Burnout is a systemic issue in tech and education. Anxiety & impostor syndrome are nurtured in the treadmill of primary education & carry into the relentlessness of tech. Tilting at the thoughtlessness all around us is a full time job on top of all other duties. The flow patrollers, the diversity & inclusion unit testers, are tired.
“For marginalized workers in tech – women, people of color, queer/trans people, people with disabilities – [tech] burnout comes quicker and harder. It comes from existing and being pressured to thrive in a space where your presence is seen as an aberration, and your skills are perceived as suspect. It’s a burnout not easily solved by quick fixes, or even a new job; it’s triggered by your own life, the very body you inhabit”
focus on burnout as a central crisis facing the diversity in tech movement.
burnout in diversity in tech is a systemic issue, and it will require systemic solutions.
Being in a minority group and advocating for diversity and inclusivity is like being that one engineer who’s always reminding people to write tests.
Similarly, it’s nice to have time to work on your actual job and not have the emotional and moral well being of your company be part of your unspoken and unsalaried responsibilities when there should be a dedicated team working on diversity and inclusion.
As a community, we need to come to an understanding that diversity in tech work is work like other work. Activists in the space deserve to be compensated for their work, and they also deserve to be supported. We need to manage our own expectations of activists and we need to acknowledge their humanity. I’m an activist but I’m far from perfect, and there’s always so much to learn. But being given the space and permission to take breaks as needed is important because the work that I create is produced by me, a person.
Recognize that, while extremely beneficial, diversity-in-tech work exacts an emotional and mental toll on the well-being of the people who do it. We need to value people; people must always come first. For without them, there would be no work at all.
I think you should say “no” to corporate diversity work.
It is second shift work, work you are asked to do on top of your normal duties.
You will not be rewarded for it. In the rare case you are, it will never be proportional to the effort that you put into it.
Worst of all, this work often distracts from your technical accomplishments, which is how you are actually rewarded in this industry.
It is a one-way ticket to burnout.
The company says it cares about diversity, but a large portion of the diversity work is pushed on underrepresented employees who are already harmed by diversity-related issues. That work is largely unrewarded. Even worse, that work can distract from people getting promoted, which is how the company rewards people financially. What do you think about that?