Hi, I'm Vlad!
And this is my story of how I faced burnout.
Hi, I'm Vlad!
___________
And this is my story of how I faced burnout.
ABOUT ME
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The 8 Rules of Burnout Club: Developer's Story

Trust me, everything is gonna be fine.

You met me at a very strange time in my life.

"His Name is Robert Paulson"

Good day. My name is Vladislav and I burned out.

This article is a way to organize my understanding of the process of burnout and why this happened to me. Maybe my analysis will help someone to deal with similar mental challenges.

First, let's find out how it happened, what caused it, and what helped me to overcome it.

In short, the causes of my burnout can be divided into three groups:

  • family causes
  • personal causes
  • work (professional) causes

As you can see, work took the last place on this list. It was just a trigger. That was like the last straw against the background of other problems listed above.

Looking back, I see how obstinately I tried to improve my skills and knowledge to become a highly skilled developer. It was an idee fixe. I aspired to new tasks and new challenges.

And then so-called 'impostor syndrome' happened.
I wish I was a Pro Developer Comics
I have two favourite movies. The first one is "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". The second movie is "Fight Club". As you might have noticed, there are some references to the second one, including quotes and semantic parallels.

Why this particular movie? I like its optimistic ending. *beware, there will be spoilers now*

The main character has overcome his psychological problem. And just like The Narrator, I hope I am on the right path to conquer my fears and doubts. I promise I won't shoot.

I'll try to refrain from useless tips and bombastic rhetoric. This article is about the burnout crisis and the situation when you need to get out of it as soon as possible.

We'll start with the rules of Burnout Club.

1st rule: talk about burnout club

Many people associate burnout only with work. But don't get hung up on work as the main reason for your discomfort. Things are not so simple.

The first thing to do is to figure out what the real problem is. You have to find its root. Ask yourself "What's wrong? What don't you like about it? Why?". Then, in case of successful problem identification, continue this dialogue with yourself to find your personal antidote to burnout.

Talk your problems out. Neither your manager nor your friend or family member can read your mind and understand that you don't like something. You can talk about the discomfort you feel with your team lead, soul mate, friends, or parents. Your health is important to them. Don't forget about it!

Closing yourself off and keeping distance from the rest of the world is the worst thing you can do in this situation.
"Talk it out" is universal and timeless advice.
Fight Club Pitt Norton

2nd rule: talk about burnout CLUB everywhere

No, seriously, the more you talk about your condition the sooner you find the reasons why as well as the way out of this situation.

In this case, a professional psychologist can become a good "source of truth". Unfortunately, or fortunately, we live in a time when personality is on the pedestal and, at the same time, a lot of people remain alone. So, nowadays a psychologist can be the one who will always listen and will not make fun of you.

Sadly, in our country, the academic school of psychology appeared and began to develop much later than in Europe and USA. Society doesn't trust it and most people solve their problems in the old fashioned way. But what worked for one generation will not work for another one.

Thus don't be afraid of rebuke and condemnation. Don't think you are doing something wrong. Feel free to consult a psychologist (I pledge that I will visit him too).

    3rd rule: If someone yells "Stop!", goes limp, taps out, the fight is over

    To hell with work and the workplace. To hell with the apartment you live in. It's time to visit the strangest and the most distant places in your locality. The purpose of these walks is not just to get fresh air, but to stay some time far away from things and places associated with burnout.

    Visiting new places is a great way to get new positive emotions that are so vital in your situation. But even if you've already visited a dozen new places and felt nothing about it — all is not lost.

    In case of burnout, you (like a Sasuke Uchiha) need to relearn how to enjoy life and perceive positive emotions. Sooner or later, some place, thing, or remembering will make you smile and cause a pleasant feeling.
      Fight Club Pitt Norton

      4th rule: Only two guys to a fight

      Unfortunately, you are staying one-to-one with burnout. Nobody can handle your problems for you. Yes, I know, I wrote above that you need to communicate and discuss your problems with others. But this is a means to an end, not a path.

      Ultimately, you are the best adviser and the best therapist for yourself. You will find ways to get out of burnout and to start moving in a positive direction.

      Anyone you'll talk about your discomfort can give you some ideas or tips, on purpose or by accident. But not more than this. People are interested to recharge your agility and vitality. They can suggest thought and inspire you. But they can't solve problems for you.

      Don't treat it like everybody leaves you. No, it's not like that at all. Just accept it as an axiom: happiness depends on ourselves. It will strengthen you and give you a new force to fight the burnout enemy.

      5th rule: One fight at a time

      The cause of burnout is a set of unsolving problems and tasks shelved 'then'. Communication helps to detect these problems and tasks. Self-reflection and self-examination help a lot too.

      Then we start fighting this army of tasks and as a result, can't keep up. Haste makes waste. Don't jump into the abyss of unsolved problems too quickly! Don't tackle the next task until you solve the current one.

      It doesn't matter how long it takes to solve. Let it be small but confident steps neither just nervous running in place. Even small but completed tasks can be considered your personal wins.

      6th rule: No shirts, no shoes

      Fight Club ikea scene
      Burnt-out people need to rejoice in a new way. For myself, I found a way — spontaneous shopping. Often we save costs excessively and put off some purchases for a long time. But the human brain loves pleasant surprises and unplanned joy.

      Thus
      • my collection of board games is replenished
      • I renewed my wardrobe
      • there are some new useless things in my apartment
      ...but all that cheer me up.

      Even such simple things as chocolate, cola, or chips lead to improved mood. But if we remember Maslow's hierarchy of needs, life is not limited to food and basic physiological needs. Of course, we always need something more.

      7th rule: Fights will go on as long as they have to

      And here's the most important thing — it is almost impossible to defeat burnout in one day. There is no magic universal remedy. It may seem you are ok but it could be just a temporary relief.

      The accumulation of fatigue doesn't happen in one day. The way to burnout is long and the way out could be long and thorny too. Problems won't go away by themselves immediately. Have patience and courage. And take action!

      Also, you can be surprised by hidden problems and pitfalls of the subconscious. Thus, burnout can provoke psychosomatic problems and changes in nerve cells. It takes time to heal that.

      And finally, a few words about preventing future possible burnouts. Never forget about it. Otherwise, everything you did before would go out the window. Except for pleasant purchases, of course. They will always make you happy.
      Pitt Norton Fight Club scene

      8th and last rule: If this is your first night at Burnout Club, you have to fight

      Unfortunately, most of us face burnout or some of its forms. Self-isolation fuels this negative phenomenon. The most important thing is not to give up and not to blame other people.

      In 2019 The World Health Organization has updated its handbook of diseases
      by including an expanded definition of 'burnout':
      Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

      • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
      • increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
      • reduced professional efficacy.
      Specialists are working on guidelines on mental well-being in the workplace. Companies are working on ways to prevent their teams from burning out. And even successfully.

      "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything"

      I tried to write this article twice. The first part I started to write right after the active phase of my burnout. With the second one, it was more difficult to convey thoughts, nuances, and emotions.

      Am I on the right track? Perhaps. Have I systematized things and uncluttered my mind by preparing this article, as I originally planned? Perhaps. Do I hope this article will be helpful? Yes. Is this article a professional guide on how to overcome burnout? No way. Is the ultimate truth written here? No way.

      This is probably all. I will continue to fight burnout and try to find methods and ways that will help me. Thank you for your attention. And remember, you are super, whatever anyone says.
      Fight Club scene
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