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Feb 28, 2019 19:52:37

Tips for Avoiding Developer Burnout Part 2

by @danielmiller PATRON | 395 words | 10🔥 | 248💌

Daniel Miller

Current day streak: 10🔥
Total posts: 248💌
Total words: 67900 (271 pages 📄)

Since I made a list of the things I have seen most frequently lead to developer burnout, I thought I would just address each item. 

Not finding meaning in one's work. This one is tricky. You might be doing "meaningful work" and still not find any meaning in your work. For example, working for a totally dysfunctional nonprofit that's doing "good work" in the community. You might be able to find heaps of meaning at a company in some industry you find distasteful. Because meaning is a complex concept (worthy of books), it can be constructed in a variety of different work contexts. For a developer, this meaning often comes from working with other great people and perfecting one's craft. But there are a lot of other things that could contribute to a sense of meaningfulness. Hell, that's why successful companies have nice offices/campuses. It must mean something to work here!

Being routinely frustrated. This one is also a thorny one. Every developer is going to write code that never sees the light of day, or for a product that is a complete failure and is quickly discarded onto the rubbish pile of the world wide web. Rarely will a piece of code survive years, yet along decades (but obviously a lot of code does last decades). But to routinely be writing code that never makes it into a product being used by other humans is a recipe for burnout. The first piece of advice I have in this area is to not be too precious about it. You're writing code. You're (probably) not ushering in a new age of technological advancement. The second thing to do is to learn how to listen to "the business". A developer is, at the end of the day, serving the business, and discarded work is a result of some part of the organization making a mistake. The more a developer can position themselves to help guide the business away from those mistakes, the better. The farther in advance you can see a business misstep coming, the easier it will be to avoid it (even if it means just getting off the project). This is a delicate art that deserves its own piece of writing.


I'm only through two of my four reasons and over my 200 words and my son is begging to play Minecraft. More tomorrow...

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