I've spent the whole year being burnt-out due to work. It's a bit scary that I only seemed to realize a few months ago when all the warning signs were there. Now I'm really just left with the consequences and trying to get my head back above the water. Happy new year!?
For 2018, my personal life suffered pretty poorly from the burn out. Given the human life span is about 80 that's 1.25% of my life (1.7% of my adult life) that wasn't as great as it could have been, as it should have been. Throughout the year I struggled with my weight, stress, and depression as I felt like I wasn't able to deliver the results that I should. At my worst, I was extremely irritable. And I forgot about my hobbies as I had no motivation to do anything. And of course, all of that also took a toll on my partner and our relationship.
I began a weird, unhealthy, cycle of consuming food. I would skip breakfast and lunch most days. Then on days that I wasn't feeling particularly great at work, I would go to the grocery store and buy a ton of junk food and eat or drink until I couldn't stomach anymore.
Feeling inadequacy at work brings a lot of stress home which ultimately lead to depression. I was worried, what if I got kicked off the team because I wasn't able to deliver results? How long would it take for me to recover so that I could find a new job (PS: recovery is quick, get out of whatever situation you're in!) and worrying about the mortgage if things did get that bad (anxiety never lets me sleep).
This is the big one for me. The one thing that looking back, I should have know I wasn't me. I had become extremely irritable and to some extent paranoid. I hate thinking about the different instances where my irritability changed who I was. I'm happy to be back to myself! Still cynical though.
I completed maybe one to three tasks on my hobby sprint board for 2018 after it really hit me (team reorg, below). The last one I can remember, was to get the car ready for a track day that I agreed to go to with a friend. So not exactly under my own determination.
Promo Grind 2017
I started off my 2018 year finalizing and celebrating my promotion. It was a long road full of sleepless nights and grinding teeth (something I had never had an issue with before). Amazon was trying something a bit new during my promotion cycle: having the employee write the promotion document and get it 'peer reviewed'. This was better than the old way of everything being behind closed doors, but it put a lot of stress on me to fight for my promotion and meet the deadline so I didn't have to wait four months for my next chance. But with less than 24 hours to make it in the cycle, it was through.
In order to celebrate, I went to Japan for two weeks. Visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka. It's been a childhood dream to go and visit, and it was great.
But as soon as I come back from Japan: the team that I was supporting, but not directly on, was being reorged. I decided to not go with them and to stay with my current org and manager. But then I had to be placed on a new team, with very little say in where I wanted to go.
I had been working as an SDE-T for almost a year and a quarter at this point and was being shifted around to teams that needed me the most every few months. Over the year and a half that I was an SDE-T I was on three teams, but switched between two of them a few times. I was effectively on a new team every six months. This led me to not feel productive since I was always stuck in a "ramp up" phase. And that was really hard for me. One of the things that I was known for before was delivering results faster than expected (without sacrificing quality).
Saving Myself 2019
Here is what I'm doing to make sure 2019 is about me, about enjoying life, and not feeling stressed at work and bring that stress home.
- I've shifted back to the SDE role so I can stay on a single team and feel like an effective member of that team.
- I've joined a team that has similar core-beliefs as me about writing maintainable code, not taking shortcuts, and giving the customer the best experience possible.
- I'm naturally getting back into my hobbies as I feel better, but I'm also trying to set goals and "force" myself to do them. In the past week I've: installed new smart switches at home, installed a new module / electrical work on my motorcycle (R3), and started doing some body work prep for my car (Miata).
- And getting to spend quality time with my partner instead of always being stressed out and thinking about work. Though now the roles are reversed, perhaps she'll be the first one to find solace through these words.