After months and months of unrealistic deadlines, pulling late night shifts coupled with an insane commute and two very small children at home I had a total burnout. Turned up to work one morning, and stared at the Java code I had been writing for the past couple of days and it might as well have been written in Martian. The more I stared, and the more I tried to keep things together internally the less I was able to make sense of anything - just a random jumble of characters on screen that were as intelligible as the green scrolling lines from The Matrix.

My office manager saw that I was obviously in some distress and took me into a meeting room to have a quick chat - and there I was, a grown man of 35 bawling my eyes out like a two year old. Not the most edifying moment of my life.

However, the company couldn't have been more supportive afterwards; one of my colleagues drove the 100 miles to get me home in my car and took a train back up to the office; my GP signed me off work for six months and treated me for severe depression; the office instituted stricter working policies - not on the developers, but the sales/PM teams that were handing down ridiculous timescales simply so they could get a sale.

For my part, I've learnt to push back and say "NO!" - work is not your life, it's an important part of your life, but my no means everything. Don't feel beholden to a company to meet unrealistic targets that you haven't agreed to. Talk.

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    @Charon92 Thanks - I should say that this incident was over 15 years ago now; I'm in a much better place mentally and physically than I was as the time. The takeaway from this rant is try not to bottle things up and break yourself to get work done for a company - your personal health and happiness is way more important, but also don't underestimate how much help you can get when you least expect it.
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    Just wow.
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    Don't apologize for bad management. Don't give them any credit. If they were asking you to work over 40 hours a week, they were clearly in the wrong. They can't make up for it by giving you some time off.

    Find a shop that respects the 40 hour work week. That place sounds toxic.
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