Are you really burnt out?

Are you really burnt out?
Kings and Pawns

The harder I work, the sooner I get to be king!
(source)

I recently read John Sonmez’s post on The Hacker News Generation.  I find articles like this interesting.  As I read it, the same thought comes screaming through:  WHY?

I wrote to John privately asking him this:  Why write an article like that?  What is the intention?

Regardless if you agree or not, I find articles like this either confirm or infuriate your point of view.  For me, it’s the same as arguments for Gun Control.  Both sides can argue all the reasons to (increase / decrease / whatever) guns, but who’s opinion are you trying to convert?

How many times have you seen a person walk away from a discussion saying “Wow!  I never thought of it that way, you are right!  We really should _______”.

It just doesn’t happen.

 

For me, the real problem with discussions like this is that they can be taken the wrong way.  Take this comment.  The author’s point is that burn out is real.  And his proof is a link to an articles of horrible consequences.

In John’s article, Iris Classon posted a response with a similar point of view.  I don’t have a science background, and I accept that “burn out” is a condition.  But when I read comments such as:

After two devastating meetings with potential partners, I remember coming home one day, climbing to bed. And not getting up for 6 months.

 

I am blatantly paraphrasing, in the preceding paragraphs Iris describes she is in a career that she is passionate about, but there isn’t enough work.

But I have to push back – two devastating meetings?  Two?

Then she continues:

But without my background in therapy, both as a patient and medical professional, I wouldn’t have made it out alive from the burnout- and found the dream I am leaving today. That I am 100% sure of. And my hat goes off to those that also dared to follow their heart and passion, even if failing miserable once or twice. I believe in choosing to make something a part of your life, without it being your whole life, and loving what you do and the people involved as much as you can allow yourself to do. For some people it’s what they do that is most important (in software development the task itself is considered the number one motivation, with social aspect being second), for others it’s purely the human interaction. And some just want to work 8-17 and go home. The second group is at a significant higher risk of being burned out, when intrinsic and extrinsic factors are there.

The choice is theirs. Ours.

And we shouldn’t judge people on those choices, because:

1. We do not have all the facts

2.One day you will be standing there

3.Generally I don’t recommend giving people a push when they might be standing on the edge

 

Failing miserably once or twice?

But here’s the real problem with her argument:  We shouldn’t judge because we don’t have all the facts.

Fair point, but:

  • You’ve put yourself out there (you wrote the article)
  • You have said we don’t have all the facts – but again, it’s your article.  Why not give us all the facts?
  • Maybe we shouldn’t judge, but people do.  That’s reality

 

Where is the personal responsibility?  There’s plenty of examples of many many “miserable” fails.

 

What Iris didn’t mention (and I’d love to know!):

  • Why did you choose to work in the dietetics industry in the first place?
  • I’m sure you felt “burnt out”.   But at what point in time did you notice things weren’t working out the way you had hoped?  Was it really after the second devastating meeting?  Was there really no warning signs earlier?

 

To be fair, and answer my own question – why write this?

  • Accountability is very important to me.  I don’t care what you say you will do, but once you’ve said it, you need an fantastic excuse / reason for not doing it.
  • The discussion to date feels awfully one sided.  I’m suggesting an alternative.

But that’s just me.  What do you think?

1 Comment

  1. Great post. Thanks for the shout out to Mixergy

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