What’s your burnout story?

Microsoft Darth G
Feb 21 222 Comments

How did you get burnout and how did you recover?

Mine: I founded and led a startup for years that ultimately ran out of cash. Instead of taking a break I jumped straight into a cross country move and a high pressure engineering management role in a new super fucked up organization that almost immediately started imploding: massive overwork, endless project cancellations, team reshuffling, etc. Did that for a year and I’m so burned out I can’t even get out of bed to go to work anymore. Planning to just resign.

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TOP 222 Comments
  • Amazon
    poorrep

    Amazon

    PRE
    Amazon
    poorrepmore
    I was in consulting for many years and was working multiple clients at any given time. During one week, I remember clocking 85 hours and that went on for months. Then, they asked me start traveling, so I started traveling on Sundays, so I could make it to the client site by Monday. 2 years went by like this, with 1 day in the weekend. I went to the doctor and she said I’d gained weight, had high blood pressure and borderline cholesterol. I came home that day and sent an email to the partner saying that week would be my last week. Best decision I ever made! A month later, the partner got fired because of the burnout on the team. Moral of the story: don’t be an idiot and put yourself through that.
    Feb 21 18
    • Microsoft / Product
      Brazuka

      Microsoft Product

      PRE
      Bain & Company
      Brazukamore
      My story is similar at Bain, had a terrible WLB, hated the micromanaging. Best thing that ever happened to me was them not sponsoring my MBA. I got a scholarship almost immediately, had 2 awesome years away from that mess and now have a cool job which I have great autonomy and impact while maintaining a fantastic lifestyle.
      Feb 24
    • Facebook sogone
      Love stories these stories of people leaving the meat grinder and moving on to better times. May sound cheesy but helps me to read these.
      Feb 26
    • Amazon
      poorrep

      Amazon

      PRE
      Amazon
      poorrepmore
      @sogone Helps everyone, trust me. Given our risk averse culture and how we are taught to have no gaps in our resume, I think the modern workforce needs to question those things and put themselves first. If you need the time, take it. Smart companies shouldn’t want a workforce that’s burnt out!
      Feb 26
    • EY / Consultant
      smists777

      EY Consultant

      PRE
      Dimension Data, Unisys
      smists777more
      Taking inspiration from this post. Currently burnt out in consulting and trying to move but I just end up getting consulting firm calls. I guess I will be persistent. If anyone is open to referring, please let me know
      Feb 26
    • Microsoft Darth G
      OP
      Honestly the best career opportunities have happened when I was resigned or otherwise unemployed
      Feb 26
  • Uber Shutdwn
    An incompetent manager can cause burnout too. Not setting clear expectations, not supporting your growth, making chaotic decisions leaving you constantly running at the same spot wondering what he / she wants when they aren't really give a shit about you.
    Feb 23 19
    • Microsoft [
      Definitely this
      Feb 24
    • Facebook ujrx8r0
      What shutdwn describes is exactly my situation at FB and the very source of my burnout.
      Feb 24
    • DoorDash nonefactor
      +1
      Feb 24
    • Cruise Automation / Eng ummmwtf
      Omg so much this +1
      Feb 25
    • Microsoft / Eng Bsiw8sy2j8
      +1 doing an internal transfer as a result
      Feb 26
  • Microsoft osama
    I lost a couple of people from my family within two years and almost all my emotional support and plans about the future gone with their sudden deaths as well. I have been so lonely and lost my bonds with life since then and the recovery is too slow and painful. I thought that I was prepared for everything in life but it looks like I wasn't. The hardest thing is that no one gives a shit and they still expect you deliver stuff and be cheerful etc. I have a newborn now and things are getting better but still the life feels like lots of meaningless shit to me.
    Feb 22 13
    • Indeed / PR CDwY37
      Sorry you had to go through this. It’s a long painful process and sometimes nothing seems to work. It’s been almost two years since my traumatic experience and I still struggle day in day out. I lost my job because of it and am looking for a job while partially care taking for my parent who is recently diagnosed of cancer. It’s a dark tunnel, sometimes I just want to take a rest but I know I can’t. It will be different eventually, it just takes time I guess.
      Feb 24
    • Booking.com b.nope
      @CDwY37
      Stay strong, bro. I know, that is tough times. Parents are very important, but they wont be happy if you destroy your life because of them.
      Feb 24
    • @osama I can relate to your situation. I lost some of my best fallback and support in the family in past five years. I have been feeling depressed for about two years now.
      Occasionally I get triggered in wierd ways like I started crying when a feature which I was working on got assigned to another employee. I won't have ever imagined that I will be this sensitive to such trivial stuff.
      I keep reminding myself that this is trivial and I should get over it.

