Things That are Tired: Uggs, Segways and you! Coming Back from Burnout

Video in TIB AV-Portal: Things That are Tired: Uggs, Segways and you! Coming Back from Burnout

Formal Metadata

Things That are Tired: Uggs, Segways and you! Coming Back from Burnout
Title of Series
Part Number
Number of Parts
CC Attribution 3.0 Unported:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor.
Release Date

Content Metadata

Subject Area
Why is burnout such a bad thing? When I see that question on paper, the answer seems obvious. But in nearly a decade in this community, I've seen people run themselves into the ground without realizing that they can - and should - take the time to rest. Why? Well, the short answer is that, if you don't take a break once in a while, the quality of your work suffers. But the long and more involved answer? Well, as a wise man once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Burnout leads to exhaustion, and that leads to terrible performance. And no one wants to be known for performing terribly - we all have too much pride for that. History is full of examples of times when exhaustion led to disaster - remember the Exxon Valdez? Imagine your open source project taking a header like that. I'm actually going to get a little science-y here and cite a few studies, in particular a recent one from Washington State University that shows how sleep-deprived people have an impaired ability to take in new information. Of course, you can get plenty of sleep and still be burned out. If your waking hours are consumed with community work, your relationships can suffer, and your sanity will erode pretty quickly. After nearly a decade in the Python and Django communities, I've experienced periods of overwork that have made me hate everything I was doing. I have a lot of good anecdotes, stories that will probably sound familiar to everyone in the room. Luckily, I've also learned some tactics for stepping back and recovering. It can be done, and it's easier than people think. What you're going to hear from this talk is just plain common sense. But sometimes when you're mired in work with no obvious way out, you need to hear it from someone else. So I'm giving everyone permission to let go. (And no, I promise, there will be no 'Frozen' references in my slides.) But how do you let go? And when? Burnout is pretty easy to recognize if you know what to look for. Are you staying up every night reading pull requests ... and is that your primary method of interaction with other human beings? Your user group may only meet once a month, but is that group still responsible for the bulk of your email? Do you secretly blame them for your inability to get to inbox zero? Is the only travel you're doing for conferences? Have you given up on vacations and just decided to see the world one PyCon or DjangoCon at a time? The biggest indicator of burnout in the community is how you feel about the community around you. When you find yourself starting to cringe every time you get a new Twitter follower, it may be time to start saying no to things. The most important piece of advice I have is to stop looking at what other people are doing. We all know that person who seems to have a hand in every project, but you can't judge your own performance by what you imagine theirs to be. You don't know how they may be scrambling behind the scenes. And remember that just because you're invited into a conversation doesn't mean that you have to contribute to it - sometimes listening is enough. Emails can sometimes go unanswered - so can phone calls! Think about what's most important in your life, and start directing your energy towards those things instead. Don't write so much code in your free time. Take a few nights off, go outside - there's a lot to see out there! Your collaborators WILL understand. Especially if you announce your intentions to the world. Send an email, tweet it out, let people know you need some time off. You'll be surprised how much understanding you'll get and how well people will respect your boundaries (you just need to set them).
Group action Code Multiplication sign Execution unit 1 (number) Design by contract Mereology Food energy Computer programming Estimator Coefficient of determination Video game Semiconductor memory Error message Position operator Social class God Theory of relativity Channel capacity Stress (mechanics) Bit Process (computing) Computer science Quicksort Freeware Resultant Point (geometry) Slide rule Open source Link (knot theory) Wage labour Student's t-test Web browser Rule of inference Event horizon Twitter Internetworking Dependent and independent variables Focus (optics) Quantum state Inheritance (object-oriented programming) Limit (category theory) Computer animation Blog Universe (mathematics) Speech synthesis Pressure Local ring Window
Point (geometry) Metre Open source State of matter Multiplication sign Decision theory Control flow Water vapor Event horizon Computer programming Twitter Video game Data conversion Social class Shift operator Email Scaling (geometry) Projective plane Electronic mailing list Demoscene Digital photography Voting Computer animation Commitment scheme Order (biology) Figurate number Resultant
Point (geometry) Group action State of matter Multiplication sign 1 (number) Archaeological field survey Control flow Online help Mereology Formal language Video game Different (Kate Ryan album) Position operator Email Dependent and independent variables Software developer Projective plane Electronic mailing list Bit Line (geometry) Limit (category theory) Process (computing) Computer animation Commitment scheme Personal digital assistant Self-organization Family Library (computing)
Point (geometry) Computer animation Code Electronic mailing list Point cloud
Video game Kernel (computing) Computer animation
