How do you deal with burnout?

I've been working 50-80 hour weeks for the last 10 years, without any real holiday.
I kinda feel I may be irredeemably burned out now.
I know it's not a healthy situation but i'm still looking out for a healthy solution, or at least a way to survive it.

  • 5
    See a professional therapist. Maybe take some kind of sabattical leave, if you can afford to.
  • 5
    Yikes! That's a serious state. I'm not surprised you're burned out.

    Its obviously difficult to advise without knowing the specifics of your circumstances but by the sounds of it, you need to start somewhere. You need to do a review of many things... (there are books about these things but I can't remember names to hand and probably not helpful at this stage)

    1) In a given day, what do you do that you don't need to do?
    2) Is there anyone who can help you with the tasks you do need to do?
    3) Do you have any responsibilities or roles you can give up?
    4) Are there any tools to manage or automate time consuming things?

    Often, we will need to be ruthlessly honest about how much we do, how much we say "Yes" to and the effect it has on us. Living an unsustainable life is no fun - you're missing out on so much of what the world has to offer.

    Also, consider that "workaholism" is actually a real thing and that professional help may not be a bad idea.

    Hope you get some direction. I write this as someone who has suffered but thankfully recovered from burnout and now has a more manageable load in my life.
  • 5
    Can't believe you have been doing that for 10 years 😯 Never sacrifice your health for a goddamn job
  • 2
    I took a four year break from programming during which I opened a chain of restaurants. I only came back when I started thinking about creating software all day long.
  • 1
    @configurator Heh, I wish something like that was an option.
  • 2
    @garrwolfdog a short term coping mechanism for me when I've been going for 7 days is to sleep an hour at lunch.

    I'm a freelancer (in London too) so a power nap is doable. But generally being around people shuts down the analytical mind and puts out the flames.

    Is your social circle healthy?
  • 0
    @kunashe I'm a freelancer too, but i'm usually onsite in the client's office, so even finding a moment of privacy is usually out of the question.

    My social life is kinda non-existent these days; I guess I meet up with people socially once or twice a year maybe?
  • 0
    @CrankyOldDev I always kinda assumed anyone who was a workaholic would actually like their work :-/

    I'm a freelancer so I'm never really in a position to automate much or delegate responsibilities at work. I keep trying to cut back on the things I'm needed for but then that time get filled with more critical stuff.
  • 1
    Sorry if I sound rude, I really don't mean to.
    But what is it that you do? Is working for a company out of the option so you could do 37.5 hour+ weeks?
  • 0
    @SoulSkrix I just do fairly standard software development (Python, PHP, GoLang, etc etc), with abit of DevOps from time to time, and occasional security consulting.
    Before I started freelancing I was still working the same crappy hours, just for less money and more abuse.
    It's insane the number of places I worked that only hired permanent staff, so they could get them to sign aweful contracts, work them crazy hours (I worked at 3 places that literally hand signs in main office saying "it is always crunch time"), and then fire them right before the end of their probation.
  • 0
    Have a burn out right now.
    See a shrink
    Take the medication
    Download hypnosis from playstore, 15m self hypnosis and you will feel great
    I even do it at work
  • 0
    Gotta tell your work what’s what and after 45 hours you are done
  • 1
    @garrwolfdog Absolutely not true that workaholics enjoy work. It's about an irrepressible urge to do it... spend time solving problems, delivering solutions, achieving things. It's rare to enjoy having an all consuming compulsion to do something.

    If work takes up so much time, what non-work responsibilities do you have? If you're freelance, you have the scope to say "No, I'm not doing this any more". You obviously have more than enough to keep you busy, so do you have clients you could serve notice to? I get how hard that might be, but honestly and truly, you're at a place where you make changes or you will suffer something serious.
  • 0
    @CrankyOldDev I can say "no" to the clients, but I still need the money. I've got bills that need paying and people who need me to be bringing in money.
  • 1
    Sounds like it's time for a vacation and stiff drink or two...or three...or the whole bottle.
  • 1
    @garrwolfdog did you at least get paid well for that amount of effort? 🤔

    A bit of a crass question, but for me only scenario I can see that makes those hours viable is stacks of cash...
  • 0
    @theactionslacks more or less, yeah. I get paid well these days, but it all goes really quickly on bills. And with all the hassle I have with getting clients to pay the invoices, I wonder if it's worth it some times
  • 1
    Gym therapy. Work out and your chemicals and schnozberries in your brain will level out and you'll feel better.

