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Regaining Your Balance
May 27, 2009 7:52 AM   Subscribe

"Web professionals are often expected to be “always on”—always working, absorbing information, and honing new skills. Unless our work and personal lives are carefully balanced, however, the physical and mental effects of an "always on" life can be debilitating." Burnout: Running On Empty

By Scott Boms
posted by netbros (56 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh hey...welcome to my day/week/month/year!
posted by spicynuts at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2009


Although, without RTFA --- aren't all 'professionals' expected to be that way? Isn't it the definition of professional?
posted by spicynuts at 8:05 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


you and me both, spicynuts...sigh.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:09 AM on May 27, 2009


Oh noes! I had always planned to stop working, learning, and improving after high school.
posted by lothar at 8:09 AM on May 27, 2009


It's not the definition of professional. It's the definition of "young, inexperienced professional". Although not exclusively a problem with the young and inexperienced, it is disproportionally weighted there. Which is why it seems like a "web professional" problem--this is mostly a field of young people.
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well... sure, doctors for example (MDs) are often expected to be on for days at a time, and also keep up to date with the newest research. On the other hand, doctors don't have the temptation to keep working on patients when they get home from work at the end of a shift. Web designers (unless they have no computer at home) have a harder time getting away from the work.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:12 AM on May 27, 2009


If you're reading this, you're falling behind the curve.

mwahahahaha
posted by no_moniker at 8:16 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was heading well into this zone until I made use of the same technology around me to limit my exposures.

My Blackberry has a wonderful option to auto-on and off, and it does exactly that so it's only on 06:30 - 18:30. I work from home one day a week 90% of the time thanks to remote access and the tumbling cost of mobile telephony means my office doesn't even have my private mobile phone number so they can't contact me when I'm on holiday.

I gave up most social networking sites as it when it boils down to it, most are full of vacuous egotistical drivel. I now limit myself to Twitter following a handful of interesting people (celebrities and niche-celebrities) and a couple of friends.

The one thing this article never really touches upon properly is that most of it self-inflicted. As it points out you need "Focus" but I call it personal choice. You can turn off the PC. You can switch off the mobile. You don't have to log into Facebook. Do you really need the six gazillion RSS feeds you follow? If you get joy from them and it's not detrimental to other things you WANT to be doing then fine. But if you find it a chore, then why bother?

You can do some of the same at work - you don't HAVE to answer the phone every time it rings. Forward it to your voicemail and pick them up once per hour or so unless you are expecting something very urgent. Some with e-mail, you don't HAVE to go diving into your inbox every time your PC beeps at you. It's perfectly reasonable to be busy doing other things whilst at work.
posted by sunkzero at 8:18 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


aren't all 'professionals' expected to be that way? Isn't it the definition of professional?

You're not doing anyone (except perhaps an evil, exploitative boss) any favors if you're burning yourself out in the name of work. Seriously, the short term payoff is not worth the long term cost - to yourself, to your family, to your employers, to the culture as a whole. This is not professional behavior.
posted by philip-random at 8:19 AM on May 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I gave up most social networking sites as it when it boils down to it, most are full of vacuous egotistical drivel. I now limit myself to Twitter following a handful of interesting people (celebrities and niche-celebrities)

There aren't enough 'W's, 'T's, or 'F's on the internet to properly address the cognitive dissonance generated by these two sentences.
posted by total warfare frown at 8:25 AM on May 27, 2009 [10 favorites]


...aren't all 'professionals' expected to be that way? Isn't it the definition of professional?

Actually...no.
This whole "live to work" mindset is actually a relatively recent development, arising in-tandem with the development of mobile communications, the expansion of global trade, and the overall ubiquitous interconnectivity we enjoy.

Add to that a certain "macho" attitude found among people in the tech sector, where there's almost a perverse pride built around how many hours you spend at work, and you have a tidy little template for burnout.

And, of course, add to that the attitude held by some employers that your paycheck entitles them to lay claim to as much of your life as they fancy, and you have our modern life.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:26 AM on May 27, 2009 [7 favorites]


The real danger of this mindset is that it's disproportionately a 'young, inexperienced professionals' sort of problem. As people grow older and develop more complex non-work responsibilities, they tend to either burn out or develop healthier balance.