what part of the of the of the points and the and the and the and the and the so I'm I'm actually really really glad that this room is not SuperPAC was kind of hoping that there would be a 10 people and not because they didn't want speaking from a lot of people but but I was thinking about this and I get such a positive response the idea of this talk the sort of broke my heart to think that that many people might really be that burned that up and I really need this so I mean I'm not a super experience speaker I really hope that I can do this topic justice is a seems like something that a lot of people need to hear about of the bad news is that I'm not a self-help guru or a motivational speaker licensed position clinician any of those things I don't really have any official capacity to tell you how to relieve your stress I would you have is some common sense and story is a little bit of advice from my own stories that I think might help of but that's feeling you know if you're here and you're already identifying is being burned out you probably already know what you need to do to change that but sometimes it just helps from someone else so I hope that I can help and the Carantania kind you're already of part of a really thriving community it's a very active community of the you know part of open source you used to give me your time and energy very freely well why why we do that is probably a topic for another part at another time I know that most people that I know outside of open-source don't get it at all you know we give all of our free time we work a lot of free time where we you know there was a tweet the less often tied Texas is we can about leaving unit golfer New labor day holiday weekend to go and write more code was a lot of us do of I mean it so that you can improve your programming skills or make makes new friends take part in this community need really amazing people other could be a lot of reasons maybe you just drawn by the energy and excitement of all the knowledge that we do of those reasons a really been discussed the discussed intersected and you know I really go out 1 thing that I do know is that we all have this very common passion of one's very excited and they love with the work of but that that passion has to have 1 the revolves cover that at some point yeah of FIL servant telling my story if years ago probably 3 4 years ago now I just moved Austin and I started and finished 1 contract Tobin and started another permanent job I started a relationship I was walking or trying to you know I had just begun doing young coders which is the kids Python classes we teach a piconet started developing that I was teaching beginner Python classes here and a you know on all over it's small kilometers run self and uh I got involved the vocals yesterday this computer science teachers America I was volunteering with them to try and help you know were to improve local computer science teachers in classrooms are computer science classes in classrooms here in Austin and I was volunteering with a local program central Texas discover engineering that brings up technologists into classrooms to speak into teaching kind of get kids excited about stem so I spent a lot of time doing that i in between all those things I was doing some technical review a couple friends of road and pipeline ending of size than lifetime reading out and I found the pilot is chapter here by spending a lot of time doing me that's in classes to try and get that group growing so you can imagine stretched to my limits pretty much I was really exhausted most the time of my relationships were suffering a little bit my friends and relatives there was not seen much of them I started developing some health problem of and a ruler you I was traveling sure but but the only trouble that I was doing was for conferences they joke that I was seeing the world 1 pi kind ending of fun at a time and and not much more than that I I you know it started to take time away from my actual job the the day job that pays the bills but I was not getting to you any of the things that I love outside of programming end in a softer what a couple of years of this I started to really dread every need at every class 0 my god it was like pulling teeth driving out to me that you know 2 3 nights a week awful you know in short I was really starting to hate my big open-source Lafayette if I was very involved and I didn't want to I really wanted to run away a lot of is so it took a couple of years of this before I realized what I had to do and that was just to scale back but I handed pi over to some other very capable women here in Austin and this continued to grow this this really amazing and I cut my teaching scuttled having very dramatically I step back from all that volunteering which was it was heartbreaking was a real shame but hopefully you know have been able to get some of the people involved in my said and I answered saying no to a lot of request for my time and eventually you know things got same things come down I was able to breathe again so we know that by not really as a result of a long-term exhaustion In everyone can have a busy day noun in a busy week this 1 as we start turning in 2 months and years and you doing the same thing is struggling to get it all done in you taking on more over and over you know you you being spread too thin for too long in the result starts to feel a lot like depression you started dread we're doing it gets hard to get up and event Sunday's knowing where you can be facing the so it should surprise no 1 that that thing can lead to really terrible performance but what I think a lot of people realizes with a serious health told can take at every time I open a browser I see more news about the stories new new studies at don't being done about the effects of over work on the brain and the body it's pretty scary stuff 0 by the way they the links in this the slides and oppose slides to my blog mechanical rolled common after this and they're going to be links you can actually read some of these articles and that take a look at the studies of these kinds of things talking about so when you juggling you day job and Europe answers work and and a person was usually the 1st thing they get sacrifice all asleep I know that's through of me I was at a 1 . sleeping maybe 2 3 hours a nite of scary stuff of the window talk about some of these articles that I found so this 1 up here this UC Berkeley thing of us in this effort that life is actually a reference to the study of a here from the Journal of nurse high hands the ray formal I study conducted by UC Berkeley I just really love the sensationalist headlines you know when you're tired you perceive friends as enemies a kind of thinking I wonder if that's were flame wars come from people who love each other respect each other suddenly find themselves at each other's throats when they're under the pressure of you know trying to get a pull request in and then I also you guys know the xk CD cartoon I can't go to sleep get someone's wrong on the Internet wall what if they're not really that wrong where they just seem wrong because you haven't on sleepyhead methods so the that