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Productivity, Burnout, and Survival of the Fittest

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Solfege, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    @Microwave You made far more sense than invictus.

    Agree with everything you said and it matches up with what I’ve seen.
     
  2. Heleor

    Heleor EsperJones

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    I feel like I'm a slacker reading those stories.

    I'm alright with that.
     
  3. Genghiz Khan

    Genghiz Khan Order Member

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    Don't. @Microwave is right: most people who end up studying their asses off aren't very satisfied. Take it from me, my entire community, extended family, and friend circle is like that. We have group video calls in which all of my college friends (and myself) truly just ask for the meaning of it all. We've worked our asses off, and some of us are making a few hundred thousand dollars a year. And for what? The regular frustration of a job which demands PhD-level hours from you? If you like it, you're lucky. If you don't, you're fucked. Better be happy than successful is my takeaway.

    Of course, that doesn't mean my kid (whenever I get to having one) is going through any other route in life. It's the hard knock life for him/her. ^_^
     
  4. Utsane

    Utsane Fourth Year

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    I went to highschool in India, where I grew up. I'm at UC Davis now.

    Highschool for me was a very bad period of my life. I had tons of friends and stuff, but I was on the brink of suicide for three straight years. My parents were, compared to most of my peers, relatively easygoing, but that doesn't really mean anything when my friends' parents would literally lock they're teenage kids in their rooms with food and textbooks for 4 hours every day. In India there are two very important years: 10th grade and 12th grade, at the end of which you write a public board exam.

    I can't really put into words how much pressure is put on kids to do well in them. I was convinced when I was 15 than the next week would determine whether or not I was a failure as a person. And in many ways, it did.
    People ask me what my grades were in my 10th boards even today, 5 years after the fact. People in my own family judge me based on my grades. Don't get me wrong, I didn't do especially badly or anything. I did pretty fucking well. But I didn't place in the top 100 students in the country. Yeah. Out of the literal tens of thousands of kids taking that exam that year, I wasn't in the top 100, and many people in my family are disappointed in me for that.

    11th and 12th grade wasn't better. Those were the college prep years. I'm not exaggerating when I say there wasn't a single day during that time that, had I had the courage, I wouldn't have killed myself. Lucky for me, I'm a fucking pussy.

    Fuck that shit, yo. I don't really care anymore whether or not I make everyone I meet proud of me. I want to do what I want to do, and I'm doing it. I like what I'm studying in college. I like where I'm at. Highschool was a shitshow that I hate remembering, which is why I haven't actually talked all that much about it in this reply.

    I'm just really glad I survived it.
     
  5. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Death Eater DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    I'm blown away by this thread, a lot of you are extremely impressive folk, and shame on you for wasting your valuable time here.

    I have to admit, I feel I've had a similar experience to agayek but I feel surrounded by people who work incredibly hard and I feel like ultimately in the professional sphere it's finally hitting me because I suffered a large and unexpected setback this year.

    I don't speak two languages, or play any instruments, no sporting achievements and I wasn't the head of any club or charity. Somehow I got into medical school without a huge amount of difficulty and muddled through with minimal extra work.

    Mostly I'm writing this because I think medical school here in the UK is a fantastically different experience to what Van Ropen described. There was a lot of opportunity to do extra, but minimal reason to. Some people would do extra degrees and exams/clubs if they wanted to be neurosurgeons/plastic surgeons but otherwise I got the impression that it was essentially getting through a very proscribed curriculum and degree and coming out the other side into a job.

    This is vastly different to all the other non-medic Durham students who worked so hard. My girlfriend who I met at Durham had an experience much more like that which you've described. She worked all hours of the day into the wee hours, various charitable activities and such. She won a prize for best science first year in the whole of Durham which is a big deal, and then a few course or college related prizes through the rest of the degree. And then afterward she didn't get into medicine as a grad. It baffles me when I compare it to myself and some of my compatriots and convinces me that the selection process is just utter shite in terms of results, if people like me are slipping through compared to people like her.

