At its heart Amtgard is a game but for people to be able to play and enjoy the game we need individuals to step up and run the organization. At that point it’s a job. As with any job there can be burnout and it can be severe.
I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about burnout in Amtgard. For those of us who take it upon ourselves to continually volunteer in the various offices and the running of events in the club it can turn what is otherwise a fun experience into a stressful, unfulfilling headache. I’ve experienced burnout several times, at different severities over my 18 years of playing.
It doesn’t happen all at once, if it happens to you at all, it is usually only happens after a few years. Eventually it becomes a chore, an activity you do more out of responsibility and habit than any kind of actual enjoyment or sense of achievement. It’s not good for the club and more importantly, it’s not good for your own well being.
Take a step back from your responsibilities. Finish your commitments to the best of your ability but don’t make any new ones, it’s time to look after yourself. Don’t worry, if you are not there to do something, someone else will step up. I know the feeling “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done” but you’ll do no one any good if you push yourself to the point where you won’t be able to do the job properly. That’s the problem with burnout. You won’t be performing at your peak, you’ll be doing your worst. Most cases you only go through the motions and the results are subpar at best.
At that point it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate what you are doing. You should take a look at the last few years and try to identify at what point you started to feel this way. It’s important to identify what exactly isn’t fun anymore so you can stop doing it. It sounds simple but it isn’t always so. Try to remember what made the game fun and try to go back to doing that rather than the added responsibilities you took on.
It’s okay to take a break from Amtgard if you find that no aspect of it is fun anymore. Your own well being is more important than the organization.
A special note to those people who first found fun in volunteering, you may find enjoyment in the activities again. Maybe it’s time to take a step back from a leadership role or switch your focus to helping a new generation leaders rather than doing everything yourself.
For myself I got burnout after a stent running in a kingdom office. Aside from fighting, my original love of the game wasn’t serving in office but in cooking for others. I stepped back from kingdom and local offices and focused on volunteering to do feasts. It was a nice change of pace that kept me engaged in Amtgard. In a very real way it’s like quitting your job and finding a new one.
If you have any questions or seek any advice post in the comments below.
I was inspired to write this after reading this article by Lifehacker.com