are and then then this here and this is a an article for my dog come from a student actually became accompanied with a really great infographic is too large to to put inside here you would not have been able to read it even upon green but maybe some of the highlights sleep deprivation can lead to things like hallucinations cerebral shrinkage lost memories false memories of lost focus and they were all pretty familiar with that 1 and you know ultimately brain damage is something you can suffer from yeah but we don't want stories that really caught my as this last 1 here of from NPR that may i it's actually a story about this and other sleep saying that was done by the university Washington but 1 of the examples that they side is the externalities crashed now that happened back in 1990 error sigh 1989 and so I realize some of you actually may be too young to remember what a huge disaster that was out by some estimates there were something like 40 million gallons of oil spilled hundreds of thousands of animals were killed and including workers there were a couple pods of orcas that were decimated there were seabirds seals sea otters and
I think I deliberately did not get any photos from the disaster the just you are renting especially you know if you're a hit the environmentalist like me I just could do these are very happy alive seals not covered in oil but in water it's 1 point that out of our but yeah and in fact is this disaster had a lasting impact on Prince William Sound 26 years later they're still thousands of gallons of oil and water in the same room but most of the animal populations have not recovered but it was an entire oyster better think that was wiped out of his started come back but that's that's about to hit but and I remember know I was in college time I remember the rumor that was going around was that the captain of the ship was dropped and that he ran ship around OK now later was that the captain wasn't even if there was not at the helmet was a 3rd major who had been up and working steadily for 18 hours that point and then he was not the only 1 the crew was accustomed to that kind of sleep deprivation working 18 hour shifts in getting a couple of hours sleep in the Non-Aligned and no breaks no weekends so they were pretty overworked and the result of that was huge environmental disaster the suddenly new wonder a you know I I know people who have stayed up as long as 18 hours happen project something in common especially you know when you're young and need you can can hit he the it is it may be wonder you know imagine a working for that long the hard that tired and your open source project crashing like that where a disaster that could be not on the same scale of I don't expect to fill in the holes but I you know really each giving your most tired self to a project is not good for that project the people that you're working with the people that that are working around you deserve better you deserve better yourself care so much more important than getting an excellent program and you know it sometimes you just need this to step back and and refreshening come back to new passion and you you not going to do that for yourself these to the order of the so the
as you take nothing else away from this hot remember this phrase this is probably the most important thing that I can tell you but when it comes time to recover the 1st step is to simplify your life you need to spend some time thinking about what it is that you really want to do some soul-searching make a list of you have to figure out what are the things that are really important you what's fulfilling to you what's giving you joy of what are you doing that is really bringing you fulfillment and you know the answer is none of these things well maybe it's time to start Jenna those things and look to something new or keep the 1 thing that you find that is really important to you of what I was feeling burned out and they needed to shed all of those projects the 1 thing that I hold on with young voters because you know I started out my career as a teacher in teaching kids and teaching them programming is the 1 thing that I of the best so that is the only thing that I do these days aside from occasional speaking obviously out it I you know I I focus on teaching and I developed curriculum and that's it I say no to everything else and then there's 1 thing that I want to point out to you another important point when you're evaluating what's important to you whatever you do please do not compare yourself to other people that you know this community that you know we know someone who seems like they have a hand in every project doing all the things you you can't possibly know what they're going through behind the scenes you have no idea if they're fulfilled off the struggling so don't don't judge yourself by other people's contributions in other people's performance as you know just focus on yourself and focus on what you want out of life anything ultimately you be happy and then you know what you mean all those decisions and figure out what you want to to raise the start practicing this phrase if you are are overloaded someone asks you to speak the meter you can always say no or or actually better thanks but no he played a firm but let me also mention to teach a class and then you can say no then the people want to contribute to the project I and I know this is hard because everyone wants to be involved in these projects but if you're overloaded you can say no so que giving you permission I know maybe you know maybe you were the someone might be upset if you say no it's possible that can happen but if they are you know if anyone is going to be angry you for turning down an offer saying no to something someone that is not worth your time trust me on this I think your mom would reach were thinking maybe and then how can you know sometimes no just means not saying yes you know you don't have to respond to every letter or every tweet becomes your way every e-mail us sometimes just listening in on the conversation is enough you don't have to participate but in fact you know this is something that I feel really strongly about I think that it took me a while to realize that any unsolicited e-mail that I get really is just a big ask for my time that I didn't agree to and it it takes a lot of time and we wanna be generous were conditionally generous with their time but really at the end of the day you don't 0 anything anyone you don't have to answer that e-mail if it was something that you agreed to I'll be you know a noted that I sent unsolicited and if you're organizing an event or you're leaving a project you've kind of implicitly signed up to deal with those things and so those in those e-mails become the way they are for you of but that's going to keep in mind you know before you make next commitment remember that those are the kinds of things that you can be burdened with them so maybe you don't wanna commit to that project to that event no just you know so and also they take ministerial on the state you know say no isn't a license plate you do the things that you say you'll do just as you go forward promise less commit less us and you'll be a happy person I swear it would and those are those people that all seem to be doing all the things there is 1 thing that you can learn from them and they're very good at delegated and
