The tech industry is a great place to work. For a start, it offers endless opportunities. According to research firm Forrester, the global tech market will experience growth rates of around 6% this year and next, with software alone pegged to grow by 10%.
Remuneration is up too. The Wall Street Journal reports tech sector wage rates are accelerating, with compensation for key roles up 20% or more.
A tech sector career also provides opportunities for meaningful work in a fast-paced environment where skills are valued.
But there are challenges too.
The accelerating pace of change can feel overwhelming and anxiety that the skill you have today could be obsolete tomorrow is increasingly well grounded.
What’s more, while the sector’s pioneers envisaged it as a bastion of meritocracy, because tech has spread across every sector, today’s tech workers increasingly have to also navigate traditional-style office politics, hierarchies, and performance reviews. That’s on top of the constant change inherent in agile working. Phew!
Even before the pandemic, the World Health Organisation was flagging concerns.
In 2019 it included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases, not as a medical condition but as an occupational phenomenon, defining it as a syndrome arising from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.
It is characterised by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; a feeling of increased mental distance from your job; or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job.
Possible causes of job burnout
It can be the result of any number of factors including lack of control over your schedule, assignments or workload.
It can be the fault of unclear job expectations or dysfunctional dynamics such as a bullying boss. It could also arise from the fact that your work takes up so much of your energy that you simply don’t have enough to spend on your family, friends – or self.
If that sounds like you, don’t ignore the signs. The stress burnout causes can take a toll on your health. It can lead to insomnia, adding to feelings of fatigue and leaving you sad or irritable, and can even lead to heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
5 steps that will help
- Consider what changes in your work practices would help you get your mojo back. Talk to your line manager, or someone in HR, about practical changes to enhance your performance and help others too, such as establishing a right to disconnect.
- If your employer has an employee assistance programme, use it. If not, consider talking to a life or career coach, who can help you identify log jams in your professional life and the steps you need to take to overcome them.
- Make time for yourself to relax. The prestigious Mayo Clinic suggests taking up a relaxing activity that can help with stress such as yoga, meditation or tai chi. Mindfulness, “the act of focusing on your breath flow and being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment, without interpretation or judgement” can help too. “In a job setting, this practice involves facing situations with openness and patience, and without judgement,” it suggests.
- Exercise is a natural de-stressor. Regular physical activity can take your mind off work, reset your mood, and provide a healthy endorphin high.
- It will also help you sleep better. To further improve your sleep hygiene, ditch the screens before bed. The restorative and therapeutic benefits of a good night’s sleep might be all it takes to put workplace worries back into proper perspective.
2 steps that won’t
- Don’t attempt to ‘self-medicate’ with alcohol or substance abuse. You might get temporary relief but you’ll feel worse afterwards and compound the issue over time.
- Don’t let fear of change inhibit you. Your health is too important to put at risk for any job. If you have taken steps to banish burnout but are still suffering, it may be time to consider a job change.
New job, fresh start
Why not take advantage of the unprecedented demand from tech sector employers to find yourself a job that better meets your needs?
Here are three companies hiring right now:
Aiven, which provides managed open-source data technologies on all major clouds, has a number of vacancies, including this one for a customer-centric engineer based at its Paris office but working remotely.
Or how about this vacancy for a senior associate in tech giant Siemens’ cyber security team, based in Munich?
Accenture, a company with a long history of helping its clients leverage the latest technologies has loads of great opportunities including this one for a front-end web development lead based in Hartford, UK.
Don’t get burnout, get a better job.