I’ve been working steadily as a developer since I graduated college 8 years ago. Decent grades, got a job straight out of school; I’m thankful for at least that. Two years in—about 6 years ago—I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Been continuously dealing with it ever since. It has followed me across changes in both job and city. I’m barely coping. But I’m not here to talk about only depression.
Fast forward to recently. Within the past few months, I’m convinced that I’m suffering from burnout as well. My work as an infrastructure/devops engineer doesn’t feel fulfilling. Few of my colleagues have an understanding or appreciation for what I do, so I’m mostly working alone with little collaboration. I have trouble internalizing accomplishments; when I get something done, I don’t think “Woo! Another job well done! Celebrate!”, instead more like “welp, another task complete, where’s the next one in the never-ending list beep boop i am a task robot”. Working at a startup doesn’t help matters much, either; everything’s on fire and those fires needed to be put out yesterday, also can you tweak this little thing before you collapse under the weight of your work pleaseandthankyouverymuch!
Objectively speaking, the burnout has been getting steadily worse over the past few months. Six months ago, I was reliably working full-time. Four months ago, I drained my PTO balance trying to “rest up”. Two months ago, I switched to part-time work/contracting, so I would have more time to rest. Today, I can’t bring myself to go into the office, and I’m sleeping 12-14 hours a day, not all contiguous.
My colleagues have been understanding about my depressive condition, thankfully, but I fear that their collective patience may be wearing thin. Before the burnout, I would just take a few days off to rest, then bounce back & return to work. The difference this time: I’m no longer bouncing back.
Maybe I’m just overworked and need a change. But that’s the problem with burnout, isn’t it? I lack the willpower, energy, and motivation to do anything at all. Thinking about different work sounds just as tedious and meaningless as whatever I’m already doing.
On one hand, I know that I’m perfectly capable of being productive; on the other, I feel like my career is over since I can no longer muster up the desire to do things.
How does anyone deal with burnout?