The alternative to burnout
and I'm not talking about self care
Burnout isn’t even a thing!
That’s the lie I told myself for years.
At various times I was either building products solo or managing a team, sometimes both.
I picked this life and loved what I did.
How on earth could I get burned out?
Occasionally things stack to the point where you feel like you are climbing a rock cliff to deal with the things near the top.
You have a full pack on your back, and the tips of your fingers and feet are the only things standing between you and a broken you.
You muster the strength, put the shit aside, dig in, and focus on what you love: climbing this fucking wall because letting go isn’t an option.
But I let go.
At first, I thought it was depression, but I didn’t feel depressed.
I didn’t want to go to work.
The thought of going in and working on the same problem that had been kicking my ass for months was unbearable.
I was burnt to a crisp.
Ruined bacon and black toast.
So I quit.
I eventually bounced back, but burning out again is something I fear, so I think about it often.
Not doing what you love.
I’m lucky enough to have burned out doing something I love: creating software.
Building something from nothing, that is quite literally nothing, yet does something useful.
Burning out doing something I love is better than never doing what I love.
Is it the way I’m wired?
I’m always all in.
That’s probably my problem.
When I take on a project I own it, it becomes my life, particularly if someone else is paying me for the work I’m doing.
I strive to overdeliver and exceed expectations.
Is the alternative to burnout regret?
Or being a slacker?
No, I don’t think so.
Plenty of people pace themselves, move through life working a job, and never burn out.
I wonder what their secret is?