WEC: Tackling eventprof burnout

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WEC: Tackling eventprof burnout

By Michael Pinchera | May 8, 2024

Naomi Tucker provides an early look into her May 22 WEC session, “Event Industry Burnout—We’re Putting it ALL on the Table.”

We’ve all heard anecdotally about event professionals leaving the industry when businesses were shuttered early in the pandemic. Those career moves may have been driven by economics, but to what extent, if any, do you think the stress and workload experienced by professionals in this industry played and may continue to play a role?

Many event industry businesses were massively impacted during the pandemic, and many careers as a result. One thing that many professionals didn’t anticipate is how those slower times allowed them to become aware of their circumstances and what really matters to them.

When we are experiencing constant stress and responding to challenges every day, it rarely allows much time to be in a higher state of thought about our happiness and aspirations. Event professionals had to grab hold of those precious moments that they gained from that challenging time, while adding back in “business as usual.” Many professionals are different from experiencing such a traumatic event, and adding back the same stress and workload onto event professionals only compounds the stress that they experience daily.

“Event planner” is consistently ranked among the most stressful jobs. From your perspective, do you think that’s changed in the past five years? If so, how?

I would imagine that we are still ranked among the most stressful jobs. In a way, it may have gone up a notch. It’s great that the event industry came back—and it came back with a vengeance. However, not everything was equal. Many professionals shifted into new positions, and we had a new wave of talent enter the industry. With so much shifting, there are also the training and staffing challenges that come with that. This causes a stress on the entire industry that wasn’t there before.

With the pandemic, there was the Great Resignation, where people massively resigned from their jobs, and then The Great Regret, where many of them thought twice about those decisions, and now many industries are experiencing what is now being termed The Great Burnout. I believe burnout is the epidemic that many are experiencing now in our industry, so I don’t believe that the ranking has changed.

Do you think meeting/event professionals pay enough attention to their own mental health and that of their peers?

There’s been an increase in awareness of the impacts of mental health in the last few years, which has been great. Because of that awareness, businesses and meeting and event professionals now encourage and practice self-care much more than they did before. There’s still a lot of work to do in this area. Many times, self-care comes as a reaction to the stress that one is experiencing. Ideally, we need to reduce our stressors in the workplace, as well as practice self-care proactively. When we can do this, then we will experience more of a wider impact of stress relief.

What’s your go-to stress relief? What actions do you take to help avoid professional burnout?

I have several things that put me in a happy place. Going out for a nice easy hike on a beautiful day, being able to hang out with good friends—listening to music and dancing is always my favorite, anytime. The actions are to always be intentional about the time that you have. Do something every day in favor of your self-care. Get in relationships with others that care about you and your well-being. And as a burnout prevention coach, I also have a coach to help encourage, motivate and inspire me to reach the goals that I aspire to.

What do you hope attendees take away from your session?

I hope attendees take away that they are not alone in this journey in the stress and high-pressure situations that they experience in the event industry, and that from the conversation they will have practical takeaways that they can use to ease the burn, and move onto their next steps. I’m hoping that by putting it all on the table, they walk away uplifted, motivated and get a glimmer of passion back for the industry that they love. 

Naomi Tucker is also a recent guest of MPI's EVENTalks podcast. Listen to that episode as she and Khris Baizen discuss inclusivity, burnout and more!



Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera, MPI's managing editor, is an award-winning writer and editor as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997.