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Last Episode-itis

How to Help the Senioritis of the Assistant Editor World

Feeling unmotivated? Senioritis is most known as a productivity slump at the end of a school term. However, the freelance nature of the television industry means that you can see senioritis crop up on your last episode of a season. Here are a few tips on how to avoid it, how to notice you're in a slump, and how to help.

IMPORTANT: If you are having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, if you feel yourself isolating from friends and loved ones, or if you have days where you feel like you simply can't go on, then please seek professional help from a qualified therapist. Please reach out to someone if you're struggling.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Line 988 (this is like 911 but for mental health)

How to Avoid Senioritis

1. Remember what you love about the job.

I personally love the feeling of completing a concrete project. I love talking about creative solutions to creative problems. I love creating organizational systems.

So, on one show, I took it upon myself to create an AE binder for season two. It included our deliverables to all departments, as well as where to find our archived material. This created a new project for me that I was excited about tackling, and it was very helpful for season two! Find a way to reignite your own passion.

2. Take Breaks

Burn-out is real, and sometimes your lack of motivation can hit because you need a break. Try to:

  • Make time for a weekly (or daily) meditation or yoga class.

  • Make a lunchtime walk part of your routine.

  • Spend time on the weekend feeding your creativity. Go to a museum or a concert.

  • Make a weekly date-night with your partner a priority.

  • Re-ignite a hobby. Fold your passions back into your spare time.

We've all taken jobs where spare-time and breaks are just not possible. What can you do then?

  • Mini-breaks. Take 5 minutes where you are not at your desk. Stand in the sun for 5 minutes before you go into the office. Set a timer to remind yourself.

  • Create a count-down calendar. Sometimes, you just need to know that rest is 15 days away.

3. Think About Your Future

Senioritis can set in as a reaction to uncertainty about the future. We've all had a day where we've worried that we'll never work again. Focus on what you can do today to help your future.

  • Send an email to an old colleague and let them know that your schedule will be open soon.

  • Dust off your resume and get it looking tip-top.

  • Update your IMDB, and LinkedIn pages.

  • Update your website.

  • Ask your current bosses what their future plans are, and let them know if you'd like to work with them again.

Remember Your Reputation

People remember how you leave a job, not how you begin. Remember to end a season on good terms. It could be the difference between being asked back next season or not. It could mean the difference between a personal recommendation or not.

This industry is all about networking, connections, and reputations. Keep your reputation in good shape by finishing strong.

How to Notice Senioritis

The first step when fixing any problem is to identify it.

Here are a few symptoms of senioritis:

  • Feeling unmotivated

  • Severe procrastination

  • Not finishing tasks

  • Loss of interest in your work

  • A desire to skip work

  • Loss of interest in your colleagues' opinion about your work

If you start noticing any of this in your work, you might be slipping into senioritis.

How to Cure Senioritis

Sometimes, the only cure is for the job to end. However, these tips might help diminish the negative effects or help to cure it completely.

See a Therapist

Therapy is not just for when you're at a scary low. A good therapist can help you get un-stuck at work, or help you identify healthy coping mechanisms. A good therapist can help you set boundaries, or help you find ways to separate work and home time. They are an incredible resource.

Remember that therapy is a doctor's appointment and you can let your job know that you need to leave. You do not have to say you are leaving for therapy. You can simply tell them you have a doctor's appointment. Because of HIPAA laws, your job is not allowed to ask what the doctor's appointment is about.

Ask for Help

Sometimes what you need is an accountability buddy. It's ok to tell the editor that you're working with that you need a little more oversight this week. "Hey, I've been feeling a little unmotivated recently, would you please help me by checking in on me to make sure I'm completing my tasks this week?"

If you don't want to let the editor know, ask one of the other assistant editors to check in on you. Or better yet - gamify it! Every time you complete a task, you get to display some small trophy. If the other assistant does a task, then they get to take the trophy. This goes back and forth until the end of the day. Whoever has the trophy at the end of the day is the winner, and the loser gets to buy coffee tomorrow. (I suggest something ridiculous, like a plush toy, for the trophy)

Reward Yourself

Congratulations! You did all your tasks today. Reward yourself by eating something fancy, buying yourself flowers, or getting a massage. Find something that makes you smile.

Clean Your Office

Our physical space has a large impact on our mental health. Does your office feel like somewhere you don't want to be? Take a minute and evaluate why.

  • Does it feel dirty? Dust, vacuum, wipe down your keyboard.

  • Does it feel disorganized? Fix that paper pile. Buy a new notebook. Update your calendars. Find a solution to the annoying fact that there's no good place to put your script binder.

  • Does it feel vacant? Add a photo of a loved one. Add a plant. Bring in a fun throw-pillow. Add some fidget toys.

  • Does it feel like a cave or like the lighting is too harsh? Find ways to bring in lighting. Add some Hue lights and set your room to a fun or relaxing color. Add a salt lamp. Find a way to diffuse harsh light and make it more comfortable.

Set Reasonable Goals

You're not going to sit down and concentrate and then finally do the entirety of that giant project that has been weighing on you.

However, maybe you can do step 1 today. Perhaps even step 1 is unreasonable. Maybe just do one small aspect of step 1 today.

Maybe your goal today is just to do every task that is asked of you. Or, maybe your goal today is to set a boundary and say that you can only do one task out of the many that are expected of you. Maybe your goal is to ask for help on a task.

Be gentle with yourself. Find a way to ease yourself back into the groove.

Remember What You're Working Toward

Take 5 minutes and write out your goals. Where do you want your career to go? How is this job helping you get there? How will leaving this job on a high note help you in the long-run?

In Summary

Take care of yourself. This job can be taxing, and it's important to find outlets that work for you. If you feel yourself isolating from friends, or if you just feel stuck, seek professional help from a therapist. Cultivate your hobbies. And remember, you will definitely work again when this job is over. The future is bright.


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