Burnout Part 2 - A day in the life

The janitor just picked his trash, He said thank you and gave a small reverence, the janitor work is invaluable to his progress. Afterwards He walks to the coffee machine which is 7 meters away from his desk. As he cruises the small distance it feels as if He was walking on sunshine, like Galahad retrieving the holy grail in the form of a Styrofoam cup to be filled with the elixir of youth, comprised of two creamers of International Delight French Vanilla. No need for espresso, nothing so rough at 8:30 pm at the office, just a nice touch of caffeine to wait for his automated script to finish about his business. As he poured the creamer, a drop fell onto the table.

The realization

He felt like such an asshole at that exact moment. All his hard work, all his dedication, crumbling like an toasted slice of bread, too dry, cracking into hundreds of pieces as you chew through it. He quickly grabbed a napkin, pronto, and cleaned the small drop, even though the crisis was averted, the feeling remained.

He punched through the machine, vanilla, cappuccino, extra strength, start, and watched the drip from the coffee. He dozed off and traveled back in time, he was a kid, traveling a different path, and ending as a janitor, so many questions floating through his head. He pictured a fight with some manager. This was dirty in the morning Sancho! You didn't clean right! No Sir, I promise, I cleaned, all of it. Don't lie to me Sancho!. He wondered if as a janitor He should go back and clean the mess another employee made just seconds after He cleaned through it. All the questions, no answers, He wanted the answers. As a developer, the answer is most of the times already implicit, you do go back and clean.

He probably stood there, solid 5 minutes, wondering, all because the stupid yet awesome coffee machine does not ping, no sound was sung to bump him back to reality, in 5 minutes the coffee already sat there for 4 minutes and 45 seconds, it probably was the perfect temperature.

He went back to his seat with coffee in hand, the screen, was flowing with a bunch of text through one terminal in an orderly fashion, some other stuff going through FireFox thanks to Selenium and some Python script Neil Ashton made a few weeks back, all flowing, like music.

At that moment, He realized the need for no more answers, even though as janitor Sancho He would want to have them. But not as a developer, as a developer he didn't care, the joy, the want, it was gone, no more thirst for succeeding.

He was burned out, again.

The Embracing

He was tired, that day was long, so many people riddled with discontent because of other people. And yet, while He heard through all what they were saying, He realized none of them were right, and none of them wrong, the world is gray, as his friend Iker would say.

He left late, and saw the train leaving from a few hundred of meters away, and it felt like hope, slipping through his fingers, burnout make seamless failures feel like a freight train. He grabs his earpieces, browses Google Music and cranks this:

Going out late always feels like an extra hassle, for his train only lasts two stops instead of 10, which translate into an extra layover. Everything was on time, he would make the 10:30 pm bus.

That was until the train stopped just before reaching his final destination.
A security guard ran through the wagon, without realizing that the look on his face was that of utter panic. For the few seconds he breezed through the train wagon everyone looked more startled. Every single one of these human beings with such different and colorful stories, chefs from some restaurant or hotel, retired people with grocery bags, business women with a look from heavy wear on their face, people like him who don't really care with faces on their cellphone. Outside the weather sings lullabies of happiness as the night grows old. As He walks to the bus He damned the gate that charged an extra ticket just for letting him out. He damns the ten minute delay, which costed way more in a long gone bus.

At least He will get to smear this uncomfortable piece of gum on his shoe that He stepped on while waiting for the aforementioned bus.

The hour draws near to midnight, these days of sleeping four to five hours seem to have no end in sight. The burnout has no end in sight.

The effects

A man stops "Can I ask you a question?", with that stench of sweat, alcohol, and those excessively opened eyes that don't come from a life free of narcotics. He doesn't need to hear the rest of what the stranger is saying. At the end of his short question "can you spare change?" He thinks, With those abscesses on his face and teeth marks, lack of cheeks with visible cheekbones I shall use my hatred to fund some misery and death. He gave the man all the quarters from his pocket and thought, Go get some crack for your pain dear mister. He doesn't say it. Would it have been better to not give anything? To give something hoping blindly that he will use it for food? Should he just have said a big sermon? Not a single care was given, a man on burnout shouldn't care for humanity. Humanity burned him out, brought him down, and He needs to rebuild himself or give in and break apart. He chooses not give a single care this day, not only that, but he chooses for the worst thing to happen to that stranger, pain, suffering, misery, and death. He chooses for madness, instead of denial, for fun, instead of sadness, all for feeding hope, a hope of being able to care, someday. Burnout brings the worst in one self.

As they ride the bus to the first stop (He grabbed stop 0) a guy in his twenties plays with a stroller on the street, people laugh at him from the bus and from outside the bus. Some lady starts yelling, get yo ass on the street or on the bus!!!! The man in the stroller seems to be unable to get out, He seems to be stuck in the stroller. He can't even hear the lady. The rest of the bus stopped laughing though. The lady on a mission to teach someone ruined the fun, this is what unintended advice causes on those around you, He thinks to himself.

The Homesickness of what you already have

He misses his wife and daughter, who he saw as He escaped to have lunch with them, not having a car has its daily toll in this humongous city. Yet not having a comfortable house is no better.

He misses the exercise, so many days of escaping from this reality of having to do work. A work that would be fun if it weren't because the decision makers are traveling all over the place. People with power are funny that way.

He misses his animals, who every so often remind him that they feel the same by delivering a few loads of crap over the carpet. They know how to demonstrate their frustration very well.

He thinks of OOP and how to handle a python subprocess, passing information to that thread of execution from another. And that He needs to implement a template mechanic to his post if He wants should He need to replace material design lite later on.

from subprocess import Popen, PIPE, STDOUT  
args = ['-Xmx1024', '-Xms1024', '-jar', 'craftbukkit.jar' , '-o', 'true']  
p = Popen(['java', args], stdout=PIPE, stdin=PIPE, stderr=STDOUT)  
stdout = p.communicate(input=b'exit')[0]  

Was it like that? He doesn't remember, he just types in his cellphone damning the lack of battery.

After the bus, on the walk home, He sees a man walking towards him, in the dark. It seems impressive that a city gorgeous and green at day can be so dark at night. The man had a cane, and started gripping it tighter and slouching, like a cat, wary of the other person. He wondered if these fearful people think before they act, there is too much dumbness to becoming apparent to other people like this.

The Survival

Let the weight of these aching feet hit, and the head splitting headache surround you, He thinks to himself. Darkness embraces him, no people on sight, but the trees kept him company. Standing over at least 4 meters tall, each separated only by a radius of 3 meters, the trees looked just as gorgeous in pitch black darkness as in bright daylight. Just a few lights light this road.

And it feels eerily familiar. The freshness of darkness, that occasional light in the dark, the stumbling, the dangers that sometimes may be real and some other times may be an old man with a stick willing to lay his life because they are afraid of what lurks in the dark.

He gets home, commits whatever work He made, as minimal as it is. Listens to his wife, talks to his daughter, hugs his animals, and does the only thing He can do to fight the burnout. He assembles a list of the tasks for the next day, for the splitting headache leaves no room for thinking when no sleep is available. He grabs his food, carefully stored in a Ziploc bag by his wife.

Nothing will bring him down, and there may come a day when the pain is too much, when the head will break, and when madness will engulf every piece of humanity left, and yet, on that day, He will remember everything that He loves, and will have to fight the fight, once more.