In Their Own Words: Combating work burnout
This article is part of a series exploring what it means to maintain a positive mental health, in a world that seems to be constantly moving, unpredictable, and oftentimes stressful. Here are the words from everyday meldCX team members who are living it.
Maskio Abendaño is a Data Engineer at meldCX. With years of experience under his belt, Maskio is no stranger to the stressors that come with working in such a high-stakes environment.
Never-ending deadlines and work pressures, juggling multiple tools and techniques, and on top of that, the communication gap between data engineers and non-tech team members can lead to a lot of frustration.
So how does he manage it all?
Could you tell us a little bit about your role? What does a working week look like for you?
My job is to handle data from data pipelines (ETL/ELT) to data warehouses and everything in between — including building data infrastructure, optimization, report generation, and analysis.
A typical workday for me starts with a meeting for alignment, followed by regular tasks which include overseeing my team, programming, data audit, and several other meetings in which we collaborate with other teams outside of Data Engineering.
As everyone works from home due to COVID, having the right communication tools and software to manage work helps ensure that we get our tasks done in a timely manner.
It’s normal for me to have very long and busy workdays, especially when task lists are long and deadlines are short. Handling data requires a lot of attention to detail, and to be able to curate data structures and data flow seamlessly requires intense focus.
However, being too focused for too long can also lead to burnout.
What are some practices that you engage in to avoid burnout when workdays are long and tough?
In order to avoid burning out, it is important for me to have a work and life balance. It’s good to be busy, but there should be a limit — you should not only invest time for work, but also for doing things that you love outside of work. For me it is playing video games, playing guitar, listening to music, watching movies, cooking, or simply having a conversation that are not work-related.
When needed, it’s also good to take the day off and give yourself time to recover, just like how you do when you’re physically sick. Doing any of these lets me take a step back, breathe, and get ready for the next day. At the same time, being kind contributes to a good healthy environment.
Aside from having a work and life balance, being optimistic and realistic goes a long way.
“Things may not always go the way we have planned but accepting that there are things beyond our control and working on what we can control, also helps us grow.”
How can we protect our mental wellbeing in the workplace?
Having been working for decades, I have learned to value my mental wellbeing as much as my physical health.
In order to do that, it’s important to be part of an organization that has the same values. Throughout my career, I have been lucky to be able to work with great organizations. And as I continue on, I have kept a checklist that helps me identify if a workplace is a good fit:
- Work environment
- Management and supervisor
- Nature of the job
- Professional Growth
A healthy workplace consists of people working as a team towards the same goal. There is only so much one person can do, but working together, the sky is limitless. And working with a management team that cares for its employees makes a world of a difference.
There is no perfect job, but identifying my needs and knowing that those are being met is a way for me to keep my mental wellbeing in check.
“Our mental health is as important as physical health so give it the same attention that it needs.”
Continue the conversation with Maskio on LinkedIn.