A few things about occupational burnout

When I heard the term burnout before, I thought about long hours, stress, no vacation. And apparently I’m not the only one thinking like this, or at least I was thinking like this until a few days ago.

I found myself describing the term burnout in an email this way: “repetitive tasks that don’t represent a professional challenge” and in the reply I got to my email I was pointed out that my definition was not correct because burnout has other causes, mainly extreme levels of stress or overtime. “Good point” I thought, but I had a gut feeling there must be another nuance to this and started a little research.

The first result I got when searching the Internet for burnout was a Wikipedia article and it turns out there are multiple causes and effects of Occupational burnout:

Burnout is a type of psychological stress. Occupational burnout or job burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, and also may have the dimension of frustration or cynicism, and as a result reduced efficacy within the workplace.

That’s exactly what I was feeling: lack of enthusiasm and motivation, lack of control, feeling of ineffectiveness at work. Other articles mention this:

The profile of an employee who suffers from burnout may surprise you. It is often a person who cares deeply about his or her job but hits a roadblock somewhere along the way and simply stops caring – sometimes as a matter of self-defense.

Or this:

Burnout can result from too little stimulus. Workers complain that the job has gone stale. That it’s repetitive, monotonous and simply doesn’t challenge them enough.

The entire article about burnout can be found here, it explains the main causes of burnout and the things you can do about it.

I read all these articles after I took my decision to act on this, but they just confirmed my choice was the right one. I knew I had to do something about it, to get out of the comfort zone and work on something new.

Thinking retrospectively, I encountered this kind of stress before, but now I felt it was the moment to make a change. It was not an easy decision, but I decided to part ways with the company I was working for and work on something new, that I’m really passionate about.

I still love the web and my profession, so I started dueblo.com with my brother in law Andrei Bacter, who is an awesome designer and as passionate about design as I am about web development. If you got an idea or project you need help with, we’re open for business and we offer design and web development services.

The best tomatoes in the world

One form of happines is experiencing the tastes of your childhood. Every year, at the end of August I get to taste the best tomatoes in the world, grown with love by my parents in their garden. I am not a vegetarian, but I enjoy eating fruit or vegetables more than any kind of meat.

These tomatoes are special to me, not only because they have an incredible taste, but because they have a story that reminds me of my childhood summer holidays. I remember being 12 or 13 and reading all the books I could lay my eyes on, staying late in the night and falling asleep during a chapter, only to wake up the next morning eager to find out what the story protagonists were up to. And I stayed in bed and kept reading until hunger reeled me back to the real world.

Then I went into the garden and and picked a couple of tomatoes (they are quite large), took a slice of bread and some cheese from the fridge and that was my breakfast. The mixture of flavors, the cold cheese combined with the warmth of the tomatoes which have been bathing in the morning sun, that was heaven, a simple and tasty breakfast that allowed me to get back in the fantasy world of my books.

Yesterday morning, while the rest of the family was still sleeping, I woke up and went reading in my parents’s garden under the shade of a big walnut tree. After finishing a couple of chapters, I followed my childhood routine and picked some tomatoes from the garden, knowing the sweet taste will still be godly as I remember. And it was indeed, the taste of my childhood.

Ripe tomatoes bathing in the morning sun

Ripe tomatoes bathing in the morning sun

A simple security measure

In the light of the Ashley Madison hack, a very simple security measure popped up and it’s something that can be easily fixed by any website owner in order to increase the privacy of their users. This measure is the consistency of the message received on the forgot password page.

Most of the websites return an error message if the email entered in the forgot password page form is not found in the database, or a success message if the email is found, which is a very simple way of finding if someone uses a certain website just by knowing their email address. Sure, people might have multiple emails, but this might still be a disaster waiting to happen if somebody’s spouse checks their significant other’s email address in one of the dating websites.

The simple solution is to return exactly the same message when an email is submitted, and deciding in the backend what action needs to be taken in each case.

Pumped up

I ran 10km this morning almost with no effort, double of what I usually run. That’s the kind of energy I got after spending 3 days in the mountains. Now I’m all pumped up and ready for the week ahead.

Făgăraș adventure

The beginning of March is the time when most people can’t wait to get a glimpse of the spring flowers and a bit of sun. Not for the hardcore people at Lateral, who planned the coolest adventure so far this year, a trip to the Făgăraș Mountains. We had our fair share of blinding sunlight, subzero temperatures and plenty of snow.

Făgăraș Mountains

Făgăraș Mountains

The mountains give you a special kind of energy that keeps your batteries charged for a long while. Each cliff that you climb is a challenge and keeps you focused, you find strenght and energy in yourself you didn’t know you had. Reaching the top gives you a sense of accomplishment that lingers on and makes you mentally fitter for the everyday routine.

Back to basics

Starting from today my website is a single static html page hosted on Dropbox. This article was written in a code editor and as soon as I hit save, my website was updated. I felt I needed to do this, remove as many barriers as possible between writing and publishing.

I told my colleagues about it and some of them laughed at the idea. Here it is guys and since it’s friday, I’m going to hit the pub with my programmer friends and talk web stuff and drink a few beers. Cheers!