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Are You Working Hard - And Near Burnout?
Take A Break Before YOU Break ...
June 28, 2016

By Rob Marley
Voice Actor

You know that if you want to get ahead in the voice over business (or any business, really), you need to be passionate and absorb as much knowledge as you can.

Lately I’ve been doubling-down on my efforts. I’ve been contacting production companies and advertising agencies. Sending out auditions to my agents the moment I get them, listening and taking notes on webcasts, listening to coaching sessions on MP3 as I drive, reading books about voice over and the industry (out loud whenever I can to improve my cold-reading skills), and in general being a sponge for all things voice over.

The problem is that you can't keep that kind of pace up for too long before you burn yourself out!

Eventually you’ll start to resent doing these things and get angry when success doesn't happen overnight like you think it should. And when that happens, you’ll start to slack off - Do less. Give up. 

Apathy leads to stagnation, which leads to even less success, which leads to even more frustration. It's a vicious cycle that’s hard to break out of.


So with that thought in mind, I stepped away from the microphone last week to attend a party in honor of the group of safety volunteers I’m a part of.

I got to jump into a pool and catch up with old friends while sipping frozen margaritas. I discussed emergency procedures with caregivers and rescue personnel. I ate some amazing food cooked by a chef friend of mine and talked about cooking techniques and flavor combinations. I chatted up (and was chatted up by) some very attractive people wearing very little clothing.

I also mentioned to a few people that I am a voice over artist, and that discussion might actually lead to future work for me.

I laughed, swam, and got to be the suave, epicurean, bon-vivant raconteur I love to be.

And after that? I was moderately tired, somewhat sore and overwhelmingly happy with the opportunity to embrace life with people I love and admire. Ready to go back into my quiet little soundproofed box and continue the process of marketing, training, learning, practicing and improving my skills as a VO to help businesses shape and deliver their messages to the world.


It's important to be focused on your career path, but equally important to stop and smell the roses along the way. You need to find time to recharge the batteries so you can keep moving forward to achieve your goals. 

Doing so helps you to appreciate the small things, quit obsessing about the petty things and pay attention to the big things.
A Los Angeles native, Rob Marley is an accomplished voice talent, producer and writer, now living in the hill country of Austin TX.


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Comments (4)
Rosi Amador
6/28/2016 at 12:32 PM
Yes Rob! Thank you for writing this. A while back I wrote my blog post about this very topic - "Reclaiming Rest and Play" ( to remind myself and all of our fabulous VO community to nurture ourselves even as we do our best at growing our careers.

I still fall prey to the very routine you're mentioning 'cause I'm a VO nerd and it's so seductive to just work, work, work and feel like I'm making progress, but especially in the summer, Brian and I give ourselves license to take some additional breaks. Here in Boston, summer doesn't last terribly long, so you have just got to seize the proverbial moment.

Thank you for reminding us all to connect. I've decided to volunteer for a nature organization locally this summer so it'll pull me away from the microphone every now and again. I'm very grateful for your reminder to practice what I preach :)
Howard Ellison
6/28/2016 at 10:12 AM
You're right, Rob.

My brother in law works in a totally different self-employed field from mine.
Often he will have his feet on the desk, staring into space. But actually that's when he gets his great ideas, not when he's running about or yapping on the phone.
Then, come the weekend, he's on his boat with his wife. No email.
His own boat, yes! And three or four vacations a year. He earns far more than I do, and knows how to chill.

I wouldn't swap our occupations for anything, not even for a boat and those scantily clad friends you mention, but I do see a lesson to learn.

Meanwhile, back to the padded cell.
Debbie Grattan
6/28/2016 at 10:10 AM
Very good advice, Rob. And something that most working MOMS have already figured out, and had to implement, to keep our sanity. Not to say that there aren't times when it all gets overwhelming, but sometimes it's good to realize that life is out there, even when there are auditions, jobs, marketing, etc. that need to be done.

It's NEVER all might as well enjoy the whole experience, and celebrate even small victories when they come.

Another thing I've learned to use: delegation! Make sure your time and talent is used where it's needed most, and not on tasks that could easily be handled (even for a small fee) by someone else.
Ted Morrison
6/28/2016 at 9:12 AM
Great advice, thanks Rob!
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