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Anonymous

How do you deal with burnout?

Been working in tech for about 3 years. The past 2 years in startups. When I first started I found it really easy to keep my energy up, I was excited about everything. But I'm finding lately I go through these periods where I can't even bare to look at my laptop or phone. Usually it goes away after a few days, but I feel like I'm stuck in a cycle.
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Andreas Klinger
Andreas Klinger@andreasklinger · Tech at Product Hunt 💃
  1. knowledge work requires your brain to be refreshed
  2. there is positive stress and negative stress
  3. negative stress is the feeling of losing control
  4. burnout happens when you feel nothing you do matters (eg lost control or impact/effort is close to zero)
Details: Very often people assume burnout comes from working too much. This isn't true. You can work a ton and feel amazing. You can work next to nothing in a bad team and completely burn out. Re. startups: Often startups are led by inexperienced managers. My rule of thumb is that first-time founders will burnout their first line of employee hires (don't be one of them). Why do employees burn out easier than founders? Often employees are less likely to be in control than founders - employees work hard on something that all of a sudden becomes "pointless", they try to catchup w/ every little pivot in the heads of the founders, they create their own work just to hear it's useless. All of this is bad management. If you feel like you burnout it's usually because of bad management - discuss it, if you can't fix it leave before you lose your self-confidence or get physical problems. If you are a manager everything around you is your fault - *especially* burnouts. How to notice you are heading the wrong way: You burn out when you work but your work "doesn't matter". There might be no impact to your work, or the impact is just not proportional to the effort it takes. You are doing things wrong or you are doing the wrong things. Sooner or later you start questioning yourself in every little step you do. You become low motivated and indecisive. First, you try to avoid decisions and try to find motivation in routine. Then this all of a sudden doesn't really work anymore. Then from one day to another your work literally becomes pointless to you and it's bleak around you. The workload usually doesn't matter too much - it's just one of the variable - good management (if you are founder than it's self-management) is usually the most impactful one. What is good management? Barely know this myself - still a learner here like everyone else… This might be a good advice topic by itself
Logan Bean
Logan Bean@loganb · Elkadeo
@andreasklinger Love your response, and I think you're absolutely right about where burnout actually comes from. I can chime in on "what makes good management?" There are essentially 5 paradigms of management. Or 5 different perspectives people take when they try to figure out how to get a team to work together. Each one has a pretty distinct feel or management style to it, but the important thing to recognize is that each step up the ladder increases the teams engagement while also increasing its capacity to handle higher levels of complexity in the problems they are solving. (or in other words, the higher forms of management make for better work cultures) Here are the five paradigms: 1.) RED - The Compulsive Paradigm (or strong man paradigm): The person with the most power or influence tells people what to do. This is the first kind of organization that CAN exist. If a bunch of people are thrown into the wilderness. Generally the first kind of organization that emerges is one where people say, "Hey, who's the strongest person here? I should team up with that guy ... because if I don't ... My survival might be on the line." The driving emotion is FEAR. People make choices out of the necessity to satisfy basic biological needs (like surviving) This might be you if you're just in a job because it pays the bills, and if you don't have the money you'd be in trouble. 2.) AMBER - The Conformist Paradigm: The person in the right POSITION has the power to tell people what to do. After a period of time, a Strong Man organization can only grow so much. Its hard to scale. So historically the strong man would start to delegate his authority. "This guy with the patch on his arm, or the ring on his finger represents me... so do what he says." Eventually this organization turns into a society where its the SYMBOLS that possess the power. And the person who possesses the CROWN or the RING thereby owns the position of power. This is essentially what a hierarchy is. If you're at the top of the hierarchy, you're in charge, and people follow because (and here is the motto for Amber Organizations) "Thats the way things are." The driving emotion is actually SHAME. In Amber organizations the social pressure to "fit into a box" to be the "model employee" (whatever that represents) is what manages people. Historically these are the kinds of organizations we had up until the French Revolution. People were born as peasants, others were born middle class, and others were born as kings ... and thats JUST the way things were. You couldn't change your class, or make yourself king. You fit a role, and if you tried to challenge that you'd face intense social resistance. In our organizations today, you might experience Amber management if hierarchy plays a big role in your organization. If you ever feel something like, "Who are you to challenge your superior?" Thats Amber. Look up Cargo Cult ... thats Amber.
