Three Burnouts Later, I Finally Figured it Out
My first brush with burnout was cataclysmic. I did not understand what I was doing to myself and continued to push myself until I broke.
Once the dust settled, I wrote about that experience in an article titled, The lies and lack of self-respect that lead to burnout.
It was my essay / self-chastisement of what thought processes and actions had allowed me to hurt myself to that extent.
And then I burned out again, not as spectacularly as the first time, primarily because I was more aware of the signs.
However, this second occurrence was within a few months of starting a new role at a new company.
The reasons I burned out the first time were not present this time. I put the experience down to a combination of fatigue from my previous role and adjusting to my new position.
We always try and sprint into a new job; we want to work at the same pace and competence that we had at our previous position, but that’s not possible. So it’s a jarring experience to get yourself to slow down and build that speed and competence back up.
For the next year and a bit, the bike wobbled, and I constantly was on the edge of my third major burnout.
Unexpected sick days and strategic holidays kept me just sane enough to keep going. I felt like every week; I was bailing out just enough water on my sinking ship to make it to a safe harbor.
But like any band-aid, patch-job, hotfix, work-around, it does not last forever, and I eventually drowned and had my third burnout at age 30.
It was incredibly frustrating to be back at this point again, I thought I had figured it out, but the causes of my first burnout were not present this time.
While I didn’t know what the cause was this time, I knew the playbook I needed to deploy.
Burnout is caused by a series of unhealthy and unsustainable habits and thought processes. Resolving burnout requires looking after yourself while you find and locate the thoughts and habits that need retraining.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know what the problem was, and so similar to being someone lost in the middle of the desert, I had no idea which…