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Burnout - How it happened to me (geon.github.com)
175 points by geon on Apr 7, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments



People will tell you to take a break or find a hobby - but you may be like me and have to build stuff all the time - so they're not really viable options.

I burnt out in 2001/2 - it took a while to get over it - here are some things that stopped it happening again:

- Don't stress about issues out of your control

- Don't self-medicate with alcohol etc.

- Eat something healthy for everything unhealthy (I now bake a lot of sourdough bread and cure meats which is a hobby I guess)

- Get some exercise, even if it's just 15 mins walk

- Buy the best bed and covers you can afford - and try to get 7h sleep

(it took me 15 years to work these things out for myself)


I agree with all of that.

I noticed an ugly feedback relationship between stress and exercise. When I was stressed, I exercised less. When I exercised less, I was more prone to stress. Ways I broke the cycle: taking an exercise class, scheduling workouts with friends, booking a race so I was forced to train, and picking exercise options that were too awesome to not do. (An example of that last one: my favorite bike ride is across the Golden Gate Bridge and along the coast to a restaurant with good brunch and strong margaritas, followed by a ferry ride home.)

I also discovered that some of where I "store" stress is in muscle tension. Yoga, massages, saunas, steam rooms, hot baths: all reduce my stress level. As a confirmed nerd, I had to learn to ignore the associated woo and the flashbacks to middle school gym class, but it was totally worth it.

My doctor also recommended B vitamins; in particular B100 and sublingual B12 tablets. It definitely seems to help, although I haven't done a blind trial.

Meditation has also been useful to me, but I'm still struggling to find a sustainable way to do it regularly.

More broadly, I'd encourage HN readers to treat it as an experimental problem: Subject Y's stress level is too high, leading to [bad outcomes]. What interventions are most effective at fixing the problem? Every month I pick some things, try them for the whole month, and then see. The ones I'm sure I like, I keep.


I'd add: if you don't feel like working, don't. Sitting there in a cycle of pretending to work and then distracting yourself is worse in every way than just stopping and doing something else.

Even in a single-person startup we often pressure ourselves to conform to some semblance of a normal schedule. But I find myself much more productive with the work-when-I-feel-like-it policy.


I agree. For practical reasons of coworkers and family, we have decided to try a stricter scheduled work day. But it must go both ways; After the scheduled working hours, we shouldn't work.


People will tell you to take a break or find a hobby - but you may be like me and have to build stuff all the time

I too build stuff all the time, but a new hobby is very good for breaking burn out, a lot of developers naturally crave learning, and burnout many times sets in when a developer starts to peak and realizes that learning new things in development take little effort. When you can pick up a new language in a week because you have picked so many up, the learning experience and reward mechanics are dampened to an extent.

For me when I notice the tell tale signs of burn out I set out to learn something completely new. piano, guitar, mechanics, making circuit boards, sewing, welding anything some of them I learn to a moderate level others I go pretty far in, some I drop after the burn out passes others I find that I am extremely interested in. The trigger for me and burn out is lack of challenge in learning so learning something completely new helps. For others it may be different but for me learning something new can snap burn out in as little as 30 days.

As well I am surprised that no one mentioned it but take vitamin D. As a profession that works inside many of us do not get a lot of vitamin D and it plays such a crucial role in depression which burn out is a moderate form of.


People eating healthy food and living a healthy livestyle (outside as much as possible especially during winter, go by foot instead of driving etc.) do not need any extra vitamins at all.

If you need them you do something wrong.

A healthy livestyle improves live much more than superficial vitamins can ever do.


Depends on where you live. There are places like the Pacific NW that get very little sunlight, and going outside during the winter isn't enough to satisfy your Vitamin D needs.


Even worse is the Northeast. 75% of everyone here is Vitamin D deficient.


There are no eggs, seafood or liver in the Pacific NW?


The parent post was saying that the only thing necessary to get enough Vitamin D was to 'just go outside.' I'm failing to see how this validates that premise. Attempting to eat more eggs/seafood/liver to gain more Vitamin D would seem not that far off from attempting supplementation if the only reason that you're eating them is for their Vitamin D content.


If the place you live makes you ill, change it.


Every place on earth has its own endemic health hazards. You're going to need protection strategies wherever you live. As protection strategies go, taking vitamin D pills is unusually cheap, safe and effective.


