Occupational Burnout

Nick Soper

Key Sources

Monzo, Stress: Are We Coping?

2 hrs 17 mins - 4 talks from a live stream - Q&A at 1:32

“...aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn't, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression”


Raised in Bristol

Happy family




I had burnt out

My Work

  • Longevity - 10 years
  • Investment - Millions $$$
  • Isolation - Working alone (mostly)


  • This work is taking much longer than planned
  • I'm going to miss the target date
  • There are loads of bugs I've not yet found


  • Mentally drained - unable to think clearly
  • Low mood
  • Sense of inadequacy
  • Fear of the golden question: “How long will it take?”

Physical feelings

  • Almost permanent tiredness
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia


  • Losing interest in socialising
  • Working long hours
  • Trying to do too much

What is burnout?

Maslach Burnout Inventory

  1. Emotional exhaustion
  2. Reduced performance or motivation
  3. Detachment or depersonalisation

...a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job...

...when your efforts at work have failed to produce the results that you expected, and you feel deeply disillusioned as a result.


Fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork,or intense activity.


An experience of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, caused by long-term involvement in situations that are emotionally demanding.

  • Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of work-related personal accomplishment
  • Emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue, and cognitive weariness
  • Exhaustion and disengagement

A state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by a prolonged period of stress and frustration; an inevitable corporate condition characterized by frequent displays of unprofessional behavior, a blithe refusal to do any work, and most important, a distinct aura of not giving a shit.


Do we encourage stress?


Expect to fend for yourself because we're too busy to help you.

Fast paced environment

High productivity at all costs.

You'll be fielding a steady flow of emergencies.

You're going to work more hours than we're paying you.

Seeks passionate developer

You’ll put your job above all else.

The word “passion” is a translation of the Greek word πάσχειν paschein, which means ‘to suffer’

Thrives under pressure

Guaranteed stress on a regular basis


Talk about it

So what should we do? Talk. Listen. Encourage talking. Encourage listening. Keep adding to the conversation.

Matt Haig, Reasons to stay alive



Monzo, Stress: Are We Coping?

Professional help



GP - Rest options

  1. Get an official sick note and take two weeks off work
  2. Self sign off for one week
  3. Don’t take time off

Change your habits

  • Getting someone else on the project
  • Sticking to my hours
  • Having open conversations with pretty much everyone (Monzo)
  • Keeping a mood diary (Monzo)
  • Daily meditation (Monzo)
  • Keep exercising
  • Massively reduced alcohol

Coming out

  • Private conversations with 3 people at work
  • Private slack channel

Culture of Transparency

Boys don't cry


We create safe spaces for people to talk about mental health. We do this online, in our community and within the workplace.

UK 3:1
USA 4:1
Greece 6:1

Suicide rates, male:female

Why do so many men still kill themselves? What is going wrong?

The common answer is that men, traditionally, see mental illness as a sign of weakness and are reluctant to seek help.

Matt Haig, Reasons to stay alive
Horizon: Stopping Male Suicide

...at the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit, where a zero suicide target requires doctors to screen every patient, every time they see them, for mental health issues and suicidal thoughts...

The Guardian - Horizon: Stopping Male Suicide review

This policy reduced suicide rates among their patients by 80% and some years they did achieve their goal of zero!

Really coming out

"Giving permission"

"Making yourself vulnerable"

Monzo, Stress: Are We Coping?

So I started a mental-health slack channel


Mood Diary

Because developers love logging!!!



Not dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future.

Nick Soper

Best Meditation Apps 2018 Reviewed

Matt Haig

Matt Haig

“...aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn't, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression”

Matt Haig

“...a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century”


Final thoughts


If you are a man or woman with mental health problems, you are part of a very large and growing group...

Matt Haig, Reasons to stay alive

Look after yourself

Comparing yourself to others is one of the most unhelpful things you can do in life.

Nick Soper

Have conversations - Reduce stigma

Words - spoken or written - are what connect us to the world, and so speaking about it to people, and writing about this stuff, helps connect us to each other, and our true selves.

Matt Haig, Reasons to stay alive