The pool of tasks to complete doesn't replenish in software like it does in food service. When you've suitably completed a task and the next task lacks the definition needed to be completed, just read a blog or go on a walk while the other people working with you do their thing to get you in a position to complete the next task.
I used to refactor and try and improve every file I needed to work in, but more and more I've been trying to make as little changes as possible in order to complete my goals. Leaving the code just a bit cleaner in each commit.
Nobody wants me starting code at 3:00 on a Friday. But I can still clean up text just fine.
Stop working so fucking hard on apps/websites/digital junk that helps no one, except by making your boss rich (be it manager, VC, or otherwise).
If you engage in meaningful work, then it is impossible to get burned out for too long.
Stop being a drone. Take a step back and look at the big picture and ask yourself: what am I coding for? Who is going to use this? Will it help anyone in any meaningful way?
What is "meaningful" is up to you. Just make sure it matters to you and own it. Don't let someone else own it and dictate it to you.
Set yourself free, and cast off the 24/7 toxic work culture of SV that's keen on producing useless shit for problems no one has. Don't let yourself be consumed by the entropy emamanting from startup land. You don't have much time on Earth. Don't give it to unworthy efforts and assholes.
My first small business I owned hit every bullet point in my career wants and desires and I burned out pretty hard on it. The constant state of being turned on, dangling the career carrot in front of myself wasn't healthy. I had a bad relationship with my own business.
Even though I enjoyed the work, the compensation was good, and I used my hands creatively, my own expectations weren't matching the reality and I still found myself becoming oddly dissatisfied with the work and becoming overwhelmed by the grind.
I think it's much deeper than just work being meaningful. My wife sits on a phone all day really doing useless work for a large publicly traded company and makes great money and absolutely loves it.
I think it boils down to each their own.
Exactly. I'm a public school teacher, which is something many would consider 'meaningful', and which is, in a lot of ways. I'm burnt-out of it, and actively looking for something different. The kids are little shits most the times, and we've basically just become glorified baby sitters to their parents (I'm in the rural Southern US, in a place with next-to-no culture of education) and rarely pay attention. Too busy trying to sneak their next glance on Snapchat...And then trying to teach them math or science when they don't have the proper requisite knowledge because they've been passed along...Definitely burnout waiting to happen. And it's not just me. It's hit two of my other science teachers this year too.
Hang out where people talk about volunteerism for very long and you'll run into conversations about managing and preventing burnout.
When something matters to you it's easy to overextend yourself. Lots of people join a group for 10-24 months, do lots of useful work and then vanish. The work isn't done, but they are.
I would argue that although this behavior might be considered on the "trolling" spectrum, it's on the benign side of the spectrum, close to the Socratic approach.
Most social workers and medical practitioners get a burnout they never recover from. All that because they cared. Your boss who doesn't care and just runs you down for profit never gets a burnout and enjoys superb quality of life.
In the end, I get paid far more to work on "junk" (cloud infrastructure) and it's orders of magnitude more easy to walk away from it at the end of the day and sleep peacefully over. Maybe it makes my boss far richer than I'll ever be, but I'm happier, my family's happier, and overall I enjoy my life more. So for me, I'm gonna keep being a "drone" (and happily continue to serve my customers that do seem to need these things for whatever reasons they have) because it's easy and sometimes it just beats suffering ever day--even if it's for something you believe in. Maybe I'll find some meaningful "work" in my free time but at that point is it even really work?
I guarantee people working at a beer company are less prone be to burnout than nurses.
Key factors here are stress and independence.
Usually, the work that one is likely to find meaningful pays less, so there is a trade-off.
This trade-off might not seem significant to a single person without any responsibilities, but I'd imagine that people with families to support often simply can't afford it (though in that case the meaning can be found in providing for the family).
Maybe one can also find meaning in well-paid but meaningless jobs by working towards financial independence (FIRE).
I do agree with you on the whole "producing digital junk" phenomenon, though, and of course meaningful work is ideal.
As a veritable army of curmudgeons has pointed out, "that's why they call it 'work'".
That said, when those of us who have the privilege and opportunity to take this advice don't follow it, that's unfortunate.
The American legacy of Calvinism is that you do well by doing good, or working hard. If people work their asses off and there's no payoff at the end... if nobody 'arrives', if it's slaving away until you're old and broken...
Then what's the whole point? Why do we think we are more right than the slackers? Where's the evidence?
Yeah, sorry that doesn't work either(spent many years in gamedev doing what I thought was meaningful work at the time).
You know what prevents burnout? Not working insane hours.
I do full time development work but I'm self taught. When I was hired the company agreed to pay for part of the tuition to get a degree. I'm still a couple years away from completing all the courses, but I just can't handle a lot of the material. Much of it is outdated and a lot is biased based on the instructors past work and experiences. Last year I had to take a class on ASP.NET (web apps, not MVC). The school's introductory database class used MS Access.
I know there are benefits to these from a historical standpoint. Understanding where the technology came from. Access may also be easier for absolute beginners to jump into. Much of it just seems like a waste of my time though since I know these systems have been replaced. Having to work full time _and_ study technology that I know isn't commonly used has worn me down quite a bit. I no longer have the drive to learn that I once did. The obvious answer would be to find a better institution to attend classes, but I have a limited budget to spend on tuition annually and few colleges will allow for the schedule I need to continue working.
Power through it.
Note also, this had nothing to do with difficulty. I hear people say "I love difficult problems" all the time, but interesting yet easy work is far more rewarding to me than boring and difficult.
> Set yourself free, and cast off the 24/7 toxic work culture of SV that's keen on producing useless shit for problems no one has.
IDK man, I like being able to eat. But on a more serious note, that's a much bigger political economic issue than it is an individual one. If we want to change it, we have to act corporately.
I also take issue with the idea that meaningful work makes it impossible to burn out for long. I have been completely bulldozed by meaningful work that both killed my love and investment in what I was doing and left me exhausted and barely sustaining. It took ages to recover. If anything, meaningful work is that much more likely to lead to burnout because of your personal investment in it. In my experience, when you care about what you do you tend to give yourself over to it. For example, 24/7 toxic work culture is pretty much the standard in non-profits because you're there for "the mission".
I’m constantly striving to be the best I can at what I do and sometimes that means burning the midnight oil. That doesn’t necessarily mean working on work related tasks after hours but working on bettering my skills and knowledge after hours so I can have more of an edge in my career and workplace.
> Set yourself free, and cast off the 24/7 toxic work culture of SV that's keen on producing useless shit for problems no one has. Don't let yourself be consumed by the entropy emamanting from startup land. You don't have much time on Earth. Don't give it to unworthy efforts and assholes.
I’m glad that someone said it!
Definitely not true.
In the video he analyzes why people procrastinate and mentions that it is a natural response against oppression. He suggests that the first step against it is to realize that you are a free person and can do whatever you want. He adds a lot of context and examples.
It seems to me that procrastination is one of the symptoms of burnout and that the suggestions Louis mentions in the video may also be helpful when dealing with burnout.
Meditation has helped me immensely to cope with heavy burnout and find a balanced approach to work.
I literally just walked by some guy sleeping at his desk.
I find this site very useful to me, maybe not this one he linked, which really looks like book marketing, but idea of experts recommending books is useful