How to Prevent Burnout by Breathing Life Into a Dying Craft

How to Prevent Burnout by Breathing Life Into a Dying Craft

Russell Alcock

The pandemic has shown us how prevalent burnout is across all jobs and industries. While there are countless guides on how to avoid burnout. Almost all of them seek to solve a personal problem. 

We’re not saying that’s a bad thing. But it’s quite possible that burnout is less of a personal  problem and more of a disease that’s endemic to the modern day world. After all, there was a time when labour wasn’t all about making ends meet. There was a time when learning and mastering a craft was purpose unto itself. And maybe that’s all we’re missing.

When Craftsmanship Ends and Burnout Begins

In 2019, burnout was officially recognised as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organisation. This was also the year that cricket ball making, mould & deckle, lacrosse stick making, and gold beating became extinct crafts. 

It’s probably just a coincidence that more and more workers are falling prey to burnout while the number of extinct crafts are growing. But coincidence or not, these two problems could be turned into mutual solutions. 

Becoming a Hobbyist Craftsman

According to Acadia University Psychology Professor, Michael Leiter, “people are looking for something different out of their work than the work is giving them.” If this is true, then burnout can’t be fixed by merely taking a break from work. You need to find a profession that gives you the fulfilment you're looking for.

Now we’re not telling you to immediately quit your job and start an apprenticeship. We all have bills to pay and responsibilities to fulfil. But we should always make time for hobbies and other relaxing activities. And instead of choosing a modern day hobby, perhaps we can take up a dying craft.

You can find the list of endangered crafts on Heritage Crafts, a UNESCO accredited non-government organisation that advocates for traditional heritage crafts. Who knows, maybe a worker burns out just so an endangered craft can rise from their ashes.

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