Burnout and choices
I have often reached the state where I suddenly declare (internally) that enough is enough.
I have a long list of ideas that I’ve wanted to tackle since yesteryear. For the most part, all of these ideas remain viable. I know the industry needs it and I know it can transform the landscape of my life and the limitations thereof.
When I’m treated unfairly for long enough, I often look to the horizon of my withering dream list and think “If only I could just do what I want to”.
This blog is part of that dream of having something to turn to when I want to be productive and pout simultaneously. I want to build a platform where I can justify those moments that I leapt instead of succumbing to complacency.
The determining factors should however be an educated decision, after all, planning to quit the abusive safety net of employers, unrealistic deadlines, stress, and it’s illusion of reliability requires a lot of courage and a brilliant career move.
Here’s a few pointers that I’m employing in my everyday decision making to get me to the point of professional (and personal) happiness.
Dream a realistic dream
When I was 18, I dreamed about taking the tech world by storm. I was a pc store manager by day, a bartender by night, and I somehow worked in classes. Back then tech was such a pipedream, a booming industry with a bunch of stereotypes that required tinkering in your free time as oppose to the here I am take me on this bed of binary variety.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my job(s) but I wasn’t passionate about chasing customers off my bar counter with a baseball bat. My passion since I was three, was science and tech. I loved the stars and I loved DOS.
My uncle, who was a brilliant mind, introduced me to the world of computing. Outside his exciting career of stealing watches to keep his girlfriend fed, he loved playing video games, tinkered with rudimentary code, and also dreamed of being in tech.
Needless to say, the thrill of what the power of the mighty keyboard can do had me hooked. I needed to know all there was to computers and thus, a girl with a dream was born (or something like that).
Keeping dreams realistic has been challenging over the years but age has rendered me my biggest critic. Balance has long been the high I’ve been chasing, a healthy balance between life’s demands, my needs as a person, and my needs as a professional is the ultimate prize.
Don’t get sucked in the “I’m all in *leap*” if you’re going to struggle and lose your way. Don’t get sucked into the 9-5 if your passion is going to die. Find a way forward where you can stay true to all you want to achieve, trust me, it’s the only way you’ll feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to do and stick to it without burning out.
Set your goals
Whether it’s leveling up a skill or two or launching your startup .. you need to set realistic goals with markers for major milestone achievements.
Think of it as a roadmap. You’re going to encounter a few detours, sometimes client work might pop out of the blue or life throws you a curveball… you have to be malleable enough to adapt and goal orientated enough to steer the course despite any setbacks.
Micro goals are the way to have daily motivation to continue do what you do (or want to do best)
Try tools like Clickup to manage your projects. There are PM tools out there that will streamline your day and comms. Learn to be better at managing the stuff that’s tedious, automate what you can, and focus on the prize – your code.
Know your numbers
Figure out how to achieve the minimum amount of money required for comfortable survival and manage your time efficiently so you have ample time dedicated to your passion projects. If you learn to achieve this balance, you’d have peace of mind which will help you concentrate on tasks at hand.
Start planning, make a budget and stick to it. Make sure to work on a rainy day amount that’s worked in monthly to account for broken cords, a dead car battery, or whatever hiccups you may/ may not encounter. You’ll thank me later (I hope you don’t have to at all!)
Notify those that you’re responsible for
If you’re anything like me, this part will be the trickiest of all.
I somehow had the notion in my head that my family has grown to expect me to live up to a role. The role of provider fell on my shoulders a lot and so I wanted things to run as smoothly as possible at all times so they would never have to stress about the day to day life drama.
Life has taught me that if you continue to wait for the perfect set of events your goals will never be achieved. It’s never going to be the perfect time to embark on your journey of professional freedom. The best approach is to notify those around you that you’re financially responsible for; tell them you’re making changes and require adherence to a new budget that will make the transition possible. Stick to your guns, don’t be deterred, don’t feel bad that you can’t afford as much in the beginning. Remember, as long as the basics are covered, you’re free to build a (new) life.
Leap and know that you got this
At the end of the day, the biggest motivator is going to be yourself. If you set your micro goals list daily you’d have motivation to go on and conquer day 2 and so forth. If you’re seeing the change within yourself and your achievements then you’ll be motivated to stick to it. During your difficult days, you’d see your accomplishments thus far and be determined to push through them.
You got this. . and if you need that extra push, reach out. If all else fails, let’s open that hot dog stand together bud!