Main image of article Technologist Burnout on the Decline, But Remains Pervasive Issue

Nobody is immune from burnout. That’s what technologists who try to juggle too many things inevitably learn. But burnout isn’t always due to overwork; for many, it’s rooted in bad management, or even a lack of recognition from their manager and peers.

According to Dice’s 2020 Salary Report, technologists felt less burned out in 2019 than they did in 2018 (31 percent, down from 35 percent). But that’s not the whole story: While most attributed their burnout issues to workload or hours worked, there were other contributing factors you might not expect, such as team friction, the aforementioned lack of recognition, and monotony. Here’s the full chart:

In other words, it’s important to remain vigilant about burnout, which can come from multiple directions. Classic burnout symptoms include:

  • Cynicism.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Irritability and impatience.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Disillusionment.
  • Negative changes in sleep patterns.
  • Negative changes in eating patterns.
  • Physical illness.
  • Negative use of food, drugs, and alcohol.

Fixing Burnout for Good

If your burnout stems from lack of recognition or an insane schedule, that’s good motivation to sit down with your manager and explain the situation. Before you take that step, though, there are some other things you can do in order to re-establish your equilibrium: 

  • Get on a regular sleep schedule. 
  • Take a vacation (your PTO is there for a reason). 
  • Exercise is a major stress-reliever. 
  • Stop checking your email and work-related texts 24/7. 
  • Find a “stress buddy”; sometimes just talking about your concerns will trigger stress relief. 
  • Set boundaries and figure out how to say “no.” 

When the time comes to negotiate with your manager, emphasize how solving your burnout issue will ultimately make you a more productive and happier employee—which ultimately benefits the company. You and your manager might decide on more realistic deadlines, extra opportunities for public recognition, or any number of other solutions. But if your company doesn’t offer solutions for your burnout, perhaps it’s time to look for another position.  

If you actually decide to look for a new position, the Salary Report makes it clear that opportunities abound—and not just in major tech hubs such as Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley (i.e., New York City). For instance, Columbus and St. Louis enjoyed double-digit year-over-year growth in salaries (14.2 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively), and cities such as Denver and Atlanta also saw a spike in compensation and growth. Employers on the hunt for skilled, experienced talent are often willing to negotiate about points of work-life balance that will meet your needs—and hopefully allow you to avoid burnout.