On burnout and technical management

Jono posted recently the slidedeck for his famous 12 stages of burnout presentation. I highly recommend this presentation, especially to technical teams working from home.

I think we are especially vulnerable to burnout, with limited social interactions and sporadic discussions with our peers and managers. It's quite easy to fall into the trap of the first two stages, trying to prove yourself and work harder. And from there we are vulnerable to falling into the spiral of the next ten stages.

This highlights one important role of managers of technical teams: to protect ourselves from this outcome. You shouldn't have to prove yourself if your manager makes you confident you're in the right place and you earned your position. You shouldn't have to work harder if your work output is closely monitored and realistic goals have been set for you.

Technical managers have lots of duties. They must build their team, define objectives, ensure that goals are reached, protect their team from vertical and horizontal organizational hazards... But keeping their team in shape is one of their most important duties, and detecting and avoiding burnout in their team is an important part of it.

Your family and your peers can watch your back and help you recover from it. But a good manager should save you from it.