If you’re feeling burnt out (or feel like you’re on your way there), unfortunately you’re not alone. In a recent State of Burnout in Tech 2022 report, two in five tech professionals (out of 30,000 surveyed) show a high risk of burnout. Out of the individual contributors that responded, 42.8% reported high levels of burnout, followed closely by 29.1% of respondents reporting moderate levels of burnout.
It comes as no surprise that burnout is a real issue – there are bugs to fix, code reviews to complete, and features to build…but also many other tasks that make our TODO list endless. But as the State of Burnout in Tech report aptly described, one of the biggest causes of burnout is self-inefficacy. Let’s see what that is, what it looks like, and how we can overcome it.
What is Self-inefficacy?
Self-inefficacy is feeling a lack of power or capacity to produce a desired effect. When self-inefficacy strikes, it overcomes developers with a sense of ineffectiveness and a lack of accomplishment. This makes sense – when we can’t do our jobs or complete even the smallest tasks, there’s a sense of low morale that can develop due to being unproductive. Redundant manual work is another way self-inefficacy sneaks its way into our jobs, pulling us away from the important, exciting, or otherwise more rewarding parts of our jobs. Over time, these feelings of self-inefficacy compound and can lead to burnout.
What does Self-inefficacy look like?
As a developer or DevOps practitioner, you may have experienced self-inefficacy already! One issue that seems to affect both tech professionals alike is the inability to access and work with complex infrastructure. Whether that’s configuring complex environments as they are requested or repeating manual tasks to build those environments, both involve lots of repetition (taking you away from more important tasks) and added mental overhead to make sure things are configured exactly right.
Another common issue is the pressure that comes with working with and properly configuring infrastructure. Stressing over security policies and compliance guidelines should not be underestimated – one wrong line of code or an incorrectly granted set of permissions could lead to costly consequences. Forgetting to scale down when resources are no longer needed or not having limits in place could lead to unintended cloud costs that go over budget. And even the regular maintenance, patches, and updates that go into working with infrastructure can be a tedious process with unintended consequences if not done properly.
As common as these issues are, self-inefficacy can easily strike within any of them at any time.
How can we overcome Self-Inefficacy (and avoid burnout)?
What better way to deal with a problem than to do what we do best: automation! Tools that can ease the automation of common tasks, like Quali’s Torque, can empower developers to do more, and in turn, feel more productive. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is another powerful way to automate most infrastructure tasks, and can be a terrific way to ward off self-inefficacy. To get the most out of using Infrastructure as Code on your own teams, join Quali’s own Ronak Rahman in a free webinar, Thursday, October 6, 2022 part of Cisco’s Develop series. Ronak will tell you everything you need to know about scaling infrastructure as code, from managing it and enabling continuous delivery, to achieving the right level of control.
Another way we can nip self-inefficacy in the bud is to empower developers to be self-sufficient. For example, providing developers a way to gain on-demand access to the application environments they need would allow them to accomplish more with their time. Instead of requesting disparate resources and manually configuring environments to be exactly right, tools like Torque can provide “Environments as a Service,” leaving more time for actual development.
Join us at Cisco Develop on October 18th
Even with such tools, delivering and maintaining this infrastructure requires highly specialized skills and expertise that are hard to come by. Luckily, Quali’s CEO Lior Koriat will be delivering a session “Navigating the Infrastructure Skills Gap” at Cisco’s Develop event on 10/18!
Lastly, finding a work/life rhythm that’s sustainable can be the missing piece to avoiding burnout. Even after all the things have been automated and common tasks made available in a self-service manner, there are still occasions where breaks are needed. If you find yourself forgetting to eat or feeling quite stiff at the end of the day, it could be worth it to schedule lunch breaks and stretch breaks. If you find that you perform your best “focus” work during the mornings, rearrange your schedule to complete the most brain-intensive tasks at that time. The more you can invoke feelings of meaningful productivity, the less likely you’ll allow self-inefficacy into your work. And the less likely you’ll let burnout affect you at all!
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