Monday, 14 October 2013

The unexamined life of an activist and other Liberal Democrat animals

This blog post from earlier this year, "Argonauts of the incredibly specific: Anthropological field notes on the Liberal Democrat animal" is superb, and the author should be given a column in Ad Lib immediately.

They also state:

"If you are reading a blog for peer-reviewed, citable, academia then you should seek help. Stick around though, I quote Napoleon later."

So I'm not doing that, but I do think this blog is excellent, because of acute observations like this


"If you want to be an MP it helps to be rich, charismatic, likeable, hard-working, lucky, good with the media, have a good back story, have a solid track record with the party, and good at campaigning. But you don’t need to be any of these things. 
The only thing you absolutely need is ridiculous, and I mean absolutely ridiculous, levels of self-belief. This is because no rational human being would ever want to do it. 
 If you want to be an MP you must give up all semblance of a normal life for years, often decades, at a time. You must be unemployed, or have a very patient employer and a meaningless job, for about a year before the election. You must surrender all meaningful contact with friends and family. In the months before an election you must spend around twenty hours a day shaking hands, smiling, and making token purchases. 
And if you are not driven completely insane by this you also have to come to terms with the fact that there is a very very good chance that you are going to lose, that it will all have been for nothing, and that you have to wait four more years and then have another go – only it will be harder the next time because now you are tagged as a loser." 

and 
"Campaigners work around 90 hours a week and there is a machismo culture around who can do the longest hours. Unsurprisingly Campaigners live on a diet of nicotine, alcohol, coffee, and anything with lots of sugar in it. Perhaps surprisingly Campaigners have not yet discovered crystal meth."
Then, after following a Facebook status where a friend talked about a non-political activity she had enjoyed and other people all commented that this was good and healthy, I googled BurnoutHerbert J. Freudenberger and Gail North have concluded that the burnout process can be divided into 12 phases, which don't have to be followed sequentially.

These include:

The Compulsion to Prove Oneself
Often found at the beginning is excessive ambition. This is one's desire to prove themselves while at the workplace. This desire turns into determination and compulsion

Working Harder
Because they have to prove themselves to others or try to fit in an organization that does not suit them, people establish high personal expectations. In order to meet these expectations, they tend to focus only on work while they take on more work than they usually would. It may happen that they become obsessed with doing everything themselves. This will show that they are irreplaceable since they are able to do so much work without enlisting in the help of others

Revision of Values
In this stage, people isolate themselves from others, they avoid conflicts, and fall into a state of denial towards their basic physical needs while their perceptions change. They also change their value systems. The work consumes all energy they have left, leaving no energy and time for friends and hobbies. Their new value system is their job and they start to be emotionally blunt

Depersonalization
Losing contact with themselves, it's possible that they no longer see themselves or others as valuable. As well, the person loses track of their personal needs. Their view of life narrows to only seeing in the present time, while their life turns to a series of mechanical functions

Well, it's made me think..... In the words of Jerry Springer - look after yourselves and each other.


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