      On the plus side : I have never been able to relate to those people who get upset on small stuff or keep remembering years old deaths and grievances. After these episodes I feel more compassionate towards them. I wonder if all this experience is God's way of teaching me empathy towards the people whose behavior I haven't been able to logically understand.
      Feb 24
    • Facebook / Design YOL28
      I had difficult times in life, but during my time in Europe. I took 6 month off and reinvented how I want to live my life. Loss sucks. If you want to heal the daemon try some healing in Peru. They have very effective methods. No joke.
      Feb 27
    • eBay tonytony
      Life is meaningless shit. And the purpose of this shit is to find a meaning.... how ironic
      Mar 1
  • Amazon Strike
    I work at amazon
    Feb 23 1
  • Facebook Ux35jh
    I work at Facebook. Must say that it is the most stressful job I ever have.
    Feb 23 16
    • Facebook sogone
      I’m in Infra HWE.
      Feb 24
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      I swear the more I read about HWE I get spooked. Seems like they work you like dogs
      Feb 24
    • Facebook HkNn74
      Where did you work for before? While I agree it can be stressful, compared to my old job in consulting, it’s super relaxed. Had similar situation as someone else who posted earlier in this thread and completely burned out, took me a long time to feel normal again.
      Feb 24
    • Facebook soakansh
      Change teams - it is easy
      Feb 24
    • Facebook fooody
      Also a SWE at fb. Been here for 2.5 years and all I can say is that it HIGHLY depends on your team. My old team was a shit show regarding WLB. Everyone worked 60+ hours and weekends. My new team is super chill, I don’t work more than 35h/week with the same ratings. (Both teams in core app)
      Feb 25
  • Microsoft osama
    Do not resign. Take a leave and take care of yourself.
    Feb 22 8
    • Worst case they fire you and you lose your job there, but I don't see you lose anything from there .
      Feb 23
    • Microsoft desidude
      Hasn't anyone here heard of FMLA?
      Feb 23
    • Microsoft [
      Talk to your HR Benefits person about fmla
      Feb 24
    • Amazon / Mgmt KYuG83
      At Amazon if you take a leave they will backfill you and manage you out when you return, unless it is parental or medical leave.
      Feb 24
    • LabCorp / IT
      [🗿]

      LabCorp IT

      PRE
      Amazon
      [🗿]more
      No work life balance, when they don't let you to take leave.. Time to think of someone who can think of you as well..
      Feb 24
  • SpaceX / Eng plokjimnb
    I was tired of working my ass off for stupid ad tech so I quit my job to work on rockets and now I am even more burnt out lol
    Feb 23 5
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Well ya you went to spaceX, lol c’mon now
      Feb 23
    • Pandora joystick
      How did you make that move? What’s your role?
      Feb 23
    • SpaceX / Eng plokjimnb
      I'd rather not say exactly as it is a pretty small group and I'd dox myself.
      Feb 24
    • Amazon DankMatta
      Did you expect anything else lol? Musk's companies are known for their high stress environments
      Feb 25
    • SpaceX / Eng plokjimnb
      I signed up for the pain in trade for a cool life experience and being able to contribute to something I like (progress in space exploration, not musk). I knew I would burn out eventually. But i'm half joking about burning out, so far I'm more or less OK. But it wasn't exactly a good career move..lol. More like career sacrifice, like spending a couple years in the Peace corps or something
      Feb 26
  • Microsoft innocent
    To burnout, you need to put the transmission into D, hold the footbrake down as firmly as possible, build up the revs of the car by pushing the throttle pedal.
    Feb 23 5
    • Airbnb NasirMack
      Or you may just completely lose control
      Feb 23
    • Morgan Stanley
      ggdjD17