So for every place on earth a different pill? How about adjusting lifestyle to living conditions? Vitamin D pills are in no way a surrogate for outside activities. Those give you fresh oxygen, nature, exercise, sun and so much more than any superficial pill.


But some places don't have enough sunlight for people to get adequate vitamin D, and some people (pregnant women; people with very pale skin; children under 5) don't get enough time in the sun to get vitamin D.

Combine that with advice (which is perhaps being taken a bit too rigorously by some) to avoid skin cancer and you can understand that a few people are not getting enough vitamin D.

It's great if someone can get 15 minutes of bright sunlight every day. But if they can't there's nothing wrong with a supplement.


Vitamin D is no real vitamin but a hormone. There are risks in overdosage: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17014620

I doubt that there a populated places in the world without 15 min sunlight a day.


People living in Scotland are at risk of too little vitamin D, especially during the winter months, especially if they are fair skinned or if they wear clothing which restricts sunlight (burqas etc).

I agree that overdose is a risk. I'm not suggesting mega dosing with vitamin supplements. I'm suggesting that a few people (the few people who don't have access to 15 mins bright sunlight per day) would benefit from Vitamin D supplements.

EDIT:

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-16255661)

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11355810)


Surely fair skin Helps absorb vitamin D? Do I have it backward?


Fair skin helps absorb vitamin D. But people with fair skin are warned more heavily about sunburn, and they tend to cover up and use sun block.

But you're right, I should have been clearer. People in Scotland (where the sun is only strong enough between April and September) with dark skin are also at risk of not enough vitamin D.


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=vitamin-d-d...

We evolved spending most of our time outdoors for most of our history, only after the industrial revolution and now the information revolution did we gradually work more and more in doors. Vitamin D deficiency is at almost epidemic proportions. Short of switching careers to a road crew, Vitamin D deficiency should be very high on the list of suspects any time the symptoms of any form of depression are observed.


Vitamin D deficiency is a symptom. What is missing is not vitamin D but sunlight. Giving superficial vitamin D is doctoring on ONE symptom not on the cause of multiple deficiencies.

A correct therapy would be for example:

* Do short ways (<2km) per foot. * Do medium ways (< 20 km) per bicycle * Do longer ways as a combination of public transport and foot. * Do programming in parks, outside cafe terrace or in the garden * Get a dog and go with him every day * Start jogging etc.

There are lot of possibilities to change your modern life to a for the human race suitable lifestyle. Swallowing a pill instead of getting sun, fresh air and exercise is one way to burn out.

It takes effort to change your live instead of swallowing a pill and costs more time in the short run, but it extends lifetime and saves illness time. Therefore it saves time in the long run and makes live happier.

"I have not time to hurry", Igor Strawinsky


New hobbies are also extremely helpful when it comes to looking for new things to build. If you pick something unusual enough, you will find areas that could really benefit from a hacker taking enough interest to build something for a while.


> Don't stress about issues out of your control

This has been the number one issue for me. Unfortunately, I haven't figured it out yet. It might be because I'm self employed, and so I have to take responsibility for everything, even the things outside my control.

This led me to consider quitting my company and getting a regular job as an employee. The 9-5 responsibility seemed very attractive for a while.

> Get some exercise, even if it's just 15 mins walk

I find that running helps. I have to focus on my pace and breath so I don't go too fast, or I'll get tired quickly. The constant "right foot, left foot, breath in" etc becomes meditative. There is something about the breathing exercises that actually work.


Agreed with all of the above. For me, the road back all started out with just doing the simple things right: getting to bed on time, exercising, eating healthy. Essentially, starting to reconnect in your mind the idea of effort yielding reward. I wrote about this recently here: http://www.earthtoneil.com/2012/03/restarting-fire.html


Thanks for sharing.

From my own experience, exercise and eating healthy works the best. I feel a lot better, if I change my eating habit to only soup and similarly light self cooked food for a day or two.


I had a really difficult period of burnout in 2010/2011. I was a junior undergraduate, doing Neuroscience and computer science. I had three research positions, I TA'd, I worked as a tutor through the university, and I was completing an honors thesis in Neuroscience. I was obsessed with getting into a top PhD program, due to feelings of personal inadequacy. There was one semester in particular where I overloaded to 23 credits (12 being full-time) in order to graduate on time. I withdrew from friendships - some people thought that I'd transferred or graduated. I routinely worked 16 hour days, including weekends in the lab, and started having health problems that I didn't have time to properly address. Eventually, the quality of my work badly deteriorated. I somehow defended my thesis, and got interviews from several top-50 PhD programs. After flying out and visiting one program for a weekend, I realized that I needed a break from academia, at the very least.

