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I’m a fucking software engineer

There have been times in my life when I’ve been pulled away from the core work that fulfills me most in life: building software companies that grow extremely fast. This is a dangerous lull and valley for an engineer to be in. We’re naturally antsy, aloof, and easily bored. And whenever the topic of burnout comes up I always share that working too little–facing too little of a challenge and staying stuck in complacency–can lead to even more severe burnout than being overworked. At least in the case of office jobs.

Pulling yourself out of this type of mud is hard work, even for highly motivated people or engineers (engineers are sort of people, but sometimes we’re quite rude and could definitely be a little nicer). This is especially true if you’re doing “ok enough” financially or in your career trajectory.

We all go through seasons and changes in our lives that can take us by surprise and if we do not have extremely firm, confident footing in both our relationships and our work before we head into an unexpected storm, we’re bound to find ourselves stuck in the muck even as previously incredibly accomplished people.

My therapist and coach has told me that anger can be motivating. I don’t get angry, but I do try to summon it sometimes to motivate myself in interesting ways.

So when I’ve found myself stuck in the depths of Mordor, I rip myself out and say to myself, “I’m a fucking software engineer, and I can literally make life-changing technology out of ‘nothing.’ And that’s fucking magic.”



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Published September 13, 2022