    And take vacation. Be assertive that you will work 9-5. If you are even making 150k/year and working 80 hours a week, the job or profession isn't worth it. You could go be a nurse and make the same kind of money except you'd be hourly and when you're off work, you're off work. Or any other profession, nurse is just one that doesn't require that much education but pays off and is hourly. I'm sure there are others.
  • 0
    @ninjatini Sadly a vacation isn't in the budget. Maybe in a year or two, if business stays good and nothing crazy happens.

    I used to go to the gym a LOT, but for various reasons that's not really an option right now; I generally walk about 10-12 miles a day though, when I can.

    Here in the UK, jobs like nursing don't pay even close to what I'm making. and unfortunately, right now, I've got people that need me to be making that much.
  • 3
    @garrwolfdog OK. Can I suggest you re-read all your replies on this thread. You are reinforcing and enabling your behaviour at every opportunity. You seem to believe you have to work as much as you do, but also walk 10-12 miles per day. That's at least 3 hours. If you are taxing your body so persistently, physically and mentally, you're done. Eventually, it'll all come tumbling down.

    So the question you have to ask is: "How would all those who rely on my income handle it if I was suddenly unable to work?" Because at your current rate, that's a "when" not "if".

    I know what this feels like. It's not nice. But regardless of how indispensable you feel you are, it is always possible to re-evaluate work and financial commitments and make adjustments which will suit you much better. I'm guessing it's your family who rely on your income to pay the bills, but the question is if they would rather have your money and all the stuff that brings or have you around and healthy. That's for you to answer and react to.
  • 0
    @CrankyOldDev well, most of that 12 miles is just getting to and from place for work, walking between train stations etc.
    Not much that can be done about that without spending a fortune on taxis and stuff.
    i've tried to cut out things that are draining me like that but it doesn't seem to be enough.

    yeah.... I don't know about the rest of it.
    People keep saying it's always possible to re-evaluate stuff, but i'm not sure how, without other people to help with some of it; and there's no one available for that.

    Something needs to change, but i've got no idea how to make that happen.
  • 1
    @garrwolfdog yeah I hear you. I just meant at some point the work isn't worth the pay. If you do ten years at a job where you give up all your free time, that's one seventh of your time on Earth. Even making less money or doing something different is worth it if you actually get to enjoy your life, know what I mean? I had a job like that for a while and eventually left to do something else when I realized I hadn't done much of anything in the last couple years except work. It was the best decision I ever made even though I made less money immediately after. But several years later I'm making more with a proper work life balance, it worked out in the end and I think for most people in this field they get a job where the employer works them to death at some point. It sucks.
  • 1
    @ninjatini what job did you switch to? That kind of change sounds really good, but i've got no idea what else my skills could work with
  • 0
    @garrwolfdog I really just changed companies. Same industry but I went from consulting for non profits on their crm software (so lots of ssis and vb) to Linux sysadmin at a couple places eventually landing back in the non profit world working with the same CRM system only this time I work for a non profit itself instead of consulting. I think it's more that consulting is bad for work life balance more so than working for a company itself. My sysadmin role was at a very large multinational manufacturer that you would know the brand (but I won't really say here) then the nonprofit I work at now is a large health system.

    I guess moral of the story, be comfortable making less money for a while because you will bounce back but when you do, insist on working for a company itself and your work life balance in theory will be a little better. There was a year or so where I made way less money, now I make more than I ever have so what's the British saying, "swings and roundabouts" or something. :)
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