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What is productivity guilt, and are you suffering from it at work?

In a tech landscape where layoffs have been rife since the middle of 2022, the fear that your workplace might be next is a really understandable worry. 
What is productivity guilt, and are you suffering from it at work?

In a tech landscape where layoffs have been rife since the middle of 2022, the fear that your workplace might be next is a really understandable worry. 

Tech’s behemoths have laid off tens of thousands of employees over the past 12 months, as have smaller European start-up and scale-up companies. Since January, thousands of jobs have been lost at companies such as Casavo, an Italy-based platform for buying and selling houses, which laid off 30% of its workforce.

Brainly, a Polish edtech firm, laid off 23 employees in January and Barcelona-based grocery delivery company Glovo has also cut around 250 jobs. 

These are just some of the heads that have been culled, and with the current uncertain economic environment rocked further by the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, things aren’t likely to improve much in the short term.

Left behind

For those left behind after a layoff, the feeling of relief that you still have a job can be tinged with a form of survivor's syndrome. You might feel bad you’re still employed, yet worried about your own future prospects, as well as angry at the company for putting you in this position.

Increased workloads due to reduced team sizes have impacts too. An EU-OSHA workers’ survey found that 44% of European workers report that their work stress has increased, and almost half of respondents (46%) said they are exposed to severe time pressures or work overload. 

Poor communication or cooperation within work, plus a lack of control over the pace of work are other stressors. Thirty percent of respondents said they had developed at least one health problem, including overall fatigue, headaches, eyestrain, muscle problems or pain.

It’s no wonder then that European workers feel disenfranchised. For some, the stress they feel can manifest itself as “quiet quitting”, aka doing the bare minimum to collect their paycheque, but for others, what’s known as productivity guilt can come to the fore.

Productivity guilt is born from feelings of inadequacy, and is similar to perfectionism in that as you strive to do more, be more, and prove your worth, you can get caught up in a cycle of unrealistic expectations. 

Constantly seeking to outdo your last project or “perform” your job better than anyone else can cause stress, imposter syndrome and low self-esteem.

Get help

If you recognise yourself in the above description, the good news is there are a few things you can do to mitigate your feelings. Start by examining the source of why you feel guilt: is the pressure coming from you, or is your manager telling you that you’re not working hard enough?

Comparison is the thief of joy––are you looking at what others are doing and finding yourself wanting? Because everyone has their own skills and strengths, this won’t serve you. Instead, take a look at your output now, compared to previous years. It’s likely you’re doing enough.

And lastly, minding your mental health is vital. That means logging off when you're supposed to, getting proper rest and building in relaxation periods where you disconnect from work completely.

If none of the above are quite doing the trick, it could be time to move on to a company where work-life balance is prioritised. Check out three open roles below, with many more to discover on the Tech EU Job Board.

Senior Infrastructure Security Engineer, N26, Berlin

N26 is seeking a passionate Senior Infrastructure Security Engineer to own and drive the cloud infrastructure security function roadmap, and proactively identify and mitigate security threats within AWS infrastructure, to improve security maturity. To be considered, you’ll need deep understanding and advanced experience of securing, at minimum, AWS cloud infrastructure environments, CI/CD pipelines, containerized environments and Linux systems. Get full information on the role here.

Staff Software Engineer, Security, Sorare, Paris

Sorare is at the intersection of sports, gaming, and NFT collectibles. The Staff Software Engineer for Security will lead engineering efforts and partner with various teams to ensure security concerns are addressed, build paved roads that establish secure-by-default configurations, and detect and protect against critical threats that may impact games. You'll need six years of professional experience in security at a software company as well as three years leading or managing a security team, plus a strong understanding of cloud environments (preferably AWS), OS, and Linux internals. Apply for this role now.

Java Full Stack Developer (all genders) for Industry X, Accenture, Berlin

Are you a specialist in Java development, open to innovative and future topics in production and feel at home on all software levels? Accenture is seeking a Java Full Stack Developer (all genders) for Industry X, its division that uses data, the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to help businesses adapt their engineering and manufacturing operations. In this role you’ll take care of the development, implementation and architecture of customer solutions throughout the development process of highly innovative software applications in the frontend and backend environment. And as customers are based in German-speaking countries, good to very good knowledge of German is required (at least C1 level).View more details here

For more opportunities across tech visit the Tech EU Job Board today 

Lead image: Jacqueline Day

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