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Since this is my blog, and I can share my personal feelings, I am going to. So, if you don't like that, shove off you tossers!

Anyways, do you ever get that burned-out feeling? Like you're not that interested in what you've been doing for a while? (geez, this is kind of starting to sound like an infomercial...... let's start again).

I'm getting that burned-out feeling again. You know the one. (okay, now it is sounding more like an Addicts Anonymous meeting...... let's start again).

Why such the absence as of late? Well, I'm getting a strong burned-out feeling from various aspects of programming. Not the kind of feeling where you want to quit, just the kind of feeling where you need to back off from what you've been doing outside of work and take a break. Personally, I have a horrible problem. My problem is that I get really excited about something (whether it be a new song, a new area of programming, etc.) and devote almost all of my personal time to it, and then I burn out and don't want to do it anymore. This is something that I've been fighting with for quite a while now. I'm better now than I used to be, but I am still nowhere near where I would like to be.

You see, for me, programming in my spare time becomes something that I get really excited about and then have to take a large break from. A lot of developers I know out there that are the most successful in this field *love* writing coding and developing applications in their spare time. Me, on the other hand, not so much. The main love in my life is music (besides my wife of course (Hi Honey!)). Nirvana for me is not going home and writing code, or developing some cool new tool. From time to time I certainly get excited about it, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly. For me, Nirvana is Music, Music is Nirvana. I *love* music. I love playing it. I love listening to it. And I have a god-given gift as a pianist. However, playing music usually doesn't pay the bills (especially for a niche market like Jazz). Don't get me wrong, I like my day job, and I believe myself to be a gifted developer. I get the feeling though that I am not paying nearly as much attention to music as I should. Instead of practicing, arranging, or composing, I find myself writing articles, code, and UML diagrams (not something I get especially excited about in my spare time).

Now the real problem is the kind of person I am. When I get stressed about something I really don't want to do (but I feel I must do because of obligations to people and/or bridges I desperately wish not to burn), I don't do it and get it out of the way like a lot of people do. No, I procrastinate. I put it off, and then I become even more stressed because I only have days to do it rather than weeks. Why not stop doing those kinds of things then? Because I've been given a gift to be able to do it (I've seen way too many developers that don't have *the* knack of writing code or engineering solutions) and I don't want to piss that gift down the toilet. The gift was given to me for a reason, so I find it wasteful to just throw it away.

I've gotten email from people that think I am a “game developer“. I'm not a game developer. I'm simply a developer who started to get into game development. I've attempted writing articles about game development, bringing to the table strengths that I believe I can shed on the situation. However, I don't have the commitment to see 'em through. I don't want to become known as a “game developer“ because if I am a game developer, I am perhaps the worst one in the world. I haven't even completed my first complete game yet!!!!

Why am I sharing all of this? Because if there is one thing that I hate most in the world, it is a person pretending to be something their not. Not only that, but I am simply afraid. I don't respond well to criticism. For those who know me (even though you may not believe it), I am actually a very insecure person. I don't think highly of myself. I feel like I am always letting people down. Hopefully through sharing all these feelings with you, I can: 1) have a reasonable support group that knows what I'm really like. 2) prevent people from having unreasonable expectations of me. and 3) stop those thoughts of “what happened to that guy? He was so cool and then he just dropped off to nowhere. Man, what a loser!“. Now, I doubt any of you really feel like #3, but you never know.

I would love to hear from any of you out there sharing your opinions about me (what kind of person you think I am, etc.) because I like being a down-to-earth person who knows their strengths and weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is that I am a hermit. I don't like going out of my way to be social. And no, I am not trying to fish for compliments. Those of you out there that have compliments can keep them, because I want to hear constructively what people get out of this blog. If it is just getting to know me, then so be it (hopefully after this post, you're one step closer). If you like this blog because of an area that I have talked about but have given the wrong impression of where my strengths are, I want you to know how I feel and where my weaknesses are so you know how faulty my information might be.

I guess part of this comes from still discovering what I am really doing with this blog thing. One of my favorite blogs is Rory Blyth's blog because you get to know who Rory is as a person. I don't want to be a simple automaton that simply echos other information that's already been said somewhere else. I want this blog to have some *real* value. You know, less noise, more signal.

