• Proving Yourself vs. Burning Out

    There was a time early on in my career when I’d do anything to get shit done. That would include working insane hours, late nights and weekends. I’d get massive kudos and, for a while, that’d be good enough. Bonuses would help, later, until they didn’t.

    It took me a good amount of time to learn how to say “no” in different ways without sounding less like a pessimist and more like a realist. Moving target dates = no bueno. But I didn’t learn this life lesson gradually. There was one project that needed to be launched at the beginning of the week, fresh of the press on a brisk Monday morning.

    Rewind to several days before, on a Thursday, and I could feel a tickle in the back of my throat that was queuing something familiar — a nasty cold. But I could still work, no problem. Next day, on Friday, I’d feel that scratchy feeling right before the dagger feeling and, well, you can probably tell where this is going. The project launched flawlessly! Yes! Awesome!! Me? I was burned out. Totally sick. For Days. It’s also the same day that I vowed to myself never to bend backwards for anybody, because your mental and physical health has to come first.

    Based on exactly zero empirical evidence, I believe a lot of people learn this later in life, so I can count myself lucky in that aspect. I’m glad because with a family in tow, that’s one of the worst life lessons to learn, if you’re in your 30s. Hakuna Matata.

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