Burnout in Tech - Part 2: The internal causes of burnout
"Starting with the man in the mirror" - How productivity obsession, people pleasing, work addiction and overachievement lead to burnout
Recovering from burnout doesn't always mean quitting your current job, though that misconception is common. In fact, while it’s nice to take some time off and start fresh if your burnout causes are internal, and you don't address them, burnout will inevitably reappear. To not repeat the cycle elsewhere, you need to identify and correct the root causes.
This is part 2 of a 4-part series on “Burnout in Tech”. Before you read this, I highly recommend you read Part 1: Declaring War first. Part 3: External Causes and Part 4: Anti-Burnout Strategies will follow.
This second part explores the psychological internal landscape that’s the burnout backdrop, the most common traits, and beliefs that I’ve personally experienced, or have seen in others.
In the “grand scheme of burnout things”, the internal causes play (I dare to say) only a small part, but it’s the right place to start troubleshooting.
You Can Rewrite Your Story
In contrast to the external causes, the internal causes are 100% in our control.
Our brains have an extraordinary ability to change through growth and reorganization. It’s called neuroplasticity. That means our behavior patterns, habits, and beliefs are not fixed! Change is possible through hard work, good strategies, and input from others.
Talking about personality aspects is not a criticism. Acknowledging a problem is simply the first step to solving it. As you’ll see, these traits and behaviors stem from a genuine desire to do good and to help. Taken to extremes or in the wrong environment, they backfire. A classic story of overdoing.
Internal Causes for Burnout
A good diagram is worth 1000 words, so I tried to come up with one to illustrate what we’re talking about in this article. Many of the traits and behaviors contributing to the burnout equation feed into each other and create vicious cycles, so I figured a graph would be the most appropriate to give an idea of what an entangled mess the psychology of burnout is.
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