If the market evolves to push those more balanced people out in favor of younger, hungrier, less balanced workers, it means an ongoing non-stop brain drain of experienced talent. That's a problem for everyone, clients included, even though they don't necessarily realize what they're missing.
posted by verb at 8:31 AM on May 27, 2009


There aren't enough 'W's, 'T's, or 'F's on the internet to properly address the cognitive dissonance generated by these two sentences.

I'm not sure what you read or what context you chose to take it out of but... W T F?
posted by sunkzero at 8:32 AM on May 27, 2009


This whole "live to work" mindset is actually a relatively recent development,

I guess my experience has been clouded by growing up in an IBM-ville but reflecting on the work attitudes of all the adults around me growing up in the 70s I wouldn't call it recent. It seemed to be the prevailing expectation of everyone I went to college with too. Man, I feel like maybe I got burned.
posted by spicynuts at 8:37 AM on May 27, 2009


The overwork ethic was common in the early days of computer graphics production. The pressure was more than "the definition of professional."

At that time CG production was a possibility, that was almost there. The spirit of those times was that this was the birth of a new industry, of a new branch of human communication, and a few warriors acting with dedicated heroism could drag it over the finish line, as they themselves collapsed in glory.

As the finish line receded to five years further than what had been expected, companies like Pixar and Lucasfilm adopted shocking policies of, for instance, sending people home after 12 hours, with the admonition: "this is a marathon, not a sprint."
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:40 AM on May 27, 2009


If the market evolves to push those more balanced people out in favor of younger, hungrier, less balanced workers, it means an ongoing non-stop brain drain of experienced talent. That's a problem for everyone, clients included, even though they don't necessarily realize what they're missing.

It also has the effect of keeping a lot of people out of the field to begin with, which makes the overall talent pool less diverse. People complain that IT workers are anti-social, but who else is going to work a job that requires sitting in a cubicle 50+ hours a week and spending the rest of your time keeping up with the latest technologies? There are a lot of people who would find the actual work to be intellectually rewarding but would never actually consider doing it professionally due to the working environment that they would have to put up with.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:43 AM on May 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


This whole "live to work" mindset is actually a relatively recent development...

Um, no. The burnout syndrome has been with us for decades...affecting many professions. It affects high-achievers and workaholics (aka ergomaniacs).
posted by ericb at 8:43 AM on May 27, 2009


I'm not sure what you read or what context you chose to take it out of but... W T F?

I believe the implication is that if you're trying to limit the distractions and egotistical drivel, Twitter should be first on the chopping block, not the sole survivor.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:45 AM on May 27, 2009


The unpleasant, unacknowledged truth of the article is that adopting these suggestions could require a large amount of financial sacrifice. If you don't immediately answer a late-night e-mail or work on the weekend to turn around a project quickly, there may be someone else who will, and you'd better hope your experience and skill make you a better option than your hungrier and harder-working competitors. Otherwise, you need to accept that having more of a life means making less money, having less opportunity for advancement, etc. That may be a fine balance to strike, but it should be done with one's eyes wide open about the potential consequences.
posted by brain_drain at 8:49 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Happened to me. I tried many of the article's suggestions. What worked? Better clients.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 8:50 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I believe the implication is that if you're trying to limit the distractions and egotistical drivel, Twitter should be first on the chopping block, not the sole survivor.

Twitter is about the sole survivor for me, because it takes about two minutes to read up to speed, generally speaking. The nice thing about 140 characters? Frankly, most of us don't have a blog entry's worth of anything to say about anything. We all think we do, and almost all of us are wrong. Trust me. I stopped following Facebook, stopped following LiveJournal, stopped following most blogs, and am a bit lighter on my feet for having done so.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2009


I believe the implication is that if you're trying to limit the distractions and egotistical drivel, Twitter should be first on the chopping block, not the sole survivor.

The article is about Regaining Your Balance and my point was about limiting the distractions and egotistical drivel. I feel that the response is a very binary view. Perhaps my Twitter (go take a look if you like, same name...) has people who I feel the drivel is interesting "most" of the time and is not a chore or distraction to read it? The problem isn't using Twitter, it's how you use Twitter (or any distraction). If you have thousands of people you are following and you religiously read every post\tweet\etc I'd argue that's not limiting your exposure to distractions and drivel. If you follow a few people that you define as interesting and read what they are tweeting when you have time... then that's being balanced and limiting your exposure to whatever it is you define as those nuggets of information your chosen level of hyper-connectivity is bringing to you.
posted by sunkzero at 8:55 AM on May 27, 2009


Web professionals? Seriously? Without wishing to start a cock-waving contest, 50 hours a week isn't that exceptional, and I'd bet that in the list of professions where you get treated like crap and burnout quickly, web professionals aren't near the top.

