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Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.

Working Code Podcast - Episode 003: Burnout, Mental Exhaustion, And How To Be Productive When Life Sucks

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Podcast

The tech industry often heralds long hours as a badge of honor: the grind; the side-hustle; working weekends; showing your team that you're putting in the time. But, this toxic culture can quickly lead to mental exhaustion and burnout. This, in turn, leads to poor quality of work, panic attacks, resignations, anger, slipping deadlines, feelings of failure, the complete destruction of all personal boundaries, and - for Carol - almost watching her house burn down while she's on the phone with her clients.

This week on the Working Code Podcast, the crew talks about what burnout and mental exhaustion means to them; what their experiences have been; and, what strategies they use to get both their work and their personal lives back on track.

Listen to Episode 003, with:

Triumphs & Failures

  • Carol's Triumph - Her kid is studying Computer Science at college; and, he called home to ask Carol for help on an assignment. It felt very rewarding both as a mom and as a woman in technology.

  • Ben's Failure - He went to start a new side-project and quickly realized that he hasn't started a new project in ages. He didn't know how to setup a build system; and, had to start Googling for the most basic concepts.

  • Tim's Triumph - He had to submit the reviews and salary-raise suggestions for his team and he actually got it in on time!

  • Adam's Triumph - He hit 100% test coverage for all the "happy paths" within his application. This includes thousands of tests and is the culmination of many months of work. He is excited about upgrading his application platform over the holidays.

Notes & Links

  • This Is Fine Dog - the perfect meme for 2020.
  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs - describes the pattern through which human motivations generally move.
  • Sisyphus - who rolled a boulder uphill for eternity.
  • Percona - database solutions experts.
  • Steve Grushcow - "It's a marathon not a sprint."
  • Shawn Grigson - "Bring me the problem, not the solution."
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Christine Miserandino: Spoon Theory - a metaphor that is used to describe the amount of mental or physical energy a person has available for daily activities and tasks.
  • Short Sleepers - people who require less than 6-hours of sleep.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert: TED Talk - Your Elusive Creative Genius - the author of "Eat, Pray, Love" talks about how we think about creativity.
  • Blessing From God - God helps those who help themselves.
  • Chuck Close: Inspiration is for amateurs

    Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will - through work - bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great "art idea". And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don't have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you'll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

  • Brandon Sanderson - an American author of epic fantasy and science fiction.
  • Isaac Asimov - an American author of science fiction.
  • How to get therapy during a pandemic - an article from NPR.

Reader Comments

Ben, this podcast episodes have been a wonderfull companion to me. I always thought I was the only one living in this type of rollercoaster. Made me feel like sitting with all of you, having a good talk about life, fears, joy and much more. The vibes you all are spreading are lifesavers in these difficult times to me.

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@Andreas,

That is so nice to hear. It's funny you mention the importance of this during these times because that is exactly the reason I want to be part of this podcast. I just needed some human contact, so to speak. The idea of getting to hang out with some people on a weekly basis and just talk about anything, I was like sign me up :D I'm glad you are enjoying it as much as I am.

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@Ted,

Thanks :D I hope you're current adventures are treating you well. You'd be happy to know that I'm still showing up to Architecture Office Hours and hassling everyone with a 1,000 questions 🤣

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