On burnout, or where I've been lately
October 29th 2022 on Dušan's blog
Warning: This post deals with some dark and unpleasant emotions I've been dealing with. If that's not your cup of tea I strongly suggest you skip this one.
This blog was never about posting as consistently as possible. It should come as no surprise that I only write when I feel like writing. But this was different, this was unusual even for me. Never before did I feel such emptiness, such an uncharacteristic lack of fervor, excitement and will. Over the past few months I've been dealing with the most intense burnout I've ever experienced in my five year career as a software developer.
Apathy, a description
For a guy with strong emotions, the feeling of sheer apathy is soul crushing. It's a feeling that can only be understood when you experience it yourself, no amount of explanation would do it justice. The absolute state of nothingness, stasis and dissociation from the world around you. The days become fleeting, boring, dull and utterly forgettable, that is if you even feel that days are passing at all and not simply blurring into one another. All my goals and aspirations feel so distant, like echoes from a forgotten dream.
Burnout, or why work is hard lately
I love what I do, but I don't really like my job. Working nine to five for a faceless, emotionless corporation is as dull as any office job. Despite the objectively great salary, genuinely challenging work, great work environment and even better colleagues I still feel like I'm not making progress, whatever that means.
In the past, I used to fill the gap with passion projects I'd do in my own time, usually some silly script or application that did some ultra specific, but really fun thing. But lately I'm beginning to realize that even though I consider myself a good developer, at heart, I'm just a dreamer. I enjoy thinking about what could be, more than actually putting that into practice.
There are moments of insight, inspiration and actual work that lead to somewhat tangible results, but most of the time my ideas stay just that, ideas. Yet I realize I can't live off of ideas alone, but it's nice to think and to dream. I miss it, the long nights where I could do nothing but learn, dream and feel genuinely good about life and all it had to offer.
Optimism, a way out
Yet I remain an optimist, even if some would call it delusional. I refuse to lie down and rot away my life and my ambitions. Despite the setbacks, I still feel life is very much worth living, that it would be a waste to surrender to apathy and helplessness. It's as good time as any to recognize that I'm not alone in my endeavors. To all my friends who've bent over backwards to show me the bright side when all I could see was the abyss, a massive THANK YOU doesn't begin to express my gratitude. You know who you are. I'm forever grateful and indebted to you all.
Until next time, I love you.