Saturday, February 18, 2012

burnout culture

Robey makes a good point (as he often does), in response to geek and longtime blogger Jeff Atwood leaving the company he started a few years back:
Atwood's article is excellent, and quotes a couple of other successful tech people with similar experiences. They watched Steve Jobs die, and then probably read his biography, and realized that while he was a driven and brilliant design genius, he was also a dick who had miserable relationships with a lot of the people closest to him. Sure, sure, you can psychoanalyze it all you like, we all grow from causes and conditions, but the keywords remain. "Dick." "Miserable."

This is all a little funny to me since I do spend a fair bit of time working, but I do it because it's fun and engaging, all the more so now that I'm a team lead, where I have the additional incentive of working directly to help my team be happier. This is the first time since 2006 that I've dedicated significant resources to a job: everything has to take a turn, I guess, and right now it's work. I'm never again going to work the way I was at 22 or 23, because jeez, why would I? I worked really hard, but I wasn't working effectively, and I hadn't yet learned that sacrificing your time and health will not actually bring any reward.

If I left work an hour earlier, I could see J for that time sometimes; but that's time when he's in the middle of the End-of-Day Routine, so he's either eating, reading, or involved with Anna somehow. I make a solid effort to be around in the mornings until they leave, in the evenings for the Quelling, and weekends (working around what sometimes seems like endless Zen things). And we only have him half-time, anyway. It seems to be all right, for the moment.

This isn't to say any of us should be doing one specific thing or another; "the right thing" changes over time, anyway. I do insist that we should be aware of the tradeoffs we're making.

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