    As an aside, like Van Ropen, in my first year after graduating - we had a core NHS curriculum lecture in 'Resilience'. It told us what resilience was, that people found being a doctor in the NHS hard, and that some people were more resilient than others, and that different people had different ways to unwind. In no way did it tell you things that make you 'more' resilient or discuss how to get the job to accommodate you. Absolute farce.
     
  6. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~

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    I feel like a normal person in a thread full of insane people. The world needs slackers like me, who will do the 40 hours a week and not a minute more, so the insane people can stand out.

    @Everyone you're all extremely impressive people and I'd be lying if I said I don't feel any shame comparing myself to you, but I also know I'd be fucking miserable living like that.
     
  7. sonder

    sonder Seventh Year

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    I thought about this for a long time before deciding to write this. It's like past the witching hour over here and I've got microfluidic chips to make in the morning. Warnings for: child abuse, suicide/suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and probably a lot of other things.

    "Asian kids hustle. We work hard because our parents didn’t come over with the dream of becoming Americans so we could sit around and be lazy." That's the story we tell ourselves to survive. I excelled at everything or I got a beating. Doesn’t take much to guess that I got a lot of beatings.​

    I started doing standardized, timed multiple-choice tests in first grade. I racked up hundreds on hundred of volunteer hours at the library, elder care home, and other places. I play the piano and harp. I can also manage a squeaky “My Heart Will Go On” on the recorder and violin. I speak three languages. I’m a dancer, swimmer, and figure skater. I'm an award winning artist. I had a 4.8 GPA (AP’s) in high school and a 3.5 GPA (engineering) at the best public university. I'm currently working on identifying early signs of cardiac arrest (up to 20 years early) and developing pediatric heart valve replacements. I’m the kid most asian parents want. Well, not quite. I’m not a doctor-lawyer-astronaut triple-threat, but I’m working on it.

    I'm still not good enough.

    I was a lot of things in high school years: National Merit Scholar, two time gold medalist in regional art contests, Stanford Medical intern, associate librarian with emphasis on classics and children’s literature, president of the city’s Teen Advisory Board, AP psychology program lead, History and English Literature TA, president of two clubs, and a bunch of other stuff I can’t even remember. I got perfect scores in all my classes and self studied for AP tests because that’s just what I was supposed to do. I went to school with kids who did two sports, played at least one instrument, scored 2400’s on the SAT, and did perfectly in class on top of starting charities or being the U.N. Youth Ambassador for women's rights. They were killing themselves to achieve a dream that I couldn’t even comprehend. I was killing myself to match them.

    I applied to college with my list of achievements. I didn’t get into any of my top five. Apparently, you have to set a world record or something to get into Stanford.

    I went to a state school for medical device engineering and I overcommitted instantly because I didn't know how to cope without work. I started doing research halftime so I could go to grad school. Once I exhausted all my financial options, I started working in marketing halftime to pay for school and landed a fellowship position integrating technology into university systems. I was clocking 80+ hours a week not counting my student org work. Over breaks, I worked the internships and the teaching posts I needed to write up a good resume. I did all this while driving an hour each way every day because I just couldn’t afford rent near my university. I subsisted off burnt coffee and whatever leftover event food I could find.

    My mental health was on the decline all through college. It got to the point where I couldn’t go more than a few days without a panic attack. I cried myself to sleep at night every night. My anxiety got so bad that I just worked until I collapsed. It was the only way to get restful sleep. I stopped feeling like I could relate or empathize with people. After I hit a breaking point, under the guidance of some important people in my life, I checked myself into therapy. I’ve been doing better ever since.

    I still think I’m not as important as my peers. It’s hard to do since I was the covergirl for an issue of the alumni magazine, but I’m an overachiever. I’m no longer suicidal, which is also nice. I still have panic attacks but they are less and less common. I’m doing surprisingly well for my situation. My university regularly sends people to psych wards.

