Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Let’s Get Real about Burnout



Burnout is at an all-time high and mental health at an all-time low. From vague head fogs to serious illness, we feel it in ourselves and our families, friends, teams, and research participants. What’s going on, and what in the world are we supposed to do about it?

Despite the statistics (and our ethnographic lens on social and medical problems) we often feel like burnout is our own fault—and we can feel shame about being unproductive or unable to “keep it together.” We need to break that cycle! Let’s talk about burnout and what is happening to ALL of us.

In this session we will discuss the causes of burnout (and why it has felt soooooo bad these past few months), how to recognize it, and concrete strategies on how to move past it (or at least make some peace with it and set some boundaries!).


Tracey Lovejoy is the co-founder of EPIC, an anthropologist, and a longtime amplifier of Catalysts. For many years she drove innovation at Microsoft by connecting designers and engineers to the needs of their customers and managing teams to catalyze change. Today Tracey is a coach for change makers. She’s supported Catalysts and their teams in wide variety of large organizations, such as Amazon, Facebook, Steelcase, Microsoft, Intel, Vodafone, and Redfin. She also works with individual movers and shakers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners across many industries including healthcare, education, technology, professional services, retail, and food service. She is author of the best-selling book Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out.: The Catalyst’s Guide to Working Well (with Shannon Lucas).

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