I think I am going through burnout.
How do I deal with it?

Joined a startup with crazy work culture in Jan.
Have been working 14 hours a day for months starting march 2020, and even that was only to barely keep up with my colleagues. I have been one of the top performer in my previous jobs.

since the beginning, It always bothered me seeing people working on weekends, and falling behind if I didnt, to not have time for anything else, but I started really hating it a couple of months back.

Work has slowed down a bit now, but I just can't do it. Cant focus and get even basic tasks done. Still getting by with last minute efforts but I hate it!

Dont have the guts to leave the job, but also realise I am not doing enough and will get kicked out eventually anyway.

What can I do, to get over this?

  • 2
    Use your vacation days?
  • 14
    Slow the fuck down!

    If you can't keep up, there's either an issue with deadlines being to tight to begin with - especially if the whole team is at a heavy pace, estimations not being estimations at all but strict deadlines - blame management for this one, or you really aren't doing enough in a day, but I'm thinking it's one of the other here.

    Best course of action is talk to direct manager, see why you are expected to work for such a long time every day. that's essentially 2 weeks work every week - are you being paid for it?
  • 1
    @C0D4 yeah, I raised it with my manager last month, and workload has reduced quite a bit now. problem is I am still not able to focus and get things done. I hate it. It takes lot of self convincing to even start the tasks. I end up doing a shoddy job as a result and then hate it even more.

    I think its both the workload and me losing interest and feeling numb/ kinda frozen.
  • 0
    @NickyBones but taking big time off will only make me fall behind even more.
    and I am afraid I will just end up wasting the time anyway.
  • 0
    @F1973 I agree with imposter syndrome. but a lot of people have it. Is burn out related to that? I can take a week off, but it seems like it will worsen the problem.
  • 2
    @burnout-coder if your trying to compensate for lack of ability, or lack of knowledge, or just lack of performance and throwing more hours into a bucket of goop, then yea burnout is bound to occur.

    Either find a way to break down things into achievable blocks - I'm thinking "features" are one liners for some reason or large pieces of work not broken down properly.
    This will lead to over thinking tasks and carry to much baggage before you get to the next task.

    or find a new project... how ever you do that is between you and your current or future manager.
  • 1
    @C0D4 taks are big, but thats how they roll here. I tried to make sub tasks for myself last sprint but couldn't stick with it.

    I think I have the knowledge / skills for the tasks because I have done similar things before. People just work insane hours/ days here. I struggled to match the motivation initially but tried to keep up and got there after a while.

    Right now, though I kinda dont want to do anything. Cant focus on anything, and struggle to keep up with my own sub tasks and deadlines.

    Maybe I am being lazy, but how do I get out of this?
  • 8
    People regulary working on weekends or doing overtime because of performance comparisons are big red flags and signs of a broken culture. You should leave as soon as you can.
  • 5
    @burnout-coder there's the problem, your last sentence.

    "Struggle to keep up with my own tasks and deadlines"

    The estimates are wrong for the work at hand, especially if your working 14 hour days to make up for the massive under estimation that has to be going on.

    If you're responsible for the estimations, increase them.
    If management is responsible, talk them down of their high horses.
    Otherwise, there's room in another company somewhere that won't kill you from stress.
  • 1
    @F1973 I love working hard... but then again, I compensate for it by sometimes hardly working.

    And OP, whatever it takes to avoid burnout, do it. Quit your job if you can't just slow down or take some time off w/o it biting you back in the future... Nothing is worth going through a full-blown burnout, trust me on that.
  • 0
    It sounds like you need to walk away from them. Cultures like this will only lead to harm such as burnout (especially with the number of red flags I've seen from your post).
  • 3
    Tell your boss you're taking a vacation. Don't ask for one. You can. Give him/her the reason.

    When you come back, don't work more than 8 hours a day for a while, anyone asks questions, tell them you have normal day to day stuff to do, like going to grocery store or taking care of the kids, make something up.

    Then to help you get back on track, break your tasks into smaller tasks so that you accomplish something during the day. Doesn't matter if it's small, you accomplished something, feel good about it.

    Don't bother comparing yourself to those other guys, they'll catch on soon enough that days longer than 8 hours aren't sustainable. They'll get burnt out too.

    Also, get out and exercise if you aren't already. Helps work out that frustration.
  • 1
    @burnout-coder You are burnt out already.

    Between the lines you show every symptom of an early burn out/depression. A lot of times it's a mix.

    Are you maybe sleeping more or taking random naps? Lost interest in hobbies you liked before?

    Maybe I'm wrong but please, take some time off and if you can, get help. If you continue like this, things will get worse. Even if you only do the stuff absolutely necessary at work, your mental state will not get better.

    I've been there. Quit. Now.
  • 1
    @ExGetMessage exactly.

    Trust us, we've been there. I've been there twice, and where you at now, a few times more. For your own sake, quit before there's no turning back and recovery takes years rather than months...
  • 2
    thanks everyone for your advice.

    I am looking into taking time off for now. And work on myself for a bit. If it ends up making the problem worse then be it!

    atleast I would have tried something.
  • 2
    Work is not a race or a game. Work the time you have agreed to, no matter what you do or don't get done. It's not worth it to lose your life over work.
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