    Things I’ve found helpful:
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  8. Sauce Bauss

    Sauce Bauss Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    Real talk @sonder , I nearly stopped reading a few times and it's driven me to the bottle for the first time in a year. Know at least that you're not alone in this, and that others have managed to come past it. Feels superficial to say it like that, but the limits of text being what they are leaves me little recourse. I'm glad you've managed to find coping mechanisms.
     
  9. Oz

    Oz For Zombie. Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Man I feel bad reading a lot of these posts.

    I put in a moderate amount of effort in secondary school (about an hour of study every night in the 2 weeks leading up to the state's leaving exams) and placed in about the top 20~% (and in the top 3% for Geography and 4% for English). My lowest grade was German where I got the lowest passing grade.

    Got accepted into Comp Sci in the 2nd ranked university in Ireland at the time (the top 3 have jostled each other for place for years) because 'I like computers' and there was a 30 minute bus from my house to the campus that came every 10 minutes.

    Did the bare minimum in uni. Found it harder and harder to be disciplined about doing any work. If a class interested me I'd put the work in and do quite well, but if not I'd barely muster the effort. For example our compilers class had 3 assignments that and a final as part of the grade. Didn't do any of the assignments, and went into the final needing 100% just to pass. Scored 93% and had to repeat it because I'm a lazy fuck.

    I pretty much catastrophically failed my 3rd year because I was drinking non-stop, was also the fattest I've ever been. That was a kick in the nuts and I started getting shit back together. Gave up drink for a year, aced my third year repeat, didn't pretty damn well in my final year, didn't graduate because I fucked up registration for a class I'd failed, but by that time I'd gotten a job as a web dev for an app company.

    That first job was a fucking nightmare. It was an hour and a half bus journey each way. I'd wake at 06:30 to get the 06:50 bus, arrive at the office at 08:20 and wander around the town waiting for the office to open at 9:00, then get out of work around 18:00 and wait for the 18:35 bus to be home for 20:00. Severely underpaid, over-worked, no benefits, poor engineering practices, everything always on fire, lol. In the notes I took during my interview I literally wrote "place seems like a clown shop", but I had seriously bombed an interview for a place I really wanted the day before interviewing with them and pretty much panicked into accepting the first offer I got.

    Did that for maybe 10 months and bailed. Got a job at a bank after. Easy commute (like a 40 minute walk if it's a nice day), slightly above average salary, very flexible work hours, offers remote working, good benefits. Typically I get into the office around 9:30 and leave between 16:30 and 17:00, and I work from home once or twice a week. The work has gotten a bit boring and I could earn a lot more in Dublin so I'm interviewing at other places, but I'm not in a massive rush to leave.

    Some of the most important things I've learned during all that are:

    • Look after yourself. If you're 110lbs over weight, don't sleep enough, and drink every day you're probably not going to reach anything near your potential, and you probably won't be very happy.
    • Know your worth. Don't jump on a shitty deal just because you're worried you might not get anything else. Have a little patience and faith in yourself.
    • Penguins have a 6 foot vertical jump. Fucking hell like what the actual fuck.
    • Know what you value most. I value my own time and it will always be priority 1 when evaluating a job offer. I've been through the hell of long commutes, longer work days, and being so exhausted when the weekend rolls around that I can't be fucked doing anything other than eating pizza and staring at the TV and I'll never go back to it.
    • Motivation and inspiration aren't real. Be disciplined instead and do what you need to do. And sometimes (often) you fail at this, but don't worry about it. Self-recrimination won't fix anything. just try better the next day.
    And that's it. Big shout outs to a lot of you peeps, you're all amazing.
     
  10. Paradise

    Paradise Paraplegic Dice DLP Supporter

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    I burntout a while back. And got so lazy and apathetic, I almost put a bullet in my skull.

    I was doing bad in school, I've always been pretty good at memorization, I can pick things up fast and see connections fast. That got me through a lot of school with little to no issue. Until about my sophomore year in high school. It wasnt that classes got any harder or anything. I just got really depressed and really lonely. This breed into apathy and shit just fell apart from there.

