13 Stages of IT Burnout

r/sysadmin is one of my favorite places to hang out, not only to keep up with what’s happening out there in the industry but also to learn a lot of perspectives outside or inside of the IT world, such as the types or levels of burnout like this, along with many awesome comments by my IT fellows.

=== Common and easy to escape ===

  1. The Compulsion to Prove Oneself: demonstrating worth obsessively; tends to hit the best employees, those with enthusiasm who accept responsibility readily.
  2. Working Harder: an inability to switch off.

== Recovery alone becomes difficult ===

3) Neglecting Needs: erratic sleeping, eating disrupted, lack of social interaction.

4) Displacement of Conflicts: problems are dismissed; we may feel threatened, panicky, and jittery.

=== Easy recovery with the help of another ===

5) Revision of Values: Values are skewed, friends and family dismissed, hobbies seen as irrelevant. Work is the only focus.

6) Denial of Emerging Problems: intolerance; perceiving collaborators as stupid, lazy, demanding, or undisciplined; social contacts harder; cynicism, aggression; problems are viewed as caused by time pressure and work, not because of life changes.

=== Recovery with the help of another becomes hard ===

7) Withdrawal: social life small or nonexistent, need to feel relief from stress, alcohol/drugs.

8) Odd Behavioral Changes: changes in behavior obvious; friends and family concerned.

=== Easy medical intervention still possible ===

9) Depersonalization: seeing neither self nor others as valuable, and no longer perceive own needs.

10) Inner Emptiness: feeling empty inside and turning to activities such as overeating, sex, alcohol, or drugs to overcome this.

=== Serious medical help needed to recover ==

11) Depression: feeling lost and unsure, exhausted, future feels bleak and dark.

12) Burnout Syndrome: can include total mental and physical collapse

=== Recovery no longer possible ===

13) Death

Please be kinder to yourself and get the help you need before it is too late.

IT is a fun career if you are into computers but it could also be ruthless, easily get burned out. Be mindful, and don’t be trapped in the rabbit hole. Get a hobby that is not computer related and enjoy your life, not just your work but your own life.

3 thoughts on “13 Stages of IT Burnout

  1. I know what it’s like, I got to 11 and then fundamentally changed my view.
    Unfortunately, you don’t get any help at the beginning, only at the end.
    It was hard but I learned a lot about myself.

    1. So sorry to hear that, Ralf, but I am glad you were able to put it behind. Life is much bigger than IT. 🙂

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