I withdrew from my obligations at university (I had plenty of credits to graduate), and moved to San Francisco. I feel so much more like my old self after a month of programming for fun with friends - my creativity and excitement are back.

My advice: be aware of how you feel about your work. You can only loathe it for so long before it begins to take a toll on you. You're a human, not a machine, and you need to take care of yourself. Exercise regularly and spend time socializing with friends and meeting new people :)


Thanks for sharing that.

Burnout is sneaky. Since it seems to be a condition that accumulates over time, it can take a long time to realize it is happening to you.

I dealt with this exact issue recently. I felt as though the harder I tried to get work done, the harder it became to actually do it. Even thinking about work brought on a sense of dread. It wasn't the fault of my company, or even the job I was doing. I had to deal with a lot of illness and death in my family this year, and combined with the pressure of work, it led me to end up in a state where it felt like I just couldn't get anything done.

So, I resigned two months ago. Trying to work while I seemed to have lost the ability to be productive didn't seem fair to myself or my employer. At first, I wasn't sure that I'd ever want to write another line of code again. I'm just at the point now where I'm interested in working on some side projects to build up a decent portfolio that I can use to start looking for work again. On that note, do any HN readers have favourite meetups in Toronto for developers? I've recently returned here after living in Ottawa, and I'd like to get to know some other devs in the city.

In the end, I feel that even if I have to work a retail job for a while before I end up working as a developer again, I made the right choice. It's hard to put a price on health and happiness. Having been though this once, I now know what to watch our for in the future.


> Burnout is sneaky. Since it seems to be a condition that accumulates over time, it can take a long time to realize it is happening to you.

Analogous to dehydration during exercise. A lot of athletes and coaches will tell you "if you get thirsty, it's too late, dehydration has set in".

Taking in fluids regularly, even if you believe you don't really need them yet, will prevent dehydration — taking regular, significant breaks from work will prevent burn out.


> I felt as though the harder I tried to get work done, the harder it became to actually do it. Even thinking about work brought on a sense of dread. It wasn't the fault of my company, or even the job I was doing. I had to deal with a lot of illness and death in my family this year (...)

Spot on. I had a milder episode of stress in 2008, where economic troubles combined with a very well paying job during a limited time. Naturally, I wanted to work as much as possible while the getting was good.


I think of the best meetups in Toronto is JavaScript Hack Night: http://www.meetup.com/torontojshackers/

I start started running the PHP Software Craftsmanship meetup and if PHP is your bag I'd love to see you come out! http://www.meetup.com/PHP-Software-Craftsmanship/


Thanks for the suggestions! I'll definitely come to the next PHP Software Craftsmanship meetup.


Great piece, very much sharing something very painful from the heart.

Potentially off-topic but I have to say, some of the comments on the actual blog post are horrendous. particularly:-

"You sound like just a weak person."

"You should try farming some time. What you described is what a farmer would think of as 'retirement'"

I've found that sort of nastiness (totally invalid nastiness to boot) extremely distressing. These commenters are fucking idiots who have no idea what they're talking about, passing on their own frustrations to others.

Sometimes I feel like no longer doing anything on the public internet knowing that kind of person lurks out there. Seems to be particularly bad in our profession.

It actually makes me feel like I don't want to admit to my own weaknesses, nor risk making mistakes which might make me look stupid in case the internet tough guy bullies get involved.

/rant


I've been on Reddit a long time. I'm kind of desensitized to harsh and abusive comments.

On the other hand, the comments might be honest. To someone who havent experienced or heard about burnout, it is the expected reaction (minus the resent).

"You sound like just a weak person."

Well, yes. That was the point of my post. The pressure was more than I could handle, and I got sick from it.

"You should try farming some time. What you described is what a farmer would think of as 'retirement'"

I know farming means lots of hard work and little free time. My grandfather was a milk farmer, and could hardly ever get away from home. The cows needs milking every day of the week, early in the morning.

They also are under a lot of stress from events out of their control. Particularly the weather.

The greatest difference might be that farming is not necessarily a very creative field (pun intended). Most of the tasks are rather mindless, while a programmer simply can't produce if the min is not clear.


