Today marks 4 years since I crashed and wrote off my car while driving to work one morning due to being burnt out. At the time I didn’t really realise I was burnt out or even what burnout was.
The company I was working for at the time had a huge industry show at the end of January every year. This was a chance to show off new features and demo versions of future features and led to working a lot of overtime on evenings and weekends in the run up to it.
My commute was at least an hour and a half of driving each way and I was tired and mentally drained meaning I wasn’t paying I couldn’t fully pay attention, no matter how hard I tried. As I was about half way to work one morning, I came over a ridge to find a van doing a turn in the road with a queue of 4 cars stopped in front of me. I tried to slow down but couldn’t react quick enough and swerved towards the kerb to avoid hitting the Porsche at the end of the queue. My car mounted the high kerb and slid along it on it’s underside past 3 of the cars and scraped along the side of the last one before landing back on the road.
I pulled the car over to the side of the road and checked that the people in the other cars were alright. I then checked out my car and it was in awful shape. The front axel had snapped when I hit the high kerb, the driver’s side door was dented and scratched from scraping along the last car, and it was leaking fluids due to the underside being damaged when sliding along the kerb.
A passing police officer pulled over to help when he saw what had happened. He helped us make sure that we’d done everything we needed to, called a recovery truck to collect my car and gave me a lift to the bus station so I could get to work. I’m super thankful that he stopped as I wasn’t in a great mental state to deal with this and his guidance was extremely helpful.
Having totalled my car, my commute increased to 2 and a half hours each way and I had to cope with this as well as the high work load and having to deal with the insurance company. I was already thinking about moving to live somewhere closer but the longer commute made it more urgent, so I also had to deal with finding somewhere to live and packing.
I found somewhere, moved there in early February and took a few days off to relax, recover and reflect. I really felt the difference and realised that I was burnt out and that burnout has real effects. I’d been spending my own time, exhausting myself and putting my own health at risk for a company that in the long run didn’t really care about me.
I stopped doing overtime and started fighting to stop the causes of it. My personal time since then has been spent doing stuff for me, whether that’s playing games, working on my open source projects, cooking or doing pixel art.
Burnout has real effects. Take care of yourself, your health is important.