Burnout in the Tech Industry

This past December I was invited to present at Agile Day Twin Cities. The theme for this years one-day conference was smarter agile scaling. Or as my friend Anne Steiner says “scaling without geting stupid”. Too often I see people misconstrue scaling with high burnout, so I wanted to use the stage to spark a conversation.

This topic hits close to home for me. On Christmas Day, 2016 I found myself getting admitted to the cardiac unit at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. For three days I laid on a hospital bed, hooked up to all sorts of monitors, with doctors running all sorts of tests to determine what was going on with my heart. I was 37 years old, athletic, seemingly healthy and the doctors diagnosed me with left ventricular hypertrophy and high blood pressure. Having excellent labs with everything else, the docs chalked it up to long ignored high blood pressure caused by a combo of genetics and stress. I was burned out.

With so many misinterpretations about scaling, agility, breaking things and moving fast, many organizations are realizing a growing concern of employee burnout. This is a serious problem not only for the person who is burnt out, but it also affects their family, friends, workplace, community, and even our economy. As written in a recent Forbes article, “Why We Need To Talk About Burnout In The Tech Industry”, the healthcare spending on workplace stress costs an estimated $125 to $190 billion annually. Even worse, it contributes to around 120,000 deaths per year.

Data supports estimates that job burnout contributes to 120,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Look, the reality is that burnout is rampant in our fast-paced, high-demand, competitive environment that is the tech industry. But it does not have to be this way. The talk focuses on sharing real and tangible solutions on what we can do to protect ourselves against burnout.

This is such an important topic to me that I’m willing to present pro bono for anyone in the Twin Cities. Please reach out if you’re interested in having me present at your next team or company meeting. You can find my slides here. Join the conversation and lets and make a positive difference today.

Leah Cunningham @leah