asking for help but you know the irony is not lost on me that everyone here is at the start of a conference started doing upon you're going to be and exposed to a lot of new ideas and projects and you're gonna wanna get involved in all of them because they're a whole really cool and you know you don't necessarily have to say not all of them just of the my my best advice you choose to be judicious time carefully be judicious with your commitments really evaluate whether or not this project is going to be something that you enjoy or that you can offer some something you that will be good for you before you jump but you don't necessarily have seen a lot of things you know but you might have to relieve yourself of some responsibilities before you take on new ones and now I have will examples so the 1st step toward giving yourself a break might be just been mentoring someone you and story uh over this past year year I have have been traveling lied in a lot of problems is not talk to lots of other women who are text beakers and film much to my poor that there some of them that our traveling around country breakneck speed doing as many as 15 to 20 come year that is no we live in but but but you know by now there's a big push in the community all open-source really to increase visibility of women and that's very admirable thing but the problem is that these these same 10 15 women cannot be doing all this crap and so you know I think maybe we need a mentor some new ones do some teaching bring some people up and get more people involved in and get more people talking about the experiences of that there are women specifically and and then you know the same thing goes for that code library that some of you out there have been maintaining for many many years probably to the point that you so tired of it and you cringe every time a pull request comes in and maybe you're starting to really hate the language and you just are so sick of e-mailing people and talking about it but maybe you convinced yourself that no 1 else can do that job as well as you can well I have some news for each local but there are a lot of fresh faces a lot of developers in the community who just really want a chance to structurally they just me that chance get in there and get started out you know it's old hat for you is can be very exciting for them and they might make a few mistakes in my stumbled a bit but you know the be all the better if you spend the time limit for them so reach out to user groups reach out to mailing lists to find people who might be interested in filling issues of something that you really want to rid of bring some new blood and don't be afraid to do that well I Ch you know and then handjob over I I think that when she let go of it the waste can come off shoulders you gonna be able to take a deep breath for the 1st time a long time and then feel really really uh if but now we have another great and that here is a survey so something to remember if you were the 1 asking for help over the summer I was at a party in Brooklyn hanging out with some other developers of pretty much the only people that I hang out with the state is I was at a different community different language altogether but I was spending some time with some other people who are also very very sought after speakers and have some stories to tell me you know they get so many requests a comes because these comments is that they had to stop making excuses they have to start lying about having personal commitments or a you know a death in the family or something else that they have to do to avoid you know it until avoid saying no because just saying no has stopped being and I a a point thank you but no I just don't have time it's not cutting and there some organizers out there they we ask actively hostile and being like 0 well so you'll do so common but not mind well now that you know and it just it driven crazy and their experience and I can imagine someone being not me but then the point that I wanna make is that you know if you the person doing the asking just be very careful that you don't cross over the line from being welcoming and encouraging into pressuring and and bullying in some cases don't do that please please don't be mean of and you know that's a token if you find that you're in the position where you're being pressured to contributed talk or contribute to a project and you can push back gently but firmly on some people may not know that it had kept putting on that much preference so you tell them thank so
finally we get to the good part they're actually something that you can say yes you know want you clear plate there are a lot of things in life thereafter to enjoy it you
can go outside for example uh you know your in can wait 0 no sorry that
out I hate and that's the 1 that you want it really is that beautiful sometimes and the you know the the point is that when you let
go of all those things that are waiting you down you can go and take on the things that you really love and this is just you know a quick sense cloud that occur together with a handful things that I enjoy doing that have nothing to do with code I'm sure you can think of hundreds more you know make a list and work toward that and then
finally and I know I know this is probably 1 of the most annoying acting in the history of humankind have been used to justify a lot of obnoxious behavior and I felt really bad at including but but if you think about it there's a kernel of truth there you know you you only get 1 life and you really owe it to yourself to make the best of it
thank you but my own even if the the if you have any