Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
Burnout in Public
3 min read
I'm burnt out.
I've spent the past ten minutes trying to figure out the outline for this post. I figured I'd start writing, and it would appear. If you're reading this, it didn't.
It All Began with the Pandemic
I can trace this feeling back to COVID times, but I just noticed it recently. Well, a month or so ago. I saw hints of it after I was sick after returning from Cosmoverse in Medellin, Colombia. I was tired in a way I had never been before. I was tired of having fun. I was tired of talking to my friends, and I was tired of work. I was going through the motions of being alive but detached from reality. My performance at work was suffering, and my life at home wasn't much better.
It came to a head when I visited a good friend, and he just looked at me and directly asked, "you look tired. Are you okay?" He took a picture and showed me a person I didn't recognize. The bags under my eyes were about the same size as the luggage I'd used to fly all over the world for the past six months. I looked like I hadn't slept in a year and was dead inside. I wasn't sure it was even me.
Taking Breaks is Hard
I really struggle with taking a break. Even more so because I work with friends; I'll write more about that one day if I haven't already.
I still wonder if my friend reached out to people around me. I started receiving messages from people I hadn't talked to in months telling me they were worried about how much I worked. They also spoke of the last time we talked (or visited) and how tired I seemed, and I never seem to take a day off.
I talked to my wife about it, and she, too, mentioned that I worked around 90 hours a week between all of my commitments and that I never took a break.
I'm not trying to say I work hard. I'm confident that I could have accomplished 90 hours of work in 40 if I had been firing on all cylinders, but I wasn't. If I'm a V6, I was probably running the last two cylinders until they exploded.
Volunteering on Top of Other Responsibilities
The things I work on have suffered. I do a good bit of work with Developer DAO, and the mentorship team there is well aware of the problems I've been having with my health. They probably knew I was burned out before I did.
In the DAO, I've publicly worked to build a mentorship program with Piablo, 7i70, and countless others. I had never realized the public effects that would have on me when I couldn't do it anymore. The teams at the DAO couldn't be more supportive of me taking a step back when needed, but I still feel like I'm letting them down.
I'm letting everyone down in some ways. I've spent a year plus juggling as many plates as possible, and at some point, they've all been dropped one by one. None have had as much impact on me emotionally as the Developer DAO one.
Burning Out in Public is Unbearable
I'm tired, and I know I should take a break. I am trying. I've picked up work on Developer DAO again in earnest and find it fulfilling. My friends have gotten me into Star Citizen, and I plan to drag everyone I know into it. I'm trying to plan a vacation with my wife. None of these will solve burnout alone.
I don't have a solution, but like most problems, the first step is to realize you have one. I have a problem with being burnt out.
If you're here for advice, I have only the following:
If you build in public, remember to take a break, or you'll burn out in public.