Burnout 2021

This day in 2021 was the first day of my 3-month burnout sabbatical.

I had been increasingly overworked for 2-3 years at this point, we were building a sensible and sustainable company, I was way too stressed all the time, and was struggling so. fukken. hard. Still, I kept pushing through, but I felt like I was a week away from going Hindenburg 1937. Then, that Friday evening, my good friend and co-founder Florian showed up unannounced at our doorstep, and told me, “Buddy, you’re toast. Take a few months off, just get better.” My crew had noticed, he had noticed, and they acted.

I’m still very grateful to them.

And the first weeks were brutal. I had such a hard time deciding anything. Answering a simple question like “Want some coffee?” was hard. My wife carried my sorry ass for weeks. I had completely drained my batteries which (among other things) were also powering my decision-making processes, which was weird AF.

I remember going for a walk in Munich, and there was a fork in a road — both paths would take me to the same destination. Still, I stood there dumbfounded for a few minutes.

Anyways. I was able to take my time, I got better, I found out why I was stressed, and ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I had to leave the company I had helped found and loved dearly. I wasn’t the right person for that particular job anymore, and the company wasn’t the right fit for me anymore. Which was a sad yet elating conclusion, like growing up or something.

2023: We’ve changed many more things, moved way up North, I’m an indie dev now, and my wife says I look much better these days. ❤️

Life is pretty good right now is what I’m saying. Getting stuck can get you killed, and you’re never to old to make some changes.

It’s amazing the dark places you can end up, even when the work is meaningful, the people are great, and there’s a real, global purpose. (I had all three of those things: We were building a Germany-wide deposit system for reusable coffee cups and take-out containers. Basically a waste reduction system on a gigantic scale. Good, important work on an actual problem.)

An interesting lesson, that.

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Carlo Zottmann @czottmann