I had arrived early and was enjoying coffee with the bartender – an early night ritual while the band arrives and gets the stage set up. Tonight a lone woman arrives and orders a drink to bide the time before the music starts. She is pleasant, but I sense stress or troubles. When I learn that the last time she had visited the club was more than three years ago I chide her in a good-natured way. She tells me her job is stressful and that it sucks the motivation from her to do much of anything. I ask… She tells me she’s a social worker. Has been for 16+ years. She’s seen a lot… horrible things that people do to each other, children abused, desperate situations… She admits that she’s not liking people much lately. She’s feeling burned out, which gets me thinking that it would be wonderful if people-intensive service professions had built-in paid sabbaticals. Work six years and get six months off to recharge before returning to work. My advice for getting by: escape to jazz… frequently. The club fills up, thanks in part to two lively groups of eight. The quintet was well into their version of the Thelonious Monk jazz standard, Blue Monk, when a regular lone wolf nods his good-bye as he departs. “Say hi to your father,” I say. Several weeks earlier I had stopped him on the way out and asked why he always leaves well before the first set is done. “I need to get up early tomorrow for my daily call from my dad—he’s in his 90’s, still lives on his own, and calls to let me know he’s still alive.” Very cool… and very jazz like.