Burnout should not be the baseline
On coasting. Also known as the slowdown, and sometimes known as the WTF am I doing with my life, middle-aged edition.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, I turned my Linkedin open-to-work status off. It had only been visible to recruiters, but I’ve had it turned on for years—mostly to keep my options open to see what was out there during the pandemic tech hiring boom, and then out of curiosity to gauge the change in velocity of messages from recruiters and hiring managers during this current downturn. Even though switching my status has changed really nothing, it was still a very intentional act, perhaps more symbolic than anything.
A few months ago I wrote that I’ve come to think of 2023 in two parts: before Korea and after Korea. I would be wrapping up a few contract jobs by mid-April and I was looking forward to a real break. I used the timing of my trip as a benchmark to see how I felt about my career in design when I returned.
It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve been back. I remember ruminating that I would be disappointed if the trip didn’t change me, even thought I wasn't sure what that even meant. And, has it? Decisively, yes. There is so much life to experience out there and I came back knowing that I didn’t want a job or a career to define my self worth anymore. Aside from a few quick freelance projects, I’ve spent this month doing all the things that I convinced myself I never had time for. Reading books, spending more time with people, writing, planning, taking daily walks, pursuing some personal projects.