    I'd dream about jumping off the roof of the school, wind in my hair and then the nothing. No responsibility, no loneliness, no more fear. I put a knife to my wrist on more occasions then I wanna admit. I even drew blood once or twice but got cold feet.

    March of that year was a low point. The weekends were awful. I'd be sat there barely feeling human as a time glacially passed. What was normally a nice break became just this awful wait as my grades just plummeted further.

    During this low point in my life I had access to numerous firearms and dozens of knives. Eventually the year ended. I passed all my classes but one and spent a few weeks in summer school. Honestly even though it was over I didn't feel a thing. I wasn't happier or even sadder. Just still nothing.

    The class that caused me endless stress and fear and anxiety, I got pity passed in. And honestly that just makes me relieved to this day. Fuck that teacher and his shitty class, it was a college prep in my sophomore year and it was standard track not an AP or anything. Gets me heated af.

    In hindsight I should've dropped it, and yeah that's logically what I should've done. But I have a terrible relationship with my father but he expects so much of me. I get where it comes from I do, he wants me to be protected from all the hardships he had to face. But honestly I have no idea what i want in life, and whenever I ask a teacher or my parents they'd tell me I'd do great at anything I'd try. Which is nice I guess but i just want some direction instead of just fumbling around blindly in the dark.

    If this got rambley or off topic I am sorry. I just have a hard time containing myself with this subject.

    If anyone of you guys get depressed from this thread, go take a nap, shower, and just clean yourself up a bit. If that doesn't work tidy up your room and make your bed.

    If that still doesn't work call the suicide hotline number in your area. Just don't do it. Its never worth it.
     
  11. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign ~ Prestige ~

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    Thread went from venting frustration to really heavy stuff really fast. @Paradise buddy, hope you're doing well. Come bitch at us whenever.
     
  12. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~

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    This is good stuff. Not that it happens, but that we can talk about it and support each other.

    We may disagree over things, but, at the end of the day, we are all human and, thus, deserving of respect.

    You’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek help. There is nothing wrong with that.

    I’d rather be banned a thousand times than see any of y’all hurt.
     
  13. DR

    DR Secret Squirrel ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Except Invictus. /s

    But seriously, @Paradise , you're a good kid, we're here for you.
     
  14. Silirt

    Silirt Order Member DLP Supporter

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    Did anyone else go to class while sick? I didn't go when I was contagious.
     
  15. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Chief Warlock

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    I never went when I was sick. I also often didn't go when I was not sick.

    I bungled school, had to repeat a year, and am still surprised I actually got my A levels with a passable average of 2.8 (in Germany 1 is the best, and 6 the worst), especially since I started studying for my biology exam with youtube videos the night before the actual exam.

    I somehow made it to university and continued fucking up there for two years, barely doing anything.

    Eventually my parents told me I had to decide: either start getting serious about studying, or taking up a craft and going into some field that doesn't need further education besides the usual getting worked in. I was less than enthused, especially given that a few weeks earlier I had a summer job at an assembly line for linseed oil. Two days of that job showed me clearly what I didn't want to do later on.

    One thing led to another: I attended a creative writing course, found interest in it, started writing my own fanfiction - suddenly my grades in English went through the roof in a very short span of time. I befriended my flatmate who is a 1.0 average bio chemistry wizard, and didn't want to look like a chump anymore. But since English suddenly became a thing I liked, it didn't feel like too much work getting better.

    Eventually German followed. By that time I had scrounged together something approaching a work ethic, which made sure I got good grades there as well.

    And now here I am, almost a teacher, lul.

    Edit: There's some pretty heavy stuff in here. Some of you sound like crazy productivity machines in comparison to a lazy bum like me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  16. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity Destroyer of Worlds ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    I'm seeing things from the other side, a late-40s employer of dozens of the Millennial generation, the father of a 17 year old iGen going through the asinine college hustle game.

