Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Burnout

After about 5 years of near constant activity I'm finally beginning to feel the effects.

In 2004 I started a business. I would work over 100 hours a week including my day job trying to get that thing going (which never happened). The birth of Kate in December of that year really changed my life. Pretty much every since Kate has been to keep our heads above water financially.

Early 2005 I took a different job. They (graciously) allowed me to work up to 60 hours at for time. That certainly help alleviate some of the financial pressure.

In the last quarter of 2006 I got a call from a recruiter saying I could make two and a half times that money in Tampa. I took it. Unfortunately the contract only ended up lasting about 5 weeks before I rolled into a permanent position. That was WellCare.

About 1 year ago to the day, I was fired from WellCare, ostensibly for blogging about their layoffs. Strangely, last week they announced another round of layoffs.

I then took a contract (temp to perm) position at RevolutionMoney. My hopes were very high as it was still in the start-up phase and they were looking to compete with the likes of Visa and MasterCard. Less than 2 months later though I was let go.

Five weeks after that I was brought back as a permanent employee. Only to be furloughed 3 months later and brought back 4 days later.

In April I resigned and took a position with a new company.

Oy...

Where's the burnout?

I think all of this has led to a bit of burnout. I use to come home and after the kids went to bed starting work on some other side project. Now I just catch up on all the movies I've missed over the past 5 years. The desire to do new and different things is there, just not the will. I get on the computer and start doing other, more trivial stuff.

Lately I'm trying to get Oracle installed on Ubuntu. Mostly screwed that up and will probably have to reinstall everything. I know enough to be very dangerous.

At work I've lost a bit of my fight. I'm still passionate, I just don't have the desire to argue my point all the time. Yes, I know, choose your battles and all that. Most of the fights I've had though are fundamental, like constraints. Without a position of authority (Lead or Architect or DBA or something), I'm not sure I can get others to listen.

It's not like I'm socially inept. I know how to get along and work with others. I just don't know how (anymore) how to change their minds. I've tried proving my ideas out, but it mostly doesn't matter. I'm up against something larger here.

So, I'm a bit burned out. I have not posted a technical article here in more than a month. That's frustrating.

Have you had burnout similar to mine? How do you handle it? What do you do to get over it?

20 comments:

Tim... said...

Hi.

The worst thing you can do is get stressed about it. I was feeling similar to you a few months ago so I quit my job and decided to travel the world doing conferences and speaking about Oracle.

Pros: I'm having a great time and meeting lots of cool people from all over the world.

Cons: I'm not earning any money. :)

The best thing to do is to do nothing. Don;t force yourself to write and don;t get stressed about it. At some point your desire will come back without any prompting. :)

Cheers

Tim...

Aman Sharma said...

Hmm,

Strange but that's the same that I am feeling too at the moment. I am into trainings and believe me, I travel like anything and get paid as well for it. But from past some time( check my blog ) , I am feeling that I is really becoming too much! Again, neither I am disliking trainings and/or travels but its just that I am not able to make up mind to do it with a smile, I am doing it because I am doing it. So yes, this phase does come and its nota good phase. I haven't written over my oracle blog from quite a time. Just don't that urge to write over there at the moment!

The best way to overcome this is to leave it on time. It would come back for sure. Just don't let yourself be dishearted at all. That's the worst part. Its just not the right time may be, and like anything else, this time will pass too!

Cheers
Aman....

Martand Joshi said...

Hi...

Its really strange that I am also feeling the same nowdays ... have lot of things to do .. desire to do ... but just not doing it ... I want to have some change. Change that will help to get back to what I used to be a year back....

I feel the best way is to give some time to yourself .. do what u like to do and slowly get back to businesss...at least this is what I am doing.... I hope this recession and sluggish period will go soon and will able to bounce back to normal

Cheers !!!

MJ

Kris said...

standing right behind you love...

oraclenerd said...

as usual...thanks love.

oraclenerd said...

@tim

Good advice. I'm jealous too. ;)

I believe you're right...just wait out the storm. Stress is the key. Perhaps I could worry about more important things, like enjoying my family and such!

oraclenerd said...

@aman

I'm beginning to see a trend here. You and Tim both are traveling/working. Hmm...

Would be fun but I'd miss my family too much. I tried leaving for a week once (OOW in 2002), but I was painfully homesick. Plus I'd probably have to get a plane more often than I like (1 or more times ;).

Agreed though, time is probably the best medicine. I think I'll tackle the going to bed at a normal time first (i.e. before midnight).

Thank you sir.

Dave said...

I look at it another way, maybe were maturing and realize there is more to life than work. I've been a dba for the past 12 years and I am in the same 'rut'.

I have a list of stuff that i'd like to do outside work.. Move my personal blog to another platform, go through all my digital pictures and videos, etc.. However, by the time I get home, have supper, bring the kids to their activities or spend time with them and then goto the gym myself its 10pm . At that point I just want to unwind for a couple of hours before I hit the sack. Play a little xbox, watch 24 or Lost, etc.

oraclenerd said...

