Handling Burnout?

Caveat lector: this is not a helpful post. In fact, I’m asking for your help. See, I keep getting burnt out with Web dev. I’ll get to work on a quick project that makes the skies open and the angels sing in my head, then get stuck in months-long back-end dev coding more akin to Dante’s seventh circle of Hell than a desirable career.

Oh, there have been a few bits of fun work, like branching my sewing blog onto its own domain with a custom WP theme and design, based again on the HTML5 Boilerplate project. Of course, aside from about $.02 in ad revenue per month, that’s not a paying gig.

But I also turned down a freelance project or two, knowing that taking them on would send me spiraling into another burnout-induced crappy paranormal-romance reading binge. (Well, really that’s a good thing: being in the position to say “no” to clients and projects you don’t want to deal with right now, but still, indicative of burnout to some extent.)

And some days, when I have to explain JS library dependencies and script ordering for the umpteenth time and find myself saying ”do not include multiple JS libraries unless you absolutely have to and for heaven’s sake why do you have four versions of jQuery included on this page!?!?” again, I just want to scream, run out into the cold central NY winter and curl into the fetal position until a snow drift buries me (or scream, run home and pet all my pretty fabrics I want to make stuff out of, then curl into a ball and read).

How do you deal with it? I have coping skills, but they seem to be growing ever more ineffectual. What do you do, when another minute of backtracing someone else’s bunk PHP project is another minute too much, and you’d rather be making things pretty with efficient, elegant CSS but, of course, that’s not in the budget so you just have to deal with the twenty nested tables that a “Web developer” (a.k.a. someone who knew enough to get in trouble and decided to open up a side business) coded two years ago? What gets you out of the funk, motivated to finish the project?

Alright, lunch time is over, the high of completing stage 1 of a new project is quickly fading—now back to the maintenance trenches of a poorly planned project that haunts me in my sleep.

One thought on “Handling Burnout?”

  1. You can always avoid burnout by condemning yourself to a mediocre, semi-skilled job in tourism/retail! I’m 24 years old and I make single digit dollars an hour! I love life!!!

    On a more serious (maybe helpful?) note, maybe something like shifting from raw coding to holding/organizing dev seminars and workshops to address all these issue of code abuse would be in the long-term making.

    In the short term? Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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