Those comments reminded me of an episode in The Soul of a New Machine. An engineering manager went on a sailing trip in a thunderstorm. His companions were flabbergasted that he was relaxed and happy. They couldn't imagine what kind of job he had that sailing into a storm was a relief.


Self-employment is very difficult, especially the first time.

When I was working at Apple in 1990 a friend left to start his first business. A few months later he confided in he that he was scared to death, he felt like he was operating "without a net". I naively thought he was being melodramatic.

A year later I left to start my first business. And I felt exactly the same. It was frightening, the phrase "without a net" summed it up perfectly. My friend's reaction hadn't been melodramatic at all. His reaction was perfectly normal.

It may be impossible for someone who has never tried it to understand the emotional challenge of starting a business. That stress is layered on top of all the normal stresses of your work as the sole developer.

And perhaps multiplied further by underestimating the schedule? It's easy to fall into the trap of saying "I will be superman. I will get this done quickly". I've done it 100 times.

Thanks for posting, and be kind to yourself. You'll work it out.


Yes, definitely. The number one thing I tell people who want to go solo is to have plenty of money in the bank so that they can weather the ups and downs without freaking out.

Samuel Johnson captures it well: "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." One normally has more runway than a fortnight, but the feeling is definitely similar.

One related thing that seems relevant: Steve Blank writes perceptively about how a lot of founders have dysfunctional childhoods:

http://steveblank.com/2009/05/18/founders-and-dysfunctional-...

The theory is that if you're already used to living in chaos and being near the edge of disaster, working without a net seems almost reasonable.


Yeh this is mirroring other replies, but the 2 main things for me are:

1. Exercise, I used to run, but I find it much easier to go out for a cycle now, sports are also great

2. Some Perpective, The fact is if you dont finish X library or fix X bug, the world is going to keep spinning, I remember reading somewhere that its a pattern for people to make themselves feel incredibly busy almost entirely due to their ego, when you feel like you just have to get a bunch of stuff done you feel important. I noticed that in myself and when I looked at what I just needed to get done, most of it really didnt matter that much, I am now in the process of learning how to prioritise in a way that doesnt assume 200% of my time


> 2. Some Perspective

Indeed - Stressing out because you failed, for instance, (your own) deadlines is useless. The concept of a deadline is just too abstract for your mammalian brain for the stress to have any useful impact. I used to get very stressed over deadlines, thinking that the stress would help me align better, at least next time.

Turns out that not stressing out had only a single result: I was stressed out less often. Just the thing I wanted to achieve by stressing out more. Brains are weird, but sometimes they are just bloody simple.


Thanks for sharing. I've been through a somewhat similar experience and wrote about it recently, as well as how I got my mojo back: http://www.earthtoneil.com/2012/03/restarting-fire.html

Interest that you mentioned knowing someone who still hasn't recovered after five years. As you'll see from my story above, that was precisely me until recently.

Ultimately, I don't think recovery is just something that happens by taking a few weeks off, or making trivial other changes. You've got to address the root cause of why you're unhappy or it will surface again later.


Thanks for posting this article. I love how you explained strengthening the casual link between effort and reward. I guess that's why I'm such a SEO-freak. I love how the harder you try to build links, and create content, the more traffic you get.. the rules were so simple and SEO was a game I could win!

Then Google Panda came along and took away what I loved most in life =(


The discussion thread about burnout is full of good advice (change food, exercise a lot, etc.) but the key to end a burnout lies somewhere else:

1. There is always ONE cause for the burnout, removing it removes the burnout instantly—it's usually not wrong food or missing exercise

2. When having a burnout, wrong food and missing exercise makes a burnout really worse, they "accelerate" the burn-out, especially alcohol and any other drug; but right food and daily exercise won't remove the burnout—they make the day with a burnout just more bearable which is important to endure the burnout; but the burnout will stay forever even with perfect nutrition and daily workouts if you don't find and remove the real cause

This one cause is often about issues out of your control, about dependencies which cannot be cut, regularly about people and situations you cannot easily escape from/you are dominated by for a longer period.

Identifying this one cause is a problem because after a while burning out everything annoys you and you are not able to track down the real reason anymore. Removing the cause is the hardest part because of strong dependencies (you cannot just stop/quit/leave this situation). That and an unconscious, always present awareness of the hopeless situations lead basically to the burnout.

