This is me, many years ago, sitting alone at work. Where else would I be? I love what I do. It would be crazy not to be working all the time… Right? Let me tell you a story.
Since I was 12, I wanted to make computer games. It was my dream job. Years later, it came true. I became a game developer. All I could think about was programming games, at work and during my free time. I had side programming projects and whatnot. I remember once meeting this new guy in our company. He had just been hired, and right from the beginning, he was asking about a four-day workweek and working shorter hours on some days. Whoa! What a disrespectful dude! He was working his dream job! All of us love making games, so why on Earth would you want to leave earlier? Do you have a life or something? At that time, I was angry at that guy. If he wasn’t willing to put in the hours and overtime, he clearly did not love this job.
Fast forward to today. I’ve moved past the job burnout that happened to me a couple of years ago. Going to the office and not being able to work, not able to focus on anything, just sitting like a zombie and staring at my computer screen. It got so bad that my supervisors once asked if I was looking for a new job because I looked so disconnected and passive. My burnout lasted for a couple of months. I don’t remember exactly what I did to fight it, but it passed. Even though it happened a long time ago, I still remember it to this day, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Now that I’m older and, hopefully, less foolish, I know that I need to have boundaries. It might not work for all of you, but it works for me. Even if you love candy, you’ll get sick of it if you eat too much. That was me at the very beginning of my GameDev journey—coding all the time, thinking about games all the time, having side game projects all the time. It was not sustainable in any way. I was destined to crash, and I did.
I like stories that have some moral at the end. I’m not sure this one has any. Just let it serve as a reminder for myself.