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On burnout and technical management

Jono posted recently the slidedeck for his famous 12 stages of burnout presentation. I highly recommend this presentation, especially to technical teams working from home.

I think we are especially vulnerable to burnout, with limited social interactions and sporadic discussions with our peers and managers. It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of the first two stages, trying to prove yourself and work harder. And from there we are vulnerable to falling into the spiral of the next ten stages.

This highlights one important role of managers of technical teams: to protect ourselves from this outcome. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself if your manager makes you confident you’re in the right place and you earned your position. You shouldn’t have to work harder if your work output is closely monitored and realistic goals have been set for you.

Technical managers have lots of duties. They must build their team, define objectives, ensure that goals are reached, protect their team from vertical and horizontal organizational hazards… But keeping their team in shape is one of their most important duties, and detecting and avoiding burnout in their team is an important part of it.

Your family and your peers can watch your back and help you recover from it. But a good manager should save you from it.

Categories: Ubuntu
  1. LaserJock
    July 31, 2009 at 22:19

    So I guess one question would be if Ubuntu has enough technical managers.

  2. July 31, 2009 at 22:21

    Dude, you said “You shouldn’t have to prove yourself if your manager makes you confident you’re in the right place and you earned your position.”

    This is right on. It’s why it is so important for managers to say thanks to their employees and show their appreciation. When we *know for sure* that they know we are doing a good job, rather than thinking that they dislike our work, we don’t have to kill ourselves to keep on trying to prove *we can do it*. I always appreciate folks giving me a hearty and thoughtful thank you, and I make sure to offer it to folks I work with, it just creates the right kind of friendly atmosphere.

  3. August 1, 2009 at 08:42

    I suffer from burnout:\ It will take my a lot of time to get out of it.

  4. Berend
    August 2, 2009 at 16:21

    OK, so this has applied to me since I was six (apart from the alcohol bit.)

    What does that mean?

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