This is not depression. This is reality.
Most people work at making things they don't care about, and serving people they don't care for.
And yet they're expected to put on a cheery face at work and at all the disgustingly fake work parties and cheerleading sessions, kiss up to the boss, and give a shit that their company is making x% more or less widgets this month.
I suppose it's good that he's found a way to put up with the cognitive dissonance a bit longer before he suffers a full-fledged nervous breakdown, but from another prespective it's pretty sad.
Ideally, of course, we should all find work that's fulfilling and meaningful for us. But that's easier said than done.
The vast majority of people I've met who chronically hate what they are producing (and please understand I'm not saying this is true in your case, but it is worth introspecting) believe they are better than the people using their software. These engineers tend to be brilliant but difficult to keep focused on the user. Personally, if you (generic, not gnosis :) aren't passionate about my users, you don't work for me. My users are too important to me to allow just anybody to write code for them, no matter how much of an artist that developer is.
That differs from the micro-burnout mentioned in TFA. I have experienced that and the best way I've found to deal with that is by communicating with my users. For me, that's what makes the pre-release startup days the most difficult: no users to talk to yet.
And even when I have met the people I'm serving, they very rarely even make it to the level of acquaintance. They're just a face, someone I talked business with, someone who wants to make money off me, or get me to fix their problem and nothing more. I'm just an expensive tool for them.
Why should I really care whether whether their stupid website is down or their connection to the stock exchange is broken and they're losing millions every hour?
Of course, if I get paid for it, I might stick around. And might even pretend that I love fixing their worthless crap or making their inane widgets. But if you really think that beyond this mask I'm putting up on for you, deep in my heart I really give a shit, you are deluded.
With the exception of a handful of very lucky individuals who actually enjoy their work and care about what they do, I think the work world is full of fake people, and to make it there you have to be fake as well (unless you really are soul-dead and don't mind that you are wasting your life doing meaningless crap).
Actually, thinking back on it, I did used to enjoy what I was doing, when I was young and the entire work world was new to me and the places I was going to and the things I did seemed glamorous and exciting. But that quickly wore off, and it became just another day at the office, for which I had to drag myself out of bed for, despite getting paid very well for the trouble.
This along with the parent immediately brought to mind one of my favorites of Demming's 14 key points:* "12a: Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality."
While that was meant more for line workers than knowledge workers, the basic concept is pretty much the same: if you can't take pride in what you're doing, you won't do it as well as you could. As somewhat of a perfectionist I struggle with overdoing this, but it drives me to depression when I have to work with apathetic folks who don't care how the end product turns out.
You have a good day at a gaming company and you feel like "I did something very fun today and at the same time made the lives of a bunch of people more fun. This is great."
You have a bad day and you feel like "Stupid games. Stupid gamers. I'm wasting my life."
Both feelings are legitimate interpertations of the exact same work situation. What he's trying to teach us is how he attempts to turn one of those into the other.
I, for one, have the same issue all the time and I really liked his advice on how to deal with it.
If you don't have contempt for your customers, you won't get burnt out as often.
Of course, if he still believes his customer base was 'stupid', I guess that's another thing entirely...
His "optimal behavior" might be to quit and get another job. Or opt out of the rat race entirely.
If you read his e-mails on the e-mail list, you can tell he puts a lot of work into it. I doubt he could do that unless he truly cared about AppSumo and the customers.
I don't know Noah, but it sounds like that's why he killed off Gambit and dived into AppSumo.
Whatever the root cause is, at the end of the day it's something that prevents him from noticing the typo on the AppSumo front page, so the level of detail of self-examination in the post seems to be somewhat opposed to the level applied to the mechanics of the business itself.
Are they fixed already?
This guy doesn't know what stress and depression is, yet I'm supposed to read his lecture on dealing with it? Stress is not knowing if you'll wake up after surgery and see your baby girl again. Depression is being on the wrong side of the >10% unemployment rate. This guy is suffering "micro-burn-out" because life is too good, he's bored of his hobby, and a half-dozen people said "no" two hours after a mass email blast.