Anyway, on this topic: I have two blackberries: a personal one I which means I can sort through my home emails when doing things like riding in elevators or waiting in line and don't need to switch on my PC when I get home.

And a business one which gives my boss the warm fluffy feeling I'm contactable at any hour and which hasn't been used for six months. I charge it up exclusively for when I'm on holiday and use it to check once a day that something catastrophic hasn't happened.

In comparison, most of my senior managment peer group brandishes their blackberries as if at any instant a major decision needs to be made by them alone.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:57 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of genuinely interesting content on Twitter. Facebook, and other more straight ahead social networks, have a lot more of the "what I'm eating today" bullshit that Twitter is often accused of having.
posted by brundlefly at 8:59 AM on May 27, 2009


I am not at all cut out for the always-on workworld. I've been lucky, so far, to work mostly in jobs where nobody cares that I cut out at 5 every day and mostly forget that I have a job at all the minute I walk out the door. I'm reasonably certain that I'd rather make pizzas for minimum wage than work a 60-hour week. (Actually, making pizzas would probably be pretty satisfying, but that's beside the point.)

Unless you love your job--and I mean love enough that you would do it for free--why would you work a 10- or 12-hour day, probably plus a commute? You're not living a life at that point. You're trading away time, the most precious resource you've got, and getting nothing in return. What's money if you haven't got time to use it?
posted by uncleozzy at 9:00 AM on May 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you have thousands of people you are following and you religiously read every post\tweet\etc I'd argue that's not limiting your exposure to distractions and drivel.

The problem I had with your first comment was that your usage of the term "celebrities" seemed to mean "persons who are not vacuous or egotistical," when I think most people visualize Paris Hilton, Spencer Pratt, and the like.
posted by total warfare frown at 9:08 AM on May 27, 2009


Seconding spicynuts, it was this way in the 80's and 90's too. The fact that you can always be connected is less an influence than some people ascribe to it. Before the internet you could take your work home with you, or on vacation or wherever. Now, you can connect, so there's less need to lug as much bulk. But the fundamental thesis that somehow it's worse today is wrong, in my opinion. People used memos for communicating across departments before email, had rolodexes before contact lists, people would gossip before myspace and twitter existed, and people worked during their off-time before the internet too.

On preview
If you don't immediately answer a late-night e-mail or work on the weekend to turn around a project quickly, there may be someone else who will, and you'd better hope your experience and skill make you a better option

The burn-out phenomenon has nothing to do with email, blackberries, or using a VPN to access your project. It has everything to do with the bolded part of the statement; namely the stress/insecurity that someone else might do a better job than yourself and feeling forced to work harder because of it.

I bet 4000 years ago an Assyrian* farmer complained about other farmers producing so much that the market prices were driven down and so he had to work at night by the moon to make up for the shortfall.

*please don't judge my history
posted by forforf at 9:08 AM on May 27, 2009


My heart breaks for today's young, educated web professionals who, acccording to this article, are often forced to work as many as fifty hours a week in clean, well-lighted, safe environments, for which they are compensated by wages that only rarely reach into six figures, and more often are only 50% - 60% higher than the national average.
posted by dersins at 9:12 AM on May 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Unless you love your job--and I mean love enough that you would do it for free--why would you work a 10- or 12-hour day, probably plus a commute?

Because you like the job more than any 8-hour-a-day alternatives? Because you need to pay the bills. Because 10 hours a day is only 1-2 hours more than a typical workday. Because you take pride in your work and put in extra time to get things done right. Because you can still get plenty of time for yourself and/or your family on weekends and during mornings/evenings. Because it's the balance that works for you.
posted by brain_drain at 9:15 AM on May 27, 2009


"Web professionals Bathroom cleaners are often expected to be 'always on'—always working, absorbing information, and honing new skills. Unless our work and personal lives are carefully balanced, however, the physical and mental effects of an 'always on' life can be debilitating."