Easiest cure is changing your situation, totally—meaning to change everything: job, significant other, friends, apartment, etc. Then you make sure you removed the burnout cause as well. But the older you get the harder or rather impossible is a full change because of more interdependencies between potential causes (e.g. job => money => family => significant other => etc.) and/or long-term obligations to yourself and/or others.

Easiest prevention is to avoid dead-lock situations, strong one-to-one dependencies by spreading risk and having always more than one option. If you are already "locked" in a burnout this won't help of course.


Many thanks for sharing your story.

I think this may happen or is even happening to most of us now, many of us are too just scared to admin it in front of themselves. Just like you was.

We live in crazy times. And it's sometimes hard to keep this awarenees that we are just humans living their lives and at end of the day your health, happiness and self-comfort is vastly more important than money, business deals and pleasing others. I don't say the latter are not important but they are less important than you because our live is a one-time experience and it is going to end one day. And still - we know how to produce money but we are helpless trying to extend our lifespan.

I really liked the response of your co-workers, it's good to find them being more friends than just co-workers, isn't it?


This is a great story, thanks for sharing.

Most of it sounds strangely familiar. It took being kicked out of a startup I started just over a year ago for me to start doing something about my burnout - even though I didn't realize at the time that's what the problem was. Guess life sorted it out for me and forced me to get some rest.

These days, what I do is try to make sure I lock myself away from the internet with a good book every couple of days - preferably in a coffee shop devoted just to this shutting off.

It helps.


In retrospect, I too went through a short burnout period. I was the only server engineer in my startup, working 10-12 hours 6 days a week. On top of that, I was leading a personal project to help college student organizations stay more organized. It became too much, as all the little micro-failures just rolled up into a giant ball of frustration and stress.

My bosses at my startup immediately recognized it and told me to take several days off. Since then, I've consistently made personal time everyday to keep my perspective in check: read a book in the morning, workout in the afternoon, meditate for 5 minutes, and leave work promptly after the expected amount of hours.

To get myself back into "beast mode" (which others would call "the zone"), I've done what some other commentors suggested: learn something new. For me personally, I decided to take on essentially low priority micro-projects within my startup that are interesting problems (i.e. integrating DynamoDB within an EventMachine process). I've built up my confidence back to near what it was before, and I'm feeling damn good these days.


There is a different way to interpret these events. I've been through exactly the same thing, so I've thought about this issue a lot. What I've noticed is that this happens to me in the winter but not in the summer. I have started to think that I have some very mild version of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), such that I don't suffer depression but I do suffer a loss of energy.

2 things in his account jump out at me:

>The fall of 2011.... By December, I felt anxiety when thinking about work.

So, this happened to him as the days got shorter.

> Low productivity caused me to try to compensate by > working longer hours, routinely 10-12 hours a day, > with the occasional saturday thrown in.

He doesn't say if he's worked 10-12 hours a day in the past, so we have no idea if this is unusual for him. But for me, 10-12 hours a day is no problem, during the summer. It is murder for me during the winter.

Some hours I've worked in the summer:

1.) Worked 20 hours, slept for 3 hours on the couch in the office, and then worked for 20 more hours. And these were highly productive debugging sessions in which myself and my co-worker felt we made huge progress.

2.) Worked 26 hours straight to get a project ready to show a client. Felt great about being so productive.

3.) Worked 16 hours every day for 2 weeks.

In retrospect, I've realized that I never have these amazing bouts of hyper-work during the winter. Only during the summer. And I suspect the problem is getting more intense as I get older, because I don't recall this pattern when I was younger, or somehow I am so stupid that I went many years without seeing it.

But I see it now. And I am reshaping my work life to account for it. I now know that I can work 60 hour weeks during the summer, but even 40 hours is difficult for me in the winter.


Its called Seasonal Affective Disorder and its why I moved to California.


Even in California I notice the seasonal effects, especially when it gets cloudy. This winter I experimented some with a SAD light (in particular the Phillips GoLite BLU) and better lighting (near a window at work, bed near a window at home, an alarm clock that turns on lights) and it made a big difference for me.


My experience is very similar. I use a "SunRay" lamp, and also take 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 every day. It doesn't completely eliminate seasonal symptoms for me, but makes a huge difference. Also, the more regularly I get exercise, the better.


Season might absolutely play a role for me too. I live in Sweden, where the winter can get very dark. I hated the darkness when I went to school before sunrise, and came home after sunset. When I worked in manfacturing I optimized my light hourss by taking the night shift, so I would go to work just before dark.


I don't like winters too, so I just moved to Florida.