No. Stress is seeing your best friend's brains splattered all over you in a firefight in which you lose your arms and legs. Stress is being the victim of a serial killer or rapist. Stress is spending your entire life in jail. Stress is living through the genocide in Rwanda. Stress is being waterboarded ever day at Gitmo, despite being innocent, and being locked up there without a trial for the rest of your life.
There are always people worse off than you, and compared to whom your troubles are nothing. Does that mean that what you feel is worthless? That it isn't worth mentioning? That you should "just deal with it" and be thankful you weren't a prisoner at Auschwitz instead?
I get a chuckle reading reddit.com/r/firstworldproblems, but some of those things do annoy me. I don't go around complaining about it, but it'd be a lie to say that I go without want in my privileged life.
Where do you draw the line?
First world problems are still problems. It doesn't trivialize the crap that most of humanity still has to deal with, but it doesn't mean that we can't improve how we do things. And given how many small, annoying little things everyone has to deal with on a daily basis I think that we'll still be improving things for decades to come.
But would even you, who's gone through such trauma, find it very difficult to name someone even less fortunate than yourself, someone who's gone through an even worse ordeal?
Anybody that puts a lot of effort into something only to have everyone else drop a big steaming deuce on it is going to be affected by it. His post was just about how he deals with that particular aspect of business.
I see no reason to begin an armchair psychoanalysis of the guy or his life.
> It took 6 months to get that deal and we just emailed 70,000 AppSumo.com customers and 6 whole buys two hours after the email went out.
The phrasing there implies that the effort required to arrange the deal wasn't trivial.
Of course you'll assume that. You hate him already, why not assume whatever you feel like to further your agenda?
This guy doesn't know what stress and depression is
Yes, like assuming this too. Do you know that? Have you met him?
Does your comment have a point other than hatred and derision? Other than posturing and oneupmanship about how much harder your life is?
I'm trying to take refuge from products like those, not get pitched on more of them.
I don't read the emails or the landing page copy. I usually see which product is being offered, find their real product page, and read that. If it's something I want, then I buy it.
Marketing is marketing, and I'll never begrudge a company for it, but copywriting techniques are just part of increasing conversions. The bigger part is knowing your audience.
Fortunately a mere superficial resemblance. This article has come at the right time for me, I have been feeling a little of this recently. I see other people talking about burnout and they've been in the game for decades ... I kinda felt guilty that I feel a bit like this only having been out of uni a couple of years, not doing anything particularly significant. It's good to know that there are other people out there feeling this way on a smaller scale as well.
Often the best thing that comes out of these articles is not the actual advice, but simply the recognition that there are other people out there going through the same stuff. It's so natural to feel that one is alone and unique in ones emotions, however statistically unlikely this may be.
It is the human condition to feel alone, but articles like this can head it off, at least for a while.
I agree that some of them are just versions of the "time, relaxation, hiring and pacing yourself" that he described as the solution to regular burn-out.
I go through this as well, and I can totally relate to how getting sales notifications in my inbox can make or break the day's mood.
But I do take time off, frequently to do things like boating, going to Disney World, and the beach. It buys a bit of energy, but not much.
So for me, taking time off is a generic approach that's easy to recommend, but not especially effective.
And from the article:
> For me, most of the time it stems from seeing our daily sales numbers.
Both of you seem to miss the obvious solution: don't check your sales numbers so often.
In the world of professional poker, the effects of variance are well-documented and understood. It's possible to play ideally for a day, a week, or even a month and lose money.
There are several coping mechanisms to deal with this. A common one is to simply check the account balance less often, on a regular schedule.
If looking at sales numbers is ruining your day, do it once per week. A day or two of bad sales could be due in part to simple variance, and by applying micro-corrections too frequently, you could be failing to see the forest for the trees.
So, what is effective for you re inspiration/recharge of energy?
It might not be welcome here, but listening to this guy: http://lamamarut.org works very well.