I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the restoration industry from a few different angles over the last year, wearing a few different hats. Each hat has given me some fresh perspective and understanding of the daily life of you all, restorers. It’s clearer than ever that in this industry, days off and vacations tend to be few and far between. Plus, there is no such thing as a “normal work week” or even “work day” in emergency restoration. Many operations managers I know arrive as early as 6 or 7 a.m., and don’t leave until well into the evening – every single day. And that is not just at the ownership and upper management level; I have met highly driven project managers and estimators who say the same.

Often, the lack of time off is explained away by a busy season or that there is no one else to fill the position or do the work while you’re off on vacation. While that may be the truth, I’ve also observed another truth: there are a shocking number of both men and women in leadership roles in restoration companies throughout the U.S. who are divorced or separated from their families. And many of them (not all, of course, I understand there are many reasons families end up divided) openly blame the failure on over-commitment to work. 

Of course, burnout in this industry is not a new topic of discussion or concern. In fact, it’s become such a hot topic, Middle Tennessee State University and Purdue University have teamed up to conduct a study and do research on burnout and employee engagement in disaster restoration. The professors behind the study have invited everyone in the industry to participate – it takes just 20 minutes and can be done from a computer or mobile device. The study has four sections:

  1. Demographics
  2. Maslach Burnout Inventory
  3. Areas of Worklife Survey
  4. Exit

You can find a link to the survey on www.randrmagonline.com by simply typing “burnout” in the search bar. The research portion of the study is now closed; be sure to look out for some of the research and results to be shared in R&R in 2019!

If you’re among the crowd that is feeling burned out, also be sure to check out JT Kraai’s article on page 6 of this issue for some great tips on reviving yourself before it’s too late.