      Morgan Stanley

      PRE
      Microsoft
      ggdjD17more
      Sounds like my project
      Feb 23
    • New
      turduck’n

      New

      PRE
      GoPro
      turduck’nmore
      Great description!!
      Feb 23
    • Amazon / Eng pajamaman
      So basically keep working hard and get nowhere
      Feb 23
    • New Ti81R6
      Good metaphor. Maybe you just need to release the brake to get things going. Figuring out what is holding the brake could be challenging
      Feb 24
  • Microsoft Etxz24
    I work about 50-60 hours per week and I'm taking 21 credit hours this semester to try amd finish my undergrad.

    Im a cloud architect. Kill me please.
    Feb 23 4
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Do you like the work though? Lol
      Feb 23
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Been studying for Solution architecture; not sure if it’s chill or high stress
      Feb 23
    • HP / Eng
      Brodozer

      HP Eng

      PRE
      F5 Networks
      Brodozermore
      Cloud architect without an undergrad degree? Explain...
      Feb 23
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Uhh undergrad should be implied.. and MS. Just not in CS
      Feb 23
  • New
    turduck’n

    New

    PRE
    GoPro
    turduck’nmore
    I kept on saying “this is fine, this is how it goes, just keep doing your best”. My mind was that puppy, standing in the burning room saying “this is fine”.

    My body stopped working though. It got sick. Really sick. It just didn’t like what I was doing at all. It didn’t like any of it and would shut down randomly. They called it “panic”. I wasn’t panicking. I was fine. My body made me dizzy. My body made me feel like I was dying. My body made me scared that my time on earth was ending.

    But my mind was just confused. What the hell is happening to me? My mind had the will, the drive, the desire. My body said stop.

    So I stopped. 12 weeks medical leave. Tai chi, nature walks. Relaxation. I’ve been ok since. But it was bad. The worst part is, I would still be going if my body didn’t start going into fight or flight.
    Feb 23 2
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Yeah you shouldn’t do that to urself lol
      Feb 23
    • Visa Uejkos9
      This happened to me too. It was horrible. Took a couple of months to figure out what was going on with my body. Turns out it was my brain after all. Panic attacks are no joke.
      Feb 24
  • Microsoft
    Happy Mats

    Microsoft

    PRE
    Apple
    Happy Matsmore
    I lost my job, and took an honest assessment of what I was doing. I realized I let recruiters source me to jobs I didn’t want even through they were well compensated. Then I would work round the clock at these jobs while being miserable because it was what I was “supposed” to do and I was “lucky” to have the opportunity. The next recruiting season I interviewed people as much as they interviewed me, turned down interviews for jobs I didn’t want, and focused 100% only on opportunities I had high interest in. I also didn’t let recruiters source me to jobs I didn’t want by making it clear what I wanted to interview for. I’m thankful it worked.

