> [!NOTE] Note > It has now been a few years since I left my old responsibilities so it feels like a fitting time to reflect at a high level and explain the experience burnout had on me over a number of years. ## Background I've previously blogged twice about burnout and my personal experience of it, [[Burnout in IT - Background, causes, and consequences|once when I was experiencing the heavy burden of burnout]], and [[Burnout in IT - Coping|secondly as I was coming to the realisation of what steps I would need to take to fix it.]] As a bit of background information for those who aren't aware; a Managed Service Provider would typically provide a wide range of managed i.e. hands-off technical services to a range of customers, this may be in the sense of fully managed where the MSP takes the full burden of the technical aspects through to co-managed and consultancy where the overall management burden may not fall fully on the MSP and its staff. The technical services they are offering can range from a very narrow scope i.e. one service/product through to a comprehensive portfolio that may cross several business units and require dozens of niche and specialist skillsets. ### My previous situation In terms of my previous role, business units were modelled around putting highly capable people into positions where entire business models were built around these key individuals This resulted in several businesses being created or acquired in areas such as bespoke information systems, data analysis, business consultancy and beyond. The business I was in grew to nearly 100 clients and 2.5k agents as I left the organisation in a mix of break/fix, fully managed (device based), and fully managed (per user). This level of scale was attained through technical excellence, root cause fixes, and being able to scale technical solutions only once they had been validated and tested thoroughly. ## The factors Now comes the interesting part, that level of scale was implemented on the basis of myself as a key and ultimate technical resource. This had a growing impact on myself as the business continued to scale and work life balance suffered due to all the typical reasons: * Chaotic workloads * That scale of client base could be extremely quiet at times, and in others be extremely demanding, often this came from the break/fix side of the house i.e. those not fully buying into the managed services model and where underlying issues existed. * The growth levels of a few clients, and their acquisitions resulted in large impact to workloads at recurring points. * Lack of control * Not being authorised to offload the break/fix clients who were sucking undue amounts of time and energy out of the business and myself. * Lack of resource * Several times additional staff and resources were asked for, without any fruitful outcome. * This lack of resource resulted in longer work days to make up for the lack of people power. * Ownership and responsibility * All of those businesses, all of those endpoints and servers, all of those people were ultimately hanging off the technical excellence and tradecraft of one person to the detriment of the work life balance. And ultimately without the authority to make the changes necessary from a business perspective. ## How this impacted me personally To say it was unsustainable for several reasons would be both fair and justified. I had most of the traditional signs of burnout. Something was going to break at some point and it couldn't be the human element: * Sleep schedules? Gone, along with an unhealthy serving of insomnia and anxiety. * Work life balance? Gone, this one hurt the most both for the impact it had on my marriage and as the father of a wonderful human who didn't get the time they deserved from me. * Memory? non existent, and stress has been [linked to forgetfulness.](https://psychcentral.com/stress/how-stress-affects-your-memory#stress-and-memory) * Resting heart rate? * One day an alert triggered from my watch of all things. My heart rate was ~200 after the phone started ringing and glancing at the number on the caller ID. **Something had to change.** As the stopping point for all things technical even with outlets such as the ones in [[Communities]], the underlying factors were not changing and [[Burnout in IT - Coping|even the self-care techniques weren't fully resolving the underlying issues.]] It took several months of conversations with the folks in the MSPGeek and MSPs in the UK communities to come out with the realisation that this particular situation was not fixable. It wasn't my personality or lifestyle that was the issue at hand here. Those open and unjudging communication channels agreed with that, and much more. ## My escape This hit a breaking point not much later where after a particularly frustrating workday, I made a joke towards someone I trusted in one of the communities - Jonathan Crowe, the short of it was that it would be nice to work together, and things spiralled extremely quickly from there. To say I was excited as the prospect of change professionally and personally? 🎉🥂. I'm now a few years down the line and firmly back into the position of "recovered" however the impact burnout had on me will stay. It's a constant reminder of where I've been, along with the lows and feelings associated with it. For those wondering - my resting heart rate at work is firmly under 100 when working these days 😉 --- [[Epistemic status|Colophon: Brewing]]