I Can't Do It All: My Burnout Story

Molly Struve (she/her) on February 27, 2019

After commenting on a recent post, How Do You Handle Burnout, I thought it might be helpful to share my burnout story. Hopefully, this will help ot... [Read Full]
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Thanks for sharing your story! You really have incredible coworkers.

I mean, to actually do an intervention to help you isn't a small thing. They trusted you and you trusted them. It's incredible :-)

I was the last line of defense.

I'll try not to spoiler anything here but you reminded me of a particular scene in a particular movie involving Captain Marvel :D


I can relate. I’ve burned out a couple of times. But like you say, it’s fixable. My mission is to help developers do good work without burning out.

Wrote about it here, see link to my blog.



That is a great post about specific warning signs to look out for, thanks for sharing!


It's great that your coworkers were aware enough to forcefully pull you away from your work. Without that, I would guess that it takes quite a bit of self-awareness to fix that overeager-to-please behaviour on your own.


Definitely! Even with their help I was still very much out of my comfort zone for the first week or so while I was adjusting to the new normal.


Thanks for sharing. Take care about your health, you have only one life.
For those who work from home let me share with you my friend's article on Medium


Love that article your friend wrote!!! Thanks for sharing 😊


The title should better read "My Burnout Prevention Story". You have fantastic colleagues which stepped in at the right time. I think that's maybe the only cure because of the nature of burnout inducing work - it is an addiction - like your coworker pointed out.


Great post, so relatable!
I'm involved in many projects and many aspects of our product so there's always someone who needs my help and that can be exhausting at times.
I think it is important to delegate, if possible. You can't get everything done, so trust your team mates and let them do part of the job, even if it involves the code you're so proud and jealous of.

And kudos to your team mate who did the right thing. I sometimes act in a similar way if I see a coworker struggling. I offer help for debugging or coding, or simply setting priorities. Usually a fresh set of eyes are really helpful when you're banging your head to the wall.


I sometimes act in a similar way if I see a coworker struggling. I offer to help

🤗 There are a couple of people who I work with that have a similar attitude as myself and sometimes, I won't even ask if they want help, I will just step in and say, I am going to do this for you, period.


I think I’ve already missed my burnout warning sign period and have entered the telltale sign that I’m in deep: I keep taking on more things, more personal projects, and I should really do a self intervention. It sounds like you have amazing coworkers!


If you ever need a sounding board feel free to reach out! I know I am always happen to listen, no one should have to tackle burnout alone 🤗


It's rough that burnout is so prevalent in our industry, but I'm glad that it worked out well for you!

I think, in general, software devs are getting better at spotting and responding to burnout, both in themselves and in team members. I hope we all continue to grow in that space as a community!


Great article and thank you for sharing your story! I think it's so important for us to share our stories. I feel we often get so absorbed in what we do – it is our passion after all – that we forget to look up and take a deep breath until we are in over our heads. At least that has been happening to me. I'm a freelancer so being a people pleaser, especially when it comes to clients, is addictive to me. I've recently realized that if I'm burnt out and not performing my best because I'm trying so hard at the same time being spread too thin, it doesn't matter what kind of insane turnaround I give my clients if I'm not taking care of myself.


Yes!!! Make sure you give yourself permission to take a break 🤗


So relatable! I love this.


Thanks for your article Molly, it's really helpful to everyone.

I believe, one of the biggest aspects that make humans different than any other animals is the need for recognition. It's what fueled the success of social networks, but it is very common in the workspace too. People that are good at something and are recognized by it will find very hard to unlink and disconnect from it as recognition is a very powerful drug.

The success and gratification from helping others are very addictive. It makes us feel important, necessary and recognized. It gives us purpose, sense of life and fuels our passion. I've been there like you, and even today I find very hard to do many tasks that excite me but that I should truly delegate into others. The way I found most effective to avoid trying to do everything is to think that I am not making my peers any favor by doing all or the most difficult tasks. I make them worse and unable and fuel the dependency on me. This will impact them if they have to find a new job, or if they want to progress in their careers. So I always try now to help them by leading and guiding and not by solving.


Spot on!!! Could not agree more and I like the idea of turning it around and thinking about the effect you doing the task has on others and their ability to learn and grow around you. Thanks for the thoughtful comment 🤗


Thanks for writing this Molly. Glad you have a great team to support you.
I was in the exact situation a few months back, and I had to give up as it started to affect my health.

To this day, I give myself a hard time thinking maybe I wasn't capable enough to handle the work, and I should have pushed myself even more.
Your article and the comments here have given me a lot to think about.

I will definitely try to balance the knowledge with the team more, and like your colleagues, will lend a hand out for anyone who is burning out.

This article is kind of an intervention for me :)


So glad to hear it! Good luck trying to find that balance, it is not easy, but once you have it back it's worth it. ❤️️


It's great that you can feel better now. Now I'm living the same situation that you, and this post really helped me to understand what I'm doing and what should do to manage all this things.

Really thanks to share your history.


You are so welcome! I am so glad you found it helpful! 🤗


Really helpful. I had felt the same way in my previous company. I was responsible for more than few things and I was liking it and suddenly things grew and in trying to help people I became more short tempered and felt more burden like. Unfortunatley there were no one to help me out.I had 1.5 years of experience that time and I always thought that this is happening due to my incompetence. People are expecting more from me and I am not able to deliver to their expectations.
So I had left the job. My CEO told me that I was one of the finest developer and he didnt wanted me to leave.
I thought this is not true and I left.

After reading your post I am relating to this. but I am still not sure about many things and whenever I feel like burnout situation I talk to my friends about that and everything starts working again.


I am so sorry that you felt that way and ended up leaving your job 😥 So glad you have friends now that you can talk to when you start feeling burned out. People make all the difference when you find yourself in these tough situations.


Big props to your coworkers for taking action on helping you out. Now that's a great team to be part of! Thanks for sharing this story!


I totally can relate. I worked remotely for a couple of years and thought I have to be online all the time and answer questions ASAP or people would think I'm slacking. I even felt guilty if I took vacations or some time off. I wrote a blog post about some ideas that help me to overcome my burnout: adrianmejia.com/blog/2019/01/03/ho...


Life can’t be all broccoli and not desert.

hehe I like that 😊I can also TOTALLY relate to the burnout from being remote and having to prove yourself! I work remote 3 months out of the year and I always feel like I am working way more during those 3 months.


While I've generally avoided call-oriented positions, having a knack for figuring out completely alien things quickly and deeply combined with a near-eidetic means that you become an organizational crutch. It's become my role at pretty much every job I've held since college. Yeah, it takes a toll. Unfortunately, even when people try to make an effort to not be the one to break the glass and pull you out, "time counts".

...But this is part of why, as soon as it became available, I switched to Google voice. Since then, my phone only rings during extended business hours (M-F, 0700 - about 1800 Eastern). Friends and family can still reach me 24/7/365. Others can text me ...but I answer on my own terms. And, perhaps even more importantly, when I take real PTO, I change the passwords on my various work-related accounts and update my calling-group rules. People, at this point, understand that when my OoO-responder says "I'm someplace with extremely limited access to information services" that I'm effectively telling the truth. Fortunately, my company owners are on board with it (and were happy when I showed them how to similarly control people's access to them).


Thank you for sharing your story. Much appreciated


Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for advice


Wow. It's amazing that your coworkers intervened as they did.


I feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive team 🙏


Thank you for sharing! This hit home for me.


Thanks for sharing your story Molly. I can relate to your situation on many levels. I too was an "adrenaline junkie".

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