    P.s I also stopped working for a full year to recenter myself during this time and focused on spending time with my family because I had neglected them for the past 3 years.
    Feb 23 1
    • Booking.com Bfkeo894hd
      What were the opportunities you had high interest in? I feel like I've made the same mistake, letting recruiters source me to jobs that I didn't want just because they were highly compensated. Now I want to change but don't know what I want.
      Feb 25
  • Autodesk prexitonic
    Currently having a constant level of stress that is both specific and vague at the same time. All the work I do seems over complicated at every level and whenever I attempt to bring it up it gets brushed off as perfectly normal. This leads me to thinking that it’s just me that “doesn’t get it” which adds more stress. I try to study more and improve at my job, but the more I learn the more I am convinced that things at work are way more complicated than they need to be. Project roadmaps are way too strict, requirements for tasks are vague and almost never account for any possible errors. Business rules are defined but not really documented only passed along view meeting notes. So I am constantly asking why we are doing things this way, but everyone keeps saying that it’s a good process, so I basically feel stupid for not understanding, stressed out because of frustration, and stuck because I fear working here has quite literally made me worse at what I do so I am trapped.
    Feb 26 6
    • Autodesk prexitonic
      This makes sense. The idea of being elsewhere definitely makes sense. The problem for me is that I was never a low performer on my team. Quite the opposite. I just did all of that while being frustrated and feeling stupid. If I am being really honest, I didn’t really notice this stuff or the feeling of burnout at all. Not until I started dreading going into work or when I stopped asking questions or giving my opinion on things. I just did whatever work was put in front of me and left. After a little while it all sort of hit me like a brick to the head. It has been difficult to deal with as it has very seriously affected my confidence in my ability even though I can obviously see that my work has not suffered, but as it goes emotional damage does not really have to follow any logical rules, it just exists until you find a way to deal with it.

      So I would definitely like to be elsewhere, but I’m not really in a good enough place to interview right now. I have tried and I have just completely frozen up when given problems that I am entirely capable of answering or walking through. I begin to second guess myself a lot and by the time I realize I have been silent for just long enough to make it awkward. This is what gave me a clue that I might be fighting with fatigue or burnout.
      Feb 26
    • Amazon Hhjg
      This 🙌🏻 confidence levels definitely take a hit when dealing with this kinda shit
      Feb 26
    • eBay vta
      The only remedy for burnout is step back. Working hard would not solve, step back don't mean quit.. care bit less about thing make you burnout, take a vacation and tune off, switch team. I never seen anyone burnout due to work load, it's shit loaded management and co-worker or no right accountability, which hardworking cannot solve. Once you recover from burnout you will have better view to handle your situation. Burnout is not productive for both health and work. Care for yourself first, Your CEO will not die if something happened to your product or project you are working, but your beloved may if something happened to you.
      Feb 26
    • Splunk KE94107
      @prexitonic I hear ya. I wish the whole job-interviewing process were as easy as it was in the decade before 2010! It’s a royal pain now.
      Feb 27
    • Autodesk prexitonic
      I have never been committed to a company enough to think much about what the ceo wants. Unless I have a direct incentive to put in more than reasonable amount of extra work it generally doesn’t go that way. I always value my life over work, that’s part of why the things I am experiencing now took me by surprise. It definitely sucks.

      As for the interview process, I don’t mind it being difficult. It makes sense that it is. It just sucks to freeze up because of self doubt. That’s all on me.
      Feb 27
  • Airbnb / Eng 0x00000000
    I worked at Facebook
    Feb 23 3
    • Facebook ujrx8r0
      Is Airbnb better?
      Feb 24
    • Airbnb / Eng 0x00000000
      Much better
      Feb 24
    • Airbnb opsdude
      This place is amazing
      Mar 9
  • Microsoft BlueScreen
    Left MSFT for a startup after 10 years. That lasted several years, and was bought out by....MSFT! Wound up back here again ( at least I didn’t have to interview!!!!!). But that itch is back.
    Feb 23 4
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Let me have your job then
      Feb 23
    • Amazon ldjsd62
      Probably made millions in the process?
      Feb 23
    • Flagged by the community.

    • Microsoft PMM’d
      Xamarin?
      Feb 24
  • Apple / Eng BangOver
    When my mom came visit for 2 full months
    Feb 23 1
    • Microsoft
      Happy Mats

      Microsoft

      PRE
      Apple
      Happy Matsmore
      Lol
      Feb 23
  • Walmart.com derrrrrp
    We have great pay and great Work/Life balance. And we are hiring.

