burnt out lightbulb

‘Cause every footstep was a lifetime passed
Every pin prick left an autograph
Sign the old familiar photograph
Too old to last
Too young to fall apart
Too young to fall apart
Too young to fall apart
Too young to fall apart

–Lane 8 “Yard Two Stone”

we don’t talk about burnout enough in the US. It’s just something that people who are lucky enough to have health insurance and therapists ever talk about. And even then, doesn’t mean the situation gets any better. It might even get worse.

Working where I do, I am extremely lucky in a lot of ways. I have a great bunch of mentors (hi WG, WM, DK…). I have a lot of freedom to make mistakes as long as I’m learning from them.

But burnout is real and something everyone should take a moment to reflect upon.

I mention this for a few reasons, not least of which is that doing two jobs for the last few months has worn me down, that I’ve pulled back from a lot of my non-work commitments (e.g., WMATA’s Riders’ Advisory Council), and that I’m getting on a good night ~5.5hrs sleep. This has been detrimental to my life overall and has had some serious negative consequences that will be with me for a very long time to come. There’s also the risk of spiralling, something I’m personally terrified of happening.

There’s a quiz going around tech twitter and similar strata to measure burnout amongst tech and tech-adjacent people. I didn’t give them any personally identifiable information but they do have some helpful questions to ask yourself at the end that I copied down for future reference.

I mention this because my burnout score was 5.4/6. And it has left me with a lot of questions to think about right now. First and foremost: how to stop it from hitting 5.5.

I shared it in the Code4Lib IRC and may try to get a group together in Pittburgh to talk about it. For Library people, it’s something we definitely need to talk about and for LibTech folks, that goes triple. There’ll be a meeting at my house tomorrow at 2:00pm.

The topic? “How to not be like me and let it get as far as it has.”