How a burnout changed my life

In the previous two posts, I wrote about my burnout. First about how I got it, then about how I dealt with it. I have the feeling it has changed me permanently, but mostly in a good way.

I don’t work as hard anymore. I don’t want to work weekends and evenings. Of course, every now and then I feel the urge to do something, but I try to resist. I read more, and take more time to socialize.

My job has changed from mostly programming to building products. This includes programming, but also marketing, strategy, design, meeting people, writing and more. For me, this is a more healthy mix at the moment. It’s a big difference from freelancing.

The biggest change was that I see programming as a means, not an end. This manifests itself in a number of ways. I’m not trying to write the perfect program, framework or language anymore. They don’t exist.

Also, I don’t want to use Haskell for everything anymore. I don’t feel frustrated by using Objective C for iPhone programming, or Ruby for web programming. Whatever gets the job done fastest. Every now and then I think about building a better language, and maybe I will someday, but not now.

For almost every problem, I try to find existing libraries. I did not suffer badly from the Not Invented Here Syndrome before, but now it got even better. I try to reuse code wherever possible, whether it’s somebody else’s code or my own.

So far, I’m actually happy for the experience. A burnout is no fun, and it was scary for me, afraid that I would never be able to go back. I am confident that I now have found a better balance, and that I will be able to prevent it in the future. We’ll see!

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