    PM me and I will refer you.
    Feb 23 5
    • New
      turduck’n

      New

      PRE
      GoPro
      turduck’nmore
      If you are in corporate. What about the thousands of regular employees that your company abuses :(
      Feb 23
    • Walmart.com derrrrrp
      PM me and I will refer you.
      Feb 23
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      But Walmart? I just idk, i picture your office with a McDonald’s inside
      Feb 23
    • Walmart.com derrrrrp
      Google our e-commerce news. Or be happy with what you have.
      Feb 23
    • New / Other
      Tzal02

      New Other

      PRE
      Blue Cross Blue Shield
      Tzal02more
      @walmart
      Any Remotes or is it all in office?
      Feb 24
  • Google QCNY71
    I have had strep throat for two months, someone dude at work is trying to take credit for my work during perf, worked 10+ hour days the past two q's covering for someone on maternity leave and doing my full time job. I cant go on. #rantover
    Feb 23 2
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      Speak up. Don’t let that shit go unnoted
      Feb 23
    • BYTON kgxdb
      Stories like this make my blood boil 😫
      Feb 24
  • Microsoft huiii
    I was very close to burnout some years ago. Worked 80+ hours, studied in parallel, had a shit relationship that time and worked even Sundays and Saturdays. So one day I didn’t feel anything...nothing could motivate me to work, not even the money.

    I took 5 weeks off and recovered slowly over a year. But I had to learn to be focused on one single thing at a time. It was a really hard learning and bad time. Spent hours and hours in the woods and walked...walked...and walked...that helped me a lot.

    However, even though it‘s been years ago it‘s still not completely fixed as things like money or cars (what i loved much) can‘t really motivate me. Things that have been fun are now somehow boring. But i‘m recovered and successful in my role. I spend 2-4 hours a day with work...and it seems to be enough. I put myself first...and still looking for the real reason why i‘m on this planet. One thing that I know for sure is that it‘s not because of a shitty job and helping others to get rich!

    Take your time to recover!
    Feb 24 3
    • Microsoft iSatya
      That's right
      Feb 24
    • Amazon ldjsd62
      Do you think it’s due to age or did something else happen? How to get motivated again and feel great again?
      Feb 24
    • Microsoft huiii
      I got help from a physician and read a few inspiring books. From Tony Robbins to others. That helped me to realize that high expectations and perfectionism paired with loads of work lead to burnout. This time opened my eyes...while I felt burned out I started to realize that there are much more things which are worth to live. And guess what, it‘s not the job and the money! I felt that deeply for the very first time. Before, I was just thinking it‘s all about the money...and I need to chase it. What a mistake. Since then i‘m chasing my dreams and left money chasing behind...interesting is even though I don‘t really chase it i feel richer than before, and looking at my bank account gives me the same feeling. My advice: ask yourself what you wanna do and accomplish in your life apart of having a well paid job. I‘m still in the process but i‘m closer to the answer than ever before. And btw. It has nothing to do with the age I guess. I was around 30 when it happened.
      Feb 24
  • Zendesk bbtmt
    My crypto side project took off at the same time I switched job. I had no choice but to make it a startup with registered company name. One of my pals from the side project went full time on it but I stayed with my old(new) company. The company's work is very balanced but as a new comer I had a lot of learnings to do. Other than that I spent all my free time supporting my pal on the startup and sometimes had to go to oversea conferences as well. Life was hell until the whole crypto space (kinda) died at the end of last year. A blessing in disguise.
    Feb 23 2
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng HowCouldYu
      BTC 50k end of 2020
      Feb 23
    • Zendesk pensie
      I dont argue against that but we did not ICO or crowdfunded. The project is an application that survives solely on its revenue so its hard to keep our 10 employees fed until that time.
      Feb 23
  • Oracle ora-911
    because of people like you working your ass off and screwing your life and of those around you these companies expect everone to be like you guys. just slow down and enjoy life. you are not going live till hundred and even if you do majority of that remaining life till 100 you will live like a vegetable. slow down and learn to say no to your companies to stop sucking your blood.
    Feb 23 0