Last week, someone with whom I worked together some years ago told me his story after I asked him how it is going. At first I was quite shocked to hear his story, he suffered from burnout, and because of the burnout he lost his job, lost most of his “friends”, got divorced from his wife, and became sick. Quite sad. However, in the meantime, he fortunately recovered from this bad luck, he left the IT field and he is now doing what he loves most, something with sports.
Afterwards, I thought awhile about his story and whether there were some signs of a looming burnout at the time I worked with him. With hindsight, I think, yes, there were some signs I could have seen if I would have been more sensitive about this topic. Because he often joked: “I wish I would be a gardener”. With the wisdom of hindsight, I think it was an encrypted help message: “Hey, I’m unhappy with my job. Help me!”
Anyway, I can’t change the past, I can only learn from it. And for me the main learning is that I have to listen better, because there are people out there who think they are strong enough and for whom it is a sign of weakness to reach out for help…