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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Silicon Valley Burnout?

Uploaded: May 6, 2022
Psychologists Herbert Freudenberger & Gail North identified the concept of burnout in the 1970s and assigned it 12 stages of development and experience.

Do you see yourself here? It may not go in linear order. If you don’t recognize yourself on this chart, does your partner identify you on it? Your co-workers? Keep your cool if they do! I’m pretty sure you hide it, possibly even from yourself. I encourage you to actually look for it, and take steps to help yourself (and your family, friends, and co-workers by extension).

The very culture of Silicon Valley is set up for burnout. As I see so many burned out clients, it makes me think about Unions, which were created in 1794 to protect workers. A Stanford research study, The Productivity of Working Hours by John Pencavel, revealed that working more than 50 hours/week decreases your productivity, and after 55 hours, you may as well not bother.

As my good friend and colleague, Howard Scott Warshaw, author of Atari: Game Over, and The Inspired Therapist says: “Silicon Valley is where the world’s best, brightest and most ambitious people come to be merely average.”

The first thing you can do is recognize your burnout. Next, get help to make changes. The reason I’m recommending getting help is that if you could have prevented this on your own, you would have. At the same time, create a list of self-care to follow. I looked online for self-care lists to share with you. Ironically, I found lists of 50 and 100 things to do for self-care. Which may scare you away (since you don’t have enough time as it is)! Here’s a Psychology Today article with a self-care list.

As you know, I believe your “primary” relationship actually needs to be primary--meaning it’s your top priority. I realize this may feel or seem that you’re turning your life upside down. And in a way it is.

There are serious health risks associated with burnout. No one but you can decide to change your life. I invite you to be healthier and have a better life.

Let me know how it goes.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by MyFeelz, a resident of JLS Middle School,
on May 10, 2022 at 8:42 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

I'll admit to being on Stage 8 but probably others see me as being higher than that. I livedin Menlo Park in the early 80's, when Silicon Valley was more about scientific research and many tech jobs came out of that. I worked at Stanford Mall in one of the new wings south of The Tinder Box and every day I took the train to work, and walked to the mall from there and all I can remember was the aroma of exotic blends of pipe tobacco and new paint that greeted me along the way. It was a time when entry-level and higher echelon co-existed. When the dot com days started, it ushered in a new caste system. It's hard to explain my perspective, but before that happened I remember feeling like this is how life should be -- no one is above or below another. Now, in the climate of extreme poverty living among the moneyed elite it has created a stand-off of sorts. Nobody is willing to lay down their arms and broker a workable truce. Every day it feels more defeating to go out the door only to discover whatever sensory assault is about to happen. I find myself disagreeing with just about everyone about everything and I wonder if it's me who's changed, or them? It's probably both of us. We have got to find some common ground because the global climate and economy are poised to make friends or enemies of everyone on earth. Most of us can't afford a rocket ship to live in space while the world melts down or whatever Musk and Bezos are anticipating. Tomorrow's vote on abortion rights will probably thrown me right up to 12.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 12, 2022 at 1:19 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks for sharing MyFeelz. Lots of important things in your comment.

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