Burned-Out Gaming Employee Stop, Reset With Ocean Pictures

  • Daina Buchner give up her tech job at a gaming firm final 12 months over burnout considerations.
  • Buchner, 39, now spends her days capturing movies and photographs of ocean animals together with her drone. 
  • The transition was robust, however it gave her time to rethink her relationship with work and productiveness.

Work can devour your life, a lot in order that it will possibly result in burnout. 

That’s the reason Daina Buchner, a former tech employee based mostly in San Diego, determined to depart her job  — one she stated she cherished — at a gaming firm to concentrate on certainly one of her favourite pastimes: spending time within the ocean. 

When Buchner, 39, wasn’t working, she would moonlight as an underwater photographer, ocean videographer, and a licensed drone pilot — hobbies which have grown into ardour initiatives over the past 5 years. Buchner’s thirst for immortalizing aquatic life has led her into the hidden depths of the ocean. She has snorkeled within the kelp forest of California’s Channel Islands and has explored marine habitats in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands by boat.

All through her adventures, she has captured pictures of a child harbor seal falling asleep, a grey whale calve swimming together with her child by her facet, and a winking manatee underwater. 

Leaving her job gave Buchner extra time to spend with ocean critters. However regardless of the robust transition, Buchner stated she is now beginning to see her burnout disappear and is making an attempt to undertake a more healthy strategy to work-life stability. 

daina buchner touching a whale

Daina Buchner touching a whale.

Courtesy of Daina Buchner.

‘Finally, I simply hit a wall’

Buchner’s resolution to take a sabbatical was years within the making. Across the finish of 2018, Buchner, who was engaged on a analysis mission associated to person expertise, stated she discovered herself working 50 to 60 hours every week, together with weekends.

The interval led to burnout, which Buchner described as “psychological exhaustion.” As soon as dwelling, all she wished was to mentally take a look at by binging Netflix and scrolling via social media for hours. Family members observed and advised her she regarded stressed. 

All of it got here to a head in 2020 when the pandemic hit and she or he broke her foot. After taking time to get surgical procedure and heal, she stated she returned to work “bodily and mentally exhausted.” On the identical time, she stated she needed to change course on a mission she was engaged on for years in a matter of “weeks or months.”

Her staff was working arduous and doing nicely, she stated. However at that time, the burnout began to essentially kick in. She powered via her psychological exhaustion considering that it could solely be short-term, however the grind by no means stopped. 

“Finally, I simply hit a wall,” Buchner stated. She determined to go on depart in July of final 12 months.

“I spotted that I simply wanted to take a breather, and concentrate on myself, my exterior pursuits, and the shut relationships I’ve in life with my household and pals,” she stated.

Daina Buchner's photo of whale

A whale underwater.

Courtesy of Daina Buchner

Buchner stated the primary few months have been robust. She stated she felt “cycles of hysteria” round funds as she needed to dip into her financial savings and readjust her funds.

“Once I first give up, I used to be like, ‘Oh, my gosh, like, did I simply blow up my complete profession?'” she stated. “What if I want to return? What if I’ve a tough time discovering a job? What if I am destitute on the streets after this? Did I simply blow up every thing that was all that was good in my life?”

The sudden change of tempo was additionally jarring. There was no sense of urgency to do something, she stated. 

“I went from going at 110 miles energy per hour to a screeching halt,” she stated.   

Buchner spends most of her days ‘staring on the open ocean’ and has landed some gigs alongside the way in which

Buchner — an skilled drone pilot and ocean diver who beforehand vacationed in locations the place she may dive — spent her newly discovered free time capturing photographs and movies of marine wildlife. She posted the clips of humpback whales and sea turtles on Instagram, an account she began 10 years in the past, and TikTok, which she made initially of the pandemic.

Daina Buchner underwater

Daina Buchner scuba diving with sea lions.

Courtesy of Daina Buchner.

As Buchner’s recognition within the ocean neighborhood grew — she now has nearly 90,000 mixed followers on TikTok and Instagram — folks and firms started to achieve out, asking to license her movies. She helped seize footage for an episode on the Discovery Channel present “Nature in Focus,” labored with the Ocean Conservancy on a marketing campaign to assist increase cash for analysis to affect conservation coverage, and licensed movies to a handful of documentaries and mini-series centered on the setting. 

Most days are spent “staring on the open ocean” ready for a glimpse of an animal like, say, a spout of a whale, so she will be able to fly her drone over the animal to seize its conduct. Relying on the velocity of sure animals, she stated some days really feel meditative whereas different days will be adrenaline inducing.

The objective of this work, she stated, is to assist viewers “create a connection” with marine animals and spotlight among the challenges they’re dealing with, resembling plastic waste contamination. 

On depart, Buchner now spends roughly 5 hours every day flying her drone on a seaside or a ship in San Diego and trimming her movies; she spends one other 10 to fifteen hours every week engaged on her social media pages. 

Daina Buchner's aerial shot

An aerial shot of the ocean taken with a drone.

Courtesy of Daina Buchner.

Quitting taught Buchner to ‘sit and revel in’ the current second

Greater than six months after leaving her job, Buchner stated she is rethinking her strategy to work.

Buchner discovered she had the tendency to dedicate all her time and vitality right into a mission. It’s why she felt the necessity to spend “each minute of day-after-day” being productive. Now, she is ready to “sit and revel in” no matter she’s doing, whether or not that is studying a e-book or binging Netflix. 

Her most important realization, nevertheless, was how inflexible she had been in her lifestyle. Just like the ocean’s climate patterns, she discovered that it’s unimaginable to plan for every thing and that regardless of the unpredictability of life, every thing will prove okay. It is a mindset that Buchner stated she will be able to apply to her job.  

Whereas Buchner loves her ocean conservation work, she does not intend to pursue it as a full-time profession anytime quickly. She makes “some cash” from it, she stated, however it does not change the revenue she was making in tech, neither is it sufficient to pay the payments. 

“I do not know if it will essentially flip right into a full-time factor,” she advised Insider. “However I feel, if something, it is all the time going to be part of my life.”