I felt something similar last year, and negotiated with my boss a few months off work. I went travelling round Australia, NZ and SE Asia and completely removed work from my mind. I just returned this week and I'm feeling enriched, refreshed and eager to get stuck into work again.

Time off like this really helps with burnout, I cannot recommend it highly enough.


How long have you been away?


I was away for just over three months (16th December to 1st April)


During the dot com boom days, I sustained an epic burnout. I quit playing hockey and soccer to concentrate on a buddies startup. It was the worst thing I could've done. Within months I was consumed by the work, when the crash came, I was too deep to dig out - like in the article, I knew my sanity was at stake and almost had a nervous breakdown.

I took a job for six month in a totally unrelated industry (a high-end home audio company) and got back to playing sports and working out. It was a slow process, but after six months, I had the itch to get back into the tech world again.

What I realised is that its important to listen to your body. When you ignore those signals, it can start impacting all facets of your life. Also, no matter what, you need to exercise. Run, walk, play sports, it doesn't matter but do something to get those endorphins humming and the blood flowing. It makes all the difference, trust me.


"Another one haven’t fully recovered still over five years later. Take care"

Just curious, what happened to that person? Recurring panic attacks or permanent psychological damage?


Sleeping problems, difficulties to handle stress, tired a lot.


Self-employment can be a very difficult thing to manage in this business. While many of my colleagues have considered moving on from their cushy corporate gigs to working on their own, I've actually taken the leap.

Many who consider self-employment are (rightfully so) concerned about having a sufficient amount of work to make it viable. However, the flip side has to be considered as well -- taking on too much work. It's a candle that burns mentally on both ends, and it has to be managed.

I've been there before, and the feeling of being overwhelmed can strike in a moment. And recovery from those feelings don't come from simply getting things accomplished -- you have to bring your body and mind back to a level of comfort. It takes time.

My advice to others who might feel this is their situation: start by communicating with your customers, tell them what's going on, and try to find solutions that work for both of you. Do it early, don't delay. The sooner everyone understands, the better. You may well be surprised at how supportive the most demanding customers can be. Remember, in the end, a healthy you = a productive you, which means your output has a much greater chance of success.


I've gone through this multiple times. The harder you try to ignore it and push past it, the worse it gets. Keep pushing anyway? You reach a point where you won't even be able to follow the plot of Toy Story 3, much less be productive. You concede to take a break eventually. You get better. You try to make up the lost time by doing twice as much now that you're invincible again? Back to analyzing Toy Story 3 for you!

It bothers me that it can all be explained by a deficiency of some nutrient, say X:

- burnout starts when you're overworking (X gets depleted faster than it gets replenished)

- pushing harder makes it worse (X is getting exhausted)

- taking a break makes it better (X gets replenished to normal levels during this time)

- pacing yourself from then on ensures it doesn't happen again (X isn't depleted fast enough to be exhausted)

X might be vitamin D, or (-1)stress, or (-1)dopamine/serotonin, or any other quantity that plays a role in your fragile body, meatbag.


Sounds like you were working for somebody else rather than youself. Was it a consulting startup? Did the customer force you to use some technology that was a burden rather than a boon? I work at big corp and really the only thing that causes burnout for me is being force fed a technology from on high.


We worked on our own product, but the first customer to use it, and the one to finance the development had some horrible technology.

First of all, we focus on interface, ux, usabillity and design, so we had planned to build a client iPad app for a server backend, developed by a third party. That third party turned out to be completely incompetent, and we had to ditch them half way through to build the backend on ourselves (me, that is) too.

We still had to sync our backend with the clients horrible hack of a CRM. Using a backwards, badly documented SOAP webservice that was only partially implemented.


I feel your pain. It's seems some of the most popular work available is based on some impossible existing code base that some manager wants to make an "interface" for... yet the existing engineers could not even do it. So the manager thinks they can call in a specialist to save the day. Maybe the day can be saved, but if the APIs/Services are unfinished undocumented inconsistent crap then what... We all need a strong radar detector for this kind of work.


Occasionally I feel minor versions of burnout symptoms described in this article, but it's never that serious.

Perhaps the trick is that I exercise daily (usually 30 minutes running) - no exception.


Thanks for the posting. I notice some of the symptoms regarding my current job. Been wondering where my drive went for software development....


Thanks for posting this. I have been having similar feelings recently, and it is always good to know you aren't the only one.




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