Is the tech industry’s pace sustainable for long-term mental and physical health?

Is the tech industry pace sustainable for long-term mental and physical health
Technology changes so quickly that what was common a few years ago may now be obsolete (hello, jQuery). New technologies replace the old ones, and we must keep up with this pace as tech leaders and programmers. Additionally, we often increase the level of difficulty for ourselves. From Junior to Senior. And once you're a senior, you can become a tech leader, architect, or manager. But is this healthy? Can one keep this pace for a year, two, five, or ten years?

I guess not. I was rushing like that. Taconafide and Quebo (Polish rappers) sing in the song Art-B:

“Shock! From a mutt to a millionaire in a year.”

(Original: ”Szok! W milionera z kundla w rok”)

I experienced this with programming – from a roofer to a front-end developer in a year. I took the bait and evolved from a front-end developer to a full-stack developer. Next, I wanted to be a “Magento master.” Sure enough! Leading a team, can’t I handle it? I’m a tech lead. Frontend, backend, team. That’s nothing – now I’ll even deal with Cloud and infrastructure.

We struggle with the challenge of continuous learning, adapting, and creating at the highest level. However, this constant pursuit of perfection and innovation can have dark sides. The pressure for rapid development and continuous availability for work can lead to chronic stress and, in the long term – to more serious health problems.

This is a straightforward path to occupational burnout, and burnout is a feeling of exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced work efficiency. Moreover, prolonged sitting in front of a computer screen and lack of physical activity can lead to back problems, overweight, and even chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

And this is serious. I gained 15 kilos. I have friends who have encountered other problems. Doesn’t look good, does it? Tech companies and leaders must promote healthy work practices, including proper time management, regular breaks, and encouraging physical activity. Otherwise, we will either die out or be replaced by AI.

Work stress is associated with various adverse reactions, such as job dissatisfaction, low organizational commitment, and a high tendency to quit. Ultimately, this negatively affects employee productivity.

What’s the conclusion? Let’s make sure that our work environment is more friendly and less stressful. Steps you can take to make it so:

  1. Prioritize essential tasks: Focus on tasks that really matter and let less important things wait.
  2. Measure your abilities: Choose one goal you want to achieve and focus on it. Only do ten things at a time.
  3. Take care of your physical health: Healthy eating and physical activity can greatly improve stress management in the workplace.
  4. Disconnect: You don’t have to be online 24/7. If something overwhelms you, you should take a break and return to work when calm and energized.
  5. Write down what annoys you: Writing down the most annoying things can help you calm down a bit. And once you’ve written it down, crumple that paper and throw it in the trash. (A shredder works well too).

Choose one thing from this list and start doing it TODAY. The results may surprise you.

If this article has shed some light on the issue of mental and physical health in our rapidly developing world of technology, please — share it with colleagues, friends, and coworkers. Talking about these issues is the first step towards creating a healthier and more balanced work environment for all of us.

Thank you in advance, and here are some sources if you want to delve deeper into this topic:

And here I’m also linking for you the mentioned song by Taco and Quebo (I don’t know if you’ll like Polish hip-hop, but give it a chance!) :

Thanks for reading!

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