This week is the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, an annual event that showcases the latest video game tech as well as new games that are in development. Although an exciting time for gamers across the globe (including myself), E3 is extremely stressful for some developers who have spent years creating a product that is not guaranteed success.
Recently, I watched an interesting documentary which touched on the stress faced by game developers, called Indie Game: The Movie. This documentary followed several game developers as they created their games, and offered some insight as to the psychological costs of their entrepreneurship. One developer went so far as to say that if the game that he spent years making did not sell well, that he would kill himself.
Much has already been made of the psychological price of being an entrepreneur (see here). However, the psychological costs of working for an entrepreneur can also be harrowing. This past Thursday I met with two gentlemen in the tech industry and discussed the concept of "burning out" within the industry. As they described it to me, its wholly expected for tech employees of entrepreneurs to burn out. This unfortunately makes sense, as the employees of startups and small businesses must oftentimes shoulder an increasing workload while the business is still growing.
Burning out is extremely dangerous to a business and a career, as productivity, efficiency, and happiness plummet. Here are some ways you can avoid burning out:
Additionally, when running a business, you should also be paying attention to whether or not your employees are burning out. This can easily be accomplished through meetings, or creating an open door policy where employees can voice any concerns they have. Once its established that an employee is beginning to feel burnt out, appropriate action can be taken. Burnt out employees will eventually harm the business in one manner or another, so it pays (quite literally) to have a feel for the pulse of the employees.
Neither the business nor the employee benefit from a burnout. Hopefully, you never find yourself in a position like the aforementioned game developer did in Indie Game. Take care of yourself, and take care of each other.
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