Procrastinator Burn Out

At long last … I’m starting to burn out on the Procrastinator.

Though tonight was a tremendous success–a free pre-screening of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”–it was also thoroughly tiring. Some 403 students attending tonight’s screening and, despite slashing prices, the concessions stand made over $200. At the same time, I started working around 4:00 pm, and left the theater just after 3:00 am, feeling the first suggestion of what I hope doesn’t turn in to a cold. By the end of the week, I’ll have put in 25 hours at the theater alone–in addition to office hours, correspondence, website updates, etc.

It’s not that I’m tired of the job … it’s just volunteer burn out. By the end of last semester, I’d put in some 460 hours. Given my annual stipend of $2,500, my hourly wage would have been just under $5.50/hr–if I had stopped working last December. Since then, I’ve put in hundreds of additional hours. Despite putting in substantially less time, all but one of my employees will make more money than me this year. So at this point, for all intents and purposes, all of my time is volunteer labor.

As economists are wont to chide … incentives matter. And, at this point, there really aren’t any incentives left. No monetary incentives, and even the feel-good incentive is nearly non-existent at this point: I’ve already (in all humility) done a damn good job. And, no matter how much time I put in between now and the end of my term, I’ll still have done (and only done) a damn good job. There’s no chance of promotion. No additional human capital to create. No pay raise. No additional bullets to add to my resume, or things to brag about during an interview. No additional pats on the back…

There are still things that need doing–finalizing the myriad details of the new theater transition, drafting a year-end report, getting t-shirts printed, finding a buyer for our popcorn popper, selling the hundreds and hundreds of movie posters accumulated in the office… But I just don’t have the fresh determination to tackle those tasks. I have plenty of other things in my life that need my attention…

Fortunately, the end is in sight. Three more shows, and then it’s done. A few more shows, and I can start handing off tasks and projects to the new committee head. And … as long as that new committee head is competent and dedicated, I’m now fully ready to pass the baton.

Ug. It’s late. I’m going to bed.

About Mark Egge

Two truths and a lie: Mark Egge is an outdoor enthusiast, opera singer, and a transportation data scientist. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.
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