my body, but as a remodeler the aches and pains were much worse. Happy to be tacking rags again.
 

Paul
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mike802
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« #11 : October 17, 2012, 08:38:33 AM »

Quote
. Enough complaining, but any tips on how to "keep-on keepin' on" would be appreciated. -Debra

What has worked for me is to keep a calender with all my jobs written down from start date to estimated date of completion.  When a customer calls me I can look over the calender and give them a reasonably accurate start date.  This also helps for blocking out time for vacations and holidays.  I can also block out time for shop clean up, renovations, ect, that otherwise I would never have found time for.  I have only been doing this for about a year, it is not a perfect system, but sure beats trying to keep it all in my head, which never worked.  I can breath now and I am starting to feel like a human. I think being able to control your professional life helps over come and avoid burn out, having to always but projects, or goals aside to get work out the door that should have gone out weeks age becomes frustrating and kills your moral.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
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sofadoc
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« #12 : October 17, 2012, 07:55:57 PM »

Had one customer post a bad review on Angies List because I was 4 weeks past my deadline.
Maybe I've just got too much of a "small town" attitude, but I just don't get Angieslist. I really don't need a website to help me find a plumber or paperhanger, or whatever.

I wouldn't trust a review that I read there anyway. How many times has a movie that you enjoyed been absolutely panned by the critics? Or your favorite restaurant only gets 1 star from the newspaper food critic? I recently stayed in a hotel that I thought was one of the nicest that I'd ever been in. Yet the reviews online were terrible. One person called it a "toilet".

Sorry, but I'm not taking the word of a total stranger. And that's all that Angieslist is to me....a bunch of total strangers.

I tried to sign up for Angieslist just to see what all the fuss was about. When I typed in my zip code, they said that Angieslist was still new to my area, so there aren't many reviews posted. They let me join for free until things pick up in this region. And that's a good thing, because I sure wouldn't pay for it.

I'm still a "word of mouth" kinda guy. And I'm talking "word of mouth" from people that I know and trust. Not some "John Doe" on a website that may be just having a bad day, and they want to take it out on a hard working businessman.

If it sounds like I'm bitter because I've gotten a bad review, that's not the case. As far as I know, I don't have any reviews at all. But I can certainly see how a bad review would bum Debra out.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
gene
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« #13 : October 17, 2012, 09:58:47 PM »

My wife went 100% with Angie's list for our house replacement windows. She would not consider anyone with a bad review.

It's interesting that the biggest window replacement companies in town all have bad reviews.

I would think that some types of businesses are more susceptible to Angie's list reviews than others.

Angie's list advertises on Rush Limbaugh so they must be making a lot of money. It is an interesting idea: have only consumers give reviews.

gene






QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
sofadoc
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« #14 : October 17, 2012, 10:28:45 PM »

It's interesting that the biggest window replacement companies in town all have bad reviews.
Perfectly understandable. The best shortstop usually commits the most errors, because he gets to more balls.

All I know is, I've read a lot of reviews both good and bad that I totally disagree with.

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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