@Martand

This is what I like! :)

I hear you though. I can think of a few things I need to catch up on:
1. Sleep
2. Getting Healthy
2a. Eating Better
2b. Working Out

I'm fortunate to have an onsite gym now which makes it even easier. If I do a lot of 2b, 1 will certainly come a lot easier.

oraclenerd said...

@dave

Maturing...me? That's a little scary. :)

I get your point though. All my side stuff has always been around doing/building something. As much as I like woodworking, I suck at it. Reason enough to continue learning though right? That's why I like "coding" in that I can build something, tear it down and be done. No physical cleanup (tried manual labor, I'm not good at it).

Take your photoes/videos for instance. I would love to build an app that stores them, tags them and does a bunch of cool stuff. Not because I would be creating something new, but because I've always been interested in some sort of document management database.

But your point is taken.

jbl said...

Wow what a ride (your career track); talk about Feast or Famine. I haven't hit the burnout phase yet but then again, for better or worse, I tend to leave work at work. In fact, I don't even go near a computer when I'm home (preferring instead to zone-out to TV, cleaning out the garage, tweaking minor home renovations, musing about travel, deciding on a food service business, and lots and lots of cooking).

oraclenerd said...

@jbl

Feast or Famine is about right. Apropos coming from you. ;)

More than anything that "pushes" me is the desire to keep above water financially. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, I just wanted someone to pay me a gazillion dollars to do it. OK, not a gazillion, but more than I've typically made. My 7 years is closer to 10 or 12 in reality, but it's a hard sell. Plus I'm not much of a negotiator.

The other big push was starting a family. I am responsible for those other 3 monsters now...and there is no better motivation.

I need a hobby that doesn't involve computers just so this type of thing doesn't occur too often. Maybe I should take up cooking? ;)

Gary Myers said...

First recommendation is don't try installing Oracle on Ubuntu without Dizwell's DORIS script. It is the only thing still accessible through Dizwell.com.

My blog died a slow death too. You've seen the drawbacks about blogging about work. Not worth the risk in the current climate.

Take time with the kids, or away from the kids. Oracle will be there in another five or ten years.

ksadba said...

Don't push yourself, let the game come to you. Everybody go through this stage.

Hazem

oraclenerd said...

@ksadba

Thank you sir. I'll do just that.

chet

Noons said...

Hmmmm, dunno about burnout...

I went from 70 hour weeks running my show back in the 80s-90s to a boring 40 at full time work -and nearly half the moolah...

Mostly because I couldn't put my kid's education at risk from the economic vagaries of a one-man show.
That proved wise, given the dotcom implosion and the current econolypse.

And I don't regret having done so. It's taught me a lot about life and how to run the other thing: family.

Nowadays I find a lot of time beside work for other hobbies as well as the kids.

The urge to go back to unending 70 hour work is always there but I tend to rein it in: it simply doesn't pay off in the long run.

And I do tremendously enjoy the family time. My father was never home and I felt it a lot. I told myself I'd never do that to my kids.

Dunno if that is the perfect way or even the correct way. As usual, traditional education does its best to not train us to the reality of life, while teaching us everything about quarks and gravity...

All I can hope for is wing it in such a way that my kids won't be able to say: "he was never there".

And hope like crazy that is indeed important.

oraclenerd said...

@noons

econlypse? I like that word.

I was fortunate to have my father there. Sometimes I feel like it's hard to keep up with him and what he did (even now, as a grandfather).

I whole-heartedly agree though, family is the most important thing. Work comes and goes.

I think you've got it right. I certainly hope I get it right as well.

DomBrooks said...

Dude - sometimes you've got to just go with the flow, bob about on the ocean and wait for the right wave.

Anonymous said...

I deeply feel your frustration in being unable to convince others to take the most basic steps to safeguard data or build-in performance.

We have the Oracle E-Business Suite. Oracle puts warnings all over the place that changing data with tools like SQLPlus, Toad, etc. rather than through their interfaces can cause serious data corruption. They will no longer support the apps, which simply cannot be maintained without the support. Multi million dollar system trashed.

Still, I am constantly asked to make these kinds of changes or to open up access to our production system for someone else to do it.

Sometimes it is impossible to shake even the smartest people out of bad habits.

Two quotes help me in these times.

"Its my job to be better than the rest and that makes the day for me." - Jimmy Buffet

"Any day on the sunny side of the sod is a good day" - Unknown

Hang in there. It WILL get better.

oraclenerd said...

@Anonymous

Thanks for the encouragement.

My wife has a saying, I'm sure it can be attributed to someone else, but it is this:

"Never try to teach a goat to sing. It wastes your time, and it pisses off the goat."