I've worked on both the low end and the high end of the professional tier. It makes some sense, but I'm not sold on the argument that a 2 AM phone-call to get something done is qualitatively worse than the 3 PM demand that you work another 8 hours and no I don't give a fuck about your kids and their daycare situation and oh, you don't have kids? Let's have you work the next 8 hour shift as well. Barbara in accounting brought in doughnuts! Barbara is the reason you love working here! Oh, and by the way, take a 10 percent pay cut for November or we'll fire your sorry ass.
posted by bardic at 9:23 AM on May 27, 2009


The thing I hate most about working in the computer field is not the job responsibilities; if I didn't like them I wouldn't work in the field. No, it's the assumption of free labor. Coworkers contact me with personal computer problems; relatives call me late on Saturday night, panicking about some minor crisis.

I am not the Computer EMT. I am not on call. If your computer isn't controlling a nuclear arsenal, you can wait until a reasonable hour (or an opportunity while I'm at work, preferably) to contact me. Just because my job doesn't make me sweat doesn't mean that it's not work when I have to recover your files because you are an idiot.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:26 AM on May 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


The problem I had with your first comment was that your usage of the term "celebrities" seemed to mean "persons who are not vacuous or egotistical," when I think most people visualize Paris Hilton, Spencer Pratt, and the like.

Fair enough, I wasn't clear enough about the "celebrities" I like to follow.

I don't consider those people worthy of the title "human" let alone "celebrity". I don't even know who most of these "celebrities" are that appear on the front page of the tabloids.

Anyway that's a bit OT so I'll stop responding to this line of thought now ;-)

Who the hell is Spencer Pratt?
posted by sunkzero at 9:27 AM on May 27, 2009


Working 10-12 hour days is for suckers, not for professionals -- whatever that means.
posted by chunking express at 9:29 AM on May 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


This would be more interesting if the title and content were not so directly taken from the work of the philosopher John Zerzan. His essay: Running on Emptiness
posted by parmanparman at 9:31 AM on May 27, 2009


"You can do some of the same at work - you don't HAVE to answer the phone every time it rings."

Maybe not in your job. I do.

"I'm reasonably certain that I'd rather make pizzas for minimum wage than work a 60-hour week. (Actually, making pizzas would probably be pretty satisfying, but that's beside the point.)"

Yeah, until you get to the point where you have to deal with a broken arm or a newborn baby, or a car which needs a major repair, etc.

And, speaking as someone who actually did just that for several years, it's not all that satisfying. You come home every night smelling like grease and tomato sauce, and you will come to hate the pizza you make. Plus, most of your coworkers will be in their teens or early 20s, and they may or may not be sober or even present at work from day to day.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:35 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would be more interesting if the title and content were not so directly taken from the work of the philosopher John Zerzan.

To be fair to the author, the title is simply Burnout. The link text I used came from further down in a paragraph heading.
posted by netbros at 9:37 AM on May 27, 2009


Burning out on your first career, and picking up after that, almost seems to have become a rite of passage.

When I worked in animation, I was committed, I was passionate, I worked insane hours for pathetic pay because I believed in what I was doing. But then after one weekend where I and half the rest of the crew took the hit for the boss's perfectionism to barely make a deadline by staying up for 48 hours straight, and he came in that bleary Monday morning and immediately started critiquing what we did wrong instead of saying "holy shit you actually finished it, go home and sleep!", I just... quit caring.

It took me a while to figure out how and where to move on, but I did. I got out of Hollywood, ended up leaving California entirely and doing funky bits of low-stress freelance art. These days the day job is a part-time affair (two days most weeks) that uses the other half of my skillset; I'm not expected to be "creative" and I kinda like that because I can save it all for my own projects - last year's Tarot deck, this year's graphic novel. I make a lot less money but I am more than compensated for that by actually having time to work on stuff nobody but me cares about.

"Burning out" can be pretty fucking awesome once you quit defining yourself by your day job.
posted by egypturnash at 9:37 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, until you get to the point where you have to deal with a broken arm or a newborn baby, or a car which needs a major repair, etc.