Logan Bean
Logan Bean@loganb · Elkadeo
Part 2 3.) ORANGE - The Achievement Paradigm: The most ACCOMPLISHED person holds the position of power (Meritocracy) The perspective basically gets fed up with Amber and says, "Screw this, if I want to become something better I'm going to do it." Napoleon wasn't born into power. Instead he came on the scene, more or less said, "screw this whole system" and through his efforts achieved his role of power and literally crowned himself emperor. Orange recognizes that we can redefine the status quo. It essentially takes the hierarchy of Amber organizations, and says "Who ever is the best should occupy the position" This is the first paradigm where people can really start to feel like they have power to make things different. If you want to be CEO, who's there to say that you cant be without hard work? Orange organizations tend to see the world as something "mechanical". Its all about performance and achievement. More is better. Success means being "The best". The highest market cap company in the world! The highest valuation startup! The fastest car! The biggest house! Thats how Orange defines success. If you're in an Orange organization, you probably have some incentive structure that gives you bonuses for reaching a specific "milestone". Management probably views your teams as a complex machine where parts (people) can be tuned, oiled, tweaked, or replaced all if it means higher performance or efficiencies. 4.) GREEN - The Pluralistic Paradigm: Green starts to introduce the idea of PURPOSE. When applied well, it takes all that achievement of Orange and starts to ask, "Why are we doing all this?" Its People over Profit organizations. Its "Wow this is great that were getting so good at this, but is this even making a difference?" Green organizations generally tend to be nice places to work. People are valued (because you start to recognize that everyone has purpose) but thats also kind of what starts to tie up Green organizations. If everybody has purpose ... than that must mean that we all have EQUAL purpose ... which naturally leads to thinking that we all have EQUAL POWER. You probably work in a Green organization if you, generally like the people you work with, feel respected ... and also find yourself getting into all kinds of meetings where people don't want to step on each others toes, challenge or offend one another. Equal power ways of thinking can be problematic. Green can be great because it makes people feel empowered, that increases engagement and can reduce burnout. And those benefits often help an organization tremendously. Because now you've got happy healthy respected empowered people working for a common purpose. The problem though, is that if everyone is considered to have the same value or power, then its real easy to get blocked -- things can stall, and conflict resolution is problematic. Consensus decision making (lets all agree) is Green. And that can take FOREVER. Green organizations can also have a tendency to cultivate feelings of entitlement. Because of this, Green organizations struggle.
Logan Bean
Logan Bean@loganb · Elkadeo
Part 3 5.) TEAL - The Evolutionary Paradigm: The Teal mindset is a pretty big leap. Its not something we experience very often in our world culture today, so because of that it can take some learning and practice to understand completely. It is by far the most powerful organizational model of the 5. And essentially is what everybody is striving for in an organization, even if they don't realize that that is what they are doing. Teal is the realization that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. It recognizes that each team member is different, and thusly has different abilities and powers, but that we're all best off when each of us becomes the most realized and powerful version of ourselves (Does that sound like something from a cat poster?) It ends up being extremely powerful. We're all going to be in the best position we can be, if we all realize our individual and collective potential -- its literally the team "becoming one". Just like a collection of cells cooperating together emerges into a higher level system (an organ like a heart or liver) a collection of organs cooperating together emerges into a higher level system (a living critter, like you and me) a collection of humans cooperating together can emerge into a higher level system -- a unified team. Because this is a relatively new paradigm for many of us, metaphor tends to be a helpful way to describe what people experience in this mindset -- heres a popular one: If you're a liver in a body, you love being a liver, and you're going to want to be the BEST dang liver you can be. That doesn't mean every other organ in the body should be a liver. Its not like everyone should be the same. In fact, your ability to be a good liver is improved when every other organ in the body is doing their best to be the best versions of themselves too. Thats part of the mindset. Because of that, Self Management is one of the big breakthroughs with these kinds of organizations --people manage themselves. I actually make videos about this topic which youre welcome to check out if you want to explore more here: https://youtu.be/ddZc4kDn_-I The end result is a team where people truly are engaged, theres significantly less wasted effort because all the initiatives and commitments come from within the employees themselves. If someone works on something that ended up not being helpful, thats a learning experience for them on how they can be better and what they missed, rather than a frustrating "Management just cut my work for no reason" experience. Figuring out how to effectively structure the management system of an organization so that a Teal culture can successfully emerge is kind of a new thing. But they have actually already been a lot large companies that have figured it out and are making it work. Really fascinating stuff to read about. Check out the book Reinventing Organizations by Frederic LaLoux if all that sounds interesting.
Thomas Lesenechal
Thomas Lesenechal@tlesenechal · Founder www.growmance.co 🇫🇷
@loganb this is pure gold ! Thanks for that :)
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