    Things are so much different now from when I attended university. I attended a decent-tier liberal arts university largely because it was the only thing I could afford with scholarships, got into a top public university for grad school (UCLA), and basically did my thing in science (postdocs, adjunct faculty, then permanent position). I learned to internalize the long hours and high stress of grad school/postdoc life, where "publish or perish" was sadly more literal than not--two of my associates in grad school took their lives. Three more suffered nervous breakdowns or psychotic breaks. 40% of my grad school class washed out before two years were up. Of the remaining 60%, only half finished their PhDs. Today, there's only maybe seven or eight of a class of sixty still working in the field.

    And I wish I'd have taken things easier along the way. While I've touched most of the professional bases by now (about to be promoted to the top rank of scientist at my institution) and am looking at early retirement in a handful of years when, as a theoretical physicist, I'll be washed up, inutile, best put out to stud, it's largely hollow. I'd have been better off spending more time playing Legos with my kid when he was young, picking up more hobbies, going hiking and skiiing and mountain biking and traveling for pleasure, not work.

    The arms race the kids face now for getting into the "elite" schools is stupid and it's time badly spent during a phase when young people should be finding who they are and what they want out of life, not playing a token-collection game their parents and prep schools have forced on them. My son spends his time making sculptures, hanging with friends, diddling with Minecraft, going out with his girlfriend, and basically being a kid, not burnishing his resume. He has the scores/grades to get into most anywhere, but a sufficient level of distaste for hot-housed prep-school types to diminish his will to even apply to most of the top places. And that's fine by me.

    I've hired Millennials who look great on paper, with splendid academic pedigrees, but arrive burned out, devoid of passion, lacking in the genuine independence of thought and the sorts of skillsets my generation regarded as the basic elements of scientific inquiry. They're essentially useless.

    You can't have hunger for everything. I'd rather work with those who give the 80% solution for what they must, saving the extra 20% to do 120% on what they want, strategically.

    Pace yourself so you have something in the tank to push hard when you need.

    A bunch of rambling, but my 2c.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  17. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Never went to college before I joined the military, but I have a bit different perspective on burnout.

    I started out in the Navy as the kid that was the classic overachiever - blew through all of my qualifications on my first two submarines while underway, to the point where I ran out of things to do, as I would have had to be a different rate (MOS for ground types) to finish anything else. Got my bachelor's degree in my off-time. Volunteered for stuff I didn't need to do to stand out, but did it anyway. Sacrificed time with my wife, who I was away from for literally at least half of every year, to make sure I was the best sailor there was.

    You know where it got me?

    Not much further than the guys that were pieces of shit, but tickled the right balls. Now, I advanced pretty fast, and if I'd have stayed in I'd have really killed it, but thankfully I had a bit of a forced epiphany.

    In 2004, I was away from home for 304 days. 258 of them underwater. I got home at one point, having been gone for 7 months and change, and my younger daughter, who was a bit shy of 2 at the time, didn't remember who I was for a few minutes. That was the day I decided I was done with the submarine force. I went into the Intel field and got wrapped up in some pretty interesting, but every bit as involved things, and while it did teach my kids the most important life skill there is in my eyes - the ability to be independent - there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I just stayed working in the grocery in Tacoma, WA I would have probably owned by now, and not missed half their lives. Thank the gods they still love me, and if there's any resentment at least they don't make me feel it, despite how much I'd understand.

    I retired into a cushy federal job in 2012 and never looked back.
     
  18. sonder

    sonder Seventh Year

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    I went to class while sick. In hindsight, it's a public health disaster, but it made sense given the circumstances. I grew up in one of the most dangerous cities in America so my parents couldn't just leave me at home. Also, I'm 100% sure this is American BS, but you needed a doctor's note saying you were sick to miss school and that just wasn't an option.
    --- Post automerged ---
    @Paradise If you ever wanna talk, I'm here. I went through something similar.
     
  19. Genghiz Khan

    Genghiz Khan Order Member

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    You need that in Japan as well, and not just for school, but for work as well.
     
  20. Silirt

    Silirt Order Member DLP Supporter

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    It varies. Definitely not in college, but if for some reason they thought you were lying in high school or before that, you needed a doctor's note.
     
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