Yeah, I hear you, and of course I get it. I think I'm just totally burned out har-har on the idea of what the world expects of white-collar workers.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2009


Oh yeah, and you know what the two-days-a-week day job is? I do web dev and Flash stuff for a tiny corner of a science museum. It's all in how you approach the work and the boundaries you set.

of course, being skilled enough to get everything they want done that week in two days 95% of the time helps a lot too.
posted by egypturnash at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2009


To me the problem is more closely described as the WEBSITE has to be always on versus the people needing to be.

But I've been at the same "high traffic and never gets to be off" website for almost four years and I'm not feeling burned out, so what do I know.
posted by flaterik at 9:57 AM on May 27, 2009


> Although, without RTFA --- aren't all 'professionals' expected to be that way? Isn't it the definition of professional?

Lord knows I bitch about my job a lot, but one thing it's definitely got going for it is that once the whistle blows I don't have to even think about it until I walk in the front door again the next day. I would probably freak the hell out if I had to be "on call" at home. My home is my castle, and in that castle I am a King, and Kings don't have to do anything they don't want to do.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:30 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Unless you love your job--and I mean love enough that you would do it for free--why would you work a 10- or 12-hour day, probably plus a commute? You're not living a life at that point. You're trading away time, the most precious resource you've got, and getting nothing in return. What's money if you haven't got time to use it?

I can't favourite this enough. I know a lawyer who used to work 70+ hours a week and made mad money, but he never saw his wife and son or had any time to actually enjoy the fruits of his labour. Eventually he took a good, long look at the senior partners at his firm, realized most were on their second heart attack and/or third wife, and ditched that scene for a government job that pays less but allows him to actually have a life.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2009


I love how wonderfully generic the list of conditions that signify potential burnout or burnout flirtation:


Hmm. Minus the first point that pretty much describes every job I've ever had. Yet I only work 35 hour weeks and don't find my work to be all that stressful (because I don't care). Maybe I've just had an unduly harsh time of life, but this just seems like work to me.
posted by selenized at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of genuinely interesting content on Twitter. Facebook, and other more straight ahead social networks, have a lot more of the "what I'm eating today" bullshit that Twitter is often accused of having.

This says more about your choice of internet friends than the medium itself.
posted by hpliferaft at 10:42 AM on May 27, 2009


This says more about your choice of internet friends than the medium itself.

Actually, I think Twitter as a medium lends itself to the distribution of content and commentary. Facebook is built specifically for finding out what your friends ate for lunch.
posted by brundlefly at 11:11 AM on May 27, 2009


I got into the web/programming field just before I turned 40, so i had the age thing to overcome from the start. Fortunately, in the glory-days of the Inter-web, ability trumped everything - degrees, ethnicity, age.

A decade later, I'm still in the field, but I also have the expectations of other middle aged-people to have a high quality of life (not necessarily in the financial/material sense). I stay sane by trying to stay focused on my best marketable skills, and not feeling pressured to learn the technology behind every buzzword, unless an employer or client is asking for it. I also try to keep in mind that a good programmer is such because s/he programs good, not because of specific language knowledge. Once you've learned one or two programming languages, picking up another one is not a problem. Of course it's still an uphill battle with employers and headhunters who are often more impressed with the alphabet soup of programming acronyms, than in actual experience.

I got laid off in late January. Since then I've been freelancing. I'm managing to average about 20 hours a week of work, at a decent freelance rate. I'm not making as much as I did before, but I also get to spend alot more time puttering about the house or playing with our sailboat. I couldn't be happier, actually... I'll try for a real job when it starts to snow again.

Funny that in this brave new world (pre-economic shitstorm, of course), we are working more and longer... Where's that 30-hour workweek that technology was supposed to bring us, anyway?
posted by Artful Codger at 11:12 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can see the appeal for a lot of young professionals to work insane hours. No family obligations, no real responsibilities other than your own health, and no one is around to keep tabs on your whereabouts. If you're not at work, you're drinking beer on the couch watching reruns of MASH. Those extra hours are exciting! People depend on you! You will get promoted! If you've got nothing better to do with your time, why not? The problem occurs when life starts to get in the way (marriage, kids, whatever) and you don't change your work habits.

I am a "young professional" and I work forty hours a week, period. Coworkers and managers think I'm doing a great job! Whether this is acceptable because I work for a large company or because we're basically a government proxy is up for debate, but the company is really committed to keeping the workers sane and happy.

