I’ve for a long time had the intention to write about this topic. It’s an important
topic, something a lot of us have encountered either directly or with someone close.
Burnout, getting sick from what you do, or in my case, from what I love.
I love programming, like… it’s what I have wanted to do for my whole life and even done
for most of it.
Back in 2016 I hit a wall, something that I never thought I would hit.
The wall hit me hard, it took me a year to recover enough to be able to start work again.
It started with panic attacks, at the time, I didn’t know it was panic attacks, as I had never really had that before, I felt more and more depressed (didn’t really know that either).
It became more intense over time, and when I finally reached out to a doctor for help I had multiple panic attacks each day, some so bad that I passed out at my desk at work.
I’ve had a few different jobs, some good (but less profitable) and some bad (still not that profitable), but the money was never my actual goal. I really don’t care that much about cash, as long as I have and get enough to survive and buy commodities now and then and especially as long as I have fun, the cash is less important. My best job was when I made about (equal to) $1600 per month, it was fun to work, I had the chance to do things good, and I really loved my co-workers and the company culture.
A few of the above things have happened at other companies. I have had co-workers I love
I have had fun (not always ofc) but… I have never felt that I’ve had the chance
to do what I can do, very rarely been allowed to do things good.
I’ve had bosses and team-leads who have pushed me down, made me feel that I can’t code, I’ve had evaluations where I’ve been told that I’m not productive (because of “superiors” who messed up every pull request I made), I’ve been forced to build prototypes that I knew would end up in production as a bad product (never hits wrong).
All of that is quite standard in the business, while it’s something I can’t do without feeling bad.
So what did this do to me? Well, it made me feel like I was bad, like I didn’t
know what I was doing. Thinking back on it, I can see how it progressed.
I had to ask more about what I should do, how I should do it, (and even further down the line) how things - I actually knew much about - worked.
I unlearned, I became worse in what I loved to do and what I actually knew how to do.
When I finally hit that wall, it took 3 months for me to be able to even use
a computer again.
It took me about 6 months before I could start write code again.
After 9 months or so, I finally understood that it wasn’t me who was a bad programmer but rather the places where I worked that was the issue.
At that point I had quit my job, and after about a year, I went my own way with my own company (and haven’t looked back).
From what I’ve seen, my progress was fast. A burnout can destroy someone for years or even for life.
I think I was lucky, and I think the fact that I just had my third child, made a huge difference in how fast I recovered.
My burnout damaged me a lot. I still have issues, not only from the reasons why I got there and the medical problems it created (meds, therapy, all of that) but it also took a huge toll on my family and my self-esteem.
This post is not just something that I wrote to tell you a bit of my story, but especially a post to tell you that if you feel what I felt; just go, leave it, it’s not worth to hit a wall for someone - or something - who doesn’t even appreciate what you do.