Anyways, thank you all for being a virtual Dr. Phil for me. I feel better getting that off my chest. And I'm sorry if I let any of you down, after all, I am merely human. 'Til next time, God Bless!


Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 10:39 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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Amen brother. I know exactly what you mean about the burnt out feeling. Although lately, that burnt out feeling comes from external forces and not internal ones.

I think that this is your best post ever and I don't think that I will be alone in that theory.
Left by carlos on May 19, 2004 5:20 PM

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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You happened to mention the word 'Nirvana' a few times...I love Nirvana (The band, that is). :)

Anyway, I don't know you; this is the first blog I've read on your site. All I can say is that you're not alone, and that we all get burned out once in a while. Heck, I've been burned out for some time now, but you just have to keep your head up, and think positive...tomorrows a new day, a new beginning.

Take care!
Left by michael on May 19, 2004 5:28 PM

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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Michael -

Thanks for the kind words. At this point, I'm just trying to fight off the darkness long enough to finish up some of my private programming commitments so I can take a much-needed break.
Left by Jason Olson on May 20, 2004 12:09 PM

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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Andy -

Thanks also for the kind words. My problem isn't so much worrying that my friends won't be there for me (because if they aren't, they're obviously not friends). The problem are the people that I want to be friends with (or are already friends with but I want them to have a "high opinion" of me). I could get all philosphical and trace back these kinds of feelings all the way back to my parents divorce. I have such a low self-confidence that I usually don't take it very while when people think "man, he has so much talent, if only he did something with it!". But, I give. I know I just need a break. And I know I have a large support group to support me through that time.
Left by Jason Olson on May 20, 2004 12:13 PM

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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I googled "burned out on programming" and your blog came up. I wanted to see what others thought because I'm feeling this now too. I've felt it before but I'm worried that those of us in this career may be in for more before things get better. I tend to bail when that happens.

In my case I think that I've hit a wall; I've done pretty much everything I can do without either trying to reach a new level of understanding (translated: another degree or certification) or else working together with competent others to create. I don't see either of these alternatives as likely right now.

In the past I've attended conferences and come back refreshed, charged up and enthused. Other times I've come back disgusted and bummed and broke.

I think that for you and me and others who are creative and able to leverage that creativity the natural (and unfortunate) path is to have to find new ways to apply our energies every so often (for me it's been a career change about every 7-10 years). Unfortunately our economy and society make this really expensive in terms of $$ and success.

But no one said it would be easy. I often remember the scene from Huxley's "1984" when the lovers are about to be arrested, near the end of the story. A helocopter is hovering outside and as the main character smokes a cigarette and waits to be be arrested for wanting a life and taking a lover, he watches a washerwoman in the same apartment complex on the ground outside hang up her wash, humming happily all the while. Some are fortunate enough to be pleased with mundane and find peace in the daily grind. Others are tortured by their interests and ambition. Which is preferable?? Only you can decide.
Left by MrMister on Jun 03, 2004 11:37 AM

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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I totally feel ya man. I too googled for '"burnt out" programming' and found your blog. I also hear you on the letting people down, and I come from a similar (divorced parents background). It's easier said than done, but the fact is that you know better than anybody else what is good for you. You choose what to do and not do and you need not make any apologies. In less than 80 years, we'll all be dead. You only get one trip. Let that trip be uniquely yours. Tomorrow I'm sending in my resignation letter to work. I love the people there, but I'm bored with the job. My advice to you would be to get some perspective. Force yourself away from the computer entirely for a while - go volunteer abroad or teach english or whatever floats your boat - and see if you're drawn back to it or not. There are many many wonderful things to experience out there. Whatever you want to do, do it. You don't have forever.
Left by Justin Weeks on Jan 08, 2005 8:22 PM

# re: Do You Ever Get That Burned-Out Feeling?
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Thanksfor the feedback Justin. I'm doing something similar to get refreshed. I'm actually a jazz musician in my spare time but have not been doing hardly any music lately. I think that's one of the main drivers for getting burned out is that my life is totally out of the balance that it once had. I'm doing a lot better lately. I'll be doing even better when I can actually come out and announce the exciting peace of news that I have (I'm just waiting for it to be official).
Left by Jason Olson on Jan 19, 2005 2:20 PM

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