Case in point: last year at about this time, the president of the company sent out an e-mail about the Memorial Day holiday and it included this nugget: "Since Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and many people may be traveling on weekends, I encourage the managers to consider rescheduling Friday afternoon meetings so that those employees that have met their forty hours can leave early." Not bad, huh?
posted by backseatpilot at 11:37 AM on May 27, 2009


> Where's that 30-hour workweek that technology was supposed to bring us, anyway?

That was never gonna happen. Instead of:

Technological device allows worker to finish tasks in less time -- worker completes his/her job and is allowed to go home early

we got:

Technological device allows worker to finish tasks in less time -- worker is expected to do more work
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:43 AM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're not doing anyone (except perhaps an evil, exploitative boss) any favors if you're burning yourself out in the name of work.

That evil, exploitative boss is sort of a mirage, too. No boss who wants productive work wants burned out employees. They're counter-productive.

And yeah, as others have said above, for chrissake web people: get over yourselves. There's nothing special about your work that makes you different than everyone else burning out in other fields. Well, except maybe the inherently transient nature of your work product. It'll all be gone and forgotten in five years, anyway.

Sorry, now I've made you suicidal, too.
posted by rokusan at 12:33 PM on May 27, 2009


Technological device allows worker to finish tasks in less time -- worker is expected to do more work

And the 1920's were filled with papers about how, with the new labor saving electric motors workers would only have to work 10 (or was it 20) hours a week and spend the rest of the time not wage slaving.

And we all know how well that's worked out.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:48 PM on May 27, 2009


"Always working"? Yeah that's a problem a lot of people in the industry have have. Don't fucking do that, and if you have a job that doesn't respect that you need to be away from work, find another job. (Yes, occasionally you will need to do a work week from hell, but a one off is not the same.)

"[Always] absorbing information and honing new skills"? Hell yes. No this doesn't mean need to spend every waking hour thinking about your job, but it does mean that if you don't enjoy what you are doing enough to stay fresh, you probably are in the wrong career. Every graphic designer I know has some artistic side projects outside of work. Every (good) programer I know has this one application they are working on, often related to some interesting new technology or programing style that they could never convince the bosses at work to bless. (Although to be fair most of these projects never go anywhere beyond the playing around stage.) And this isn't unique to the IT or web space, or even white collar professions. Professional welders who make metal sculpture at home, construction workers who rebuild their houses, auto mechanics who rebuild classic cars at home. What do you think that is?
posted by aspo at 2:04 PM on May 27, 2009


Interesting piece - and I agree: technology professionals are too often always on, and expected to provide instant answers and constant support.

I find myself increasingly detaching from technology, as big a geek as I am, because I need downtime. I think everyone needs downtime, and I think we need to remind everyone that there is rarely need for 24/7/365 support or service. When a piece of technology fails to work or you feel the need to pick up the phone for support just remember: if it ain't cancer, it can't be *that* important.

Downtime is good. Humans need it.
posted by tgrundke at 4:51 PM on May 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Web professional... what is that, like a spider or something?
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 4:58 PM on May 27, 2009


I actually find myself stunningly uninterested in outside programming projects. I'm sure that's at least partially because I love the stuff I get to work on at work.

But I completely different kinds of projects to be a lot more interesting and mind expanding. Like building real physical things. Or playing music.

I'm sure it would help me technically to do more coding outside of work, but... I am not an insect. I'm not that specialized.
posted by flaterik at 5:48 PM on May 27, 2009


If the market evolves to push those more balanced people out in favor of younger, hungrier, less balanced workers, it means an ongoing non-stop brain drain of experienced talent. That's a problem for everyone, clients included, even though they don't necessarily realize what they're missing.
I don't think the market is worrying about this problem. After all, if you push these older, balanced people out, then you can replace them with someone younger, for less pay and benefits. And while they won't do as good a job, you'll be able to get more work out of them. And it's not like we need a GOOD job to be done, just one adequate enough to get the product out in Beta on time.

If one has a choice between an excellent, balanced worker who works only 40 hours a week, and a good enough worker who works 65, then it simply doesn't make sense to hire the guy who will take care of himself.
posted by happyroach at 6:08 PM on May 27, 2009


I don't think the market is worrying about this problem.
Well, yes. That's the trouble.
posted by verb at 9:29 PM on May 27, 2009


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