As a journalist in the nation’s capitol, Jenny Starrs was constantly in motion, to squeeze out another task on her to-do list and fill up the last free day on her calendar. Then, one day she quit.
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I Quit My Job, Moved To Alaska To Bake Bread — And Rebuilt My Identity | Think | NBC News
Original of the video here
there’s something soothing yet magicalabout making bread the simplest age-oldingredients come alive requiring nothingmore than a little tension and time tocreate a springy supple dough fargreater than the sum of its parts theprocess became my oasis it was a timeout for my digitized workplace andescape for my to-do lists a release fromthe pressures to optimize to push tohustleas a video journalist in Washington DCthe stress felt inescapable every day atwork I was sucked into the nonstop paceof news the cycle would spit me back outat the end of the day feeling a littlebit less myself breaking news tonight onmultiple rage the right hands it’s ahoax are you that’s enough put down themic i internalized that rush ofconfident motionI was perpetually on the go to squeezeout another task to fit in one moremeeting to fill up the last free day onthe calendar thinking that if I just didthat I would reach the pinnacle and feelat peace but I never did and then oneday I quit I packed up my apartment Igot on a plane and then another one andI started baking bread in Alaska in aseasonal job at a small town bakery Ifound through an ad online I didn’t havea grand plan a return ticket or evenhealth insurance I didn’t have a namefor it then but I was burned out thatfeeling of inescapable pressure shamefuland lonely but more than 60% offull-time employees report feelingburned out at work at least sometimesnearly a quarter say it’s chronic ifwere the burnout generation why was itso hard for me to recognize it until Ihit my breaking point was it inevitableand did I make the right decision so Iset out to talk to other people who hadfelt and studied the same thingwith all different sorts of situationsand stress and come out the other sidehi there’s something about the ourcurrent idea of productivity especiallyonline that I think really privilegesvisibility like having visible resultsand it casts unfortunately not onlyreflection and observation but alsothings like sleep or or anything likecare maintenance self-care like all ofthese things start to look reallyluxurious from a point of view in whichtime is exactly money you could try totake a day off and it feels expensivelike that I think that’s really tellingabout like how we view time maybe that’swhy I turned to sourdoughit fulfills that need to produce but ina tactile analog setting that can’t berushed or optimized it’s better whenslowed down flavor develops glutenstrengthens and the bread Rises and thenafter a loaf is pulled crackling outfrom the oven its devoured there’snothing to show for my work but breadcrumbs I mean in a way you’ve you’vetaken already taken the advice that Iwould give really in a very bold wayit’s almost like a confute whatpsychiatrists will call a confusionalstate you become so identified with whatyou’re doingthat you lose any sense of who youactually are Josh has seen more and morepatients suffering from burnout inrecent years he said that a long-termstructured time out can be a good way toescape from the crushing cycle apermanent distraction and activity andto disconnect your sense of identityfrom your job you know you said at thebeginning I don’t know if there’s anyparticular significance about bread butof course the symbolic significance ofbread is massive the sense that in a wayit’s the sort of favored metaphor forsurvival is bread bread did become myson zero in a way and with bread thereare inherent built-in boundariesthere’s no leakiness between work andleisure as Josh would say no bringinghome work or ongoing online chatsthroughout the day either while bakingbread day in and day outI felt clearer and lighter than I had ina long time completing my daily tasksgave me a sense of fulfillment again andfeeding people seeing the satisfactionmy loaves could create became addictiveit sounds cliche that bread has been apart of like human civilization forfourteen thousand years or something butyou know there’s some kind of some kindof lineage there to the labor of breadthat let connects you to all that likeearly humanstuff that doesn’t involve sitting infront of a screen for months later mytime in Alaska has ended I’m back in DCand I’m sticking with bread I don’t knowhow long I’ll keep baking or what’s nextand that’s okaylife isn’t linear my detour help merebuild my identity beyond my job titleand disconnect my sense of worth from myproductivity it showed me a differentway to live with boundaries and withbread not Bernayouyouhey NBC News viewers thanks for checkingout our YouTube channel subscribe byclicking on that button down here andclick on any of the videos over here towatch the latest interviews showhighlights and digital exclusives thanksfor watching