Ramblings re:Burnout

(I started this post early this morning)

Thirty-minutes past midnight.

I got home about a half an hour ago and am speed-reading my favorite blog posts before heading to bed.

So I swear that this one blog author just wrote a post based on his thoughts about our restaurant. He has been a small-business owner and operator almost as long as I have been alive (so he must be ancient, right? heh heh).

He talks of “Too much success“.

Our current success is that we are literally rolling in the dough, not figuratively rolling in the dough.

It’s in the fact that we are still open, and that we are looking to HIRE people, not FIRE people. The fact that we broke even in our first year, and even showed a small profit.

Duncan is a savvy business guy, though.  To be in business for almost three decades, selling a product that is targeted to a very small demographic…


he must be doing something right. So I pay attention when he dispenses advice.


It’s not just for drag-racers in suped-up cars. Entrepreneurs and restaurateurs are prone to burnout, I believe, on a higher level than most. It’s taking everything…. EVERYTHING…. and putting it on the blackjack table. Part skill, part luck.

So how do I read our cards?

We’ve been successful due to our skill (awesome food, great service, comfortable dining experience) and our luck (small town, unique concept for the area, timing of the closing our loans). Right now, it’s skill that’s keeping us moving along. Our luck ran out a long time ago, and yet our doors are still open and our employees don’t have to worry about cashing their paycheck every two-weeks.

Not a day goes by, however, that a customer asks if we’re going out of business. They “heard” it from someone… Bah. Nonsense. That’s a completely different blog post that I’ll keep private.

But I digress.

Dunc is right:

“Success can breed burnout. You find something works, and you do more of it. It gives you an idea to do another thing, and you do more of that. Before you know it, you’ve got so many things going, you’re running full blast just to stay in one place.”

Some days, I feel that slight burn. That “I didn’t sleep well” on top of “and here’s a list of stuff to do” on top of “you forgot to” can make me want to run home and pull the covers over my head.

I need another Me.

I can’t call in sick, so I don’t get sick.
I can’t not show up to work, so I don’t make plans that interfere with work.
I can’t burnout, so I don’t.


When I feel that slight burn, I speak up. Whitey is really good about letting me take a break; to lay down in the office for a quick nap, or to go home early to snuggle my dogs. We give each other an hour here, and hour there, to do whatever it is that we need to do in order to be more productive later in the day.

They’re still 10 to 12-hour days, though. But those hours are an investment into everything we’ve thrown on the blackjack table. The more time invested, the better the odds of winning.


Winning = retirement. We’ve got a goal. We know where the finish line is. Every hour invested into our business is ultimately going to help us achieve that goal (hopefully) sooner than later.

Before we burnout.

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4 Responses to Ramblings re:Burnout

  1. Duncan McGeary says:

    Well, of the two problems, too little or too much success, you got the better one….if problem it be.

  2. Jen says:

    Sooo what is your slowest night of the week? Maybe…and this is just a friendly don’t want to see you burnout suggestion..you should close on that day. You are an established business now…just a thought. Speaking of thoughts, should LJ have worn a skirt and face paint so he could get in the paper? Next time then.

    • KeenEye says:

      I didn’t see a photo in the newspaper! Really?

      Instead of closing one day a week, we’re thinking of getting a larger staff. It’s really difficult to find trustworthy, dependable people to run the place, though.

  3. Sarah says:

    Interesting blog postings (both yours and his) and sound business advice for those running their own business.

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