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The fuck bucket

Burnout is a big thing in the tech industry. Let’s talk about why, and how to fix it

The web platform changes fast, so there’s a feeling that you can never truly keep up with it all (because you literally can’t).

There’s intense pressure from management to deliver things at an ever fast pace. “We’ll just fix it later” turns into “it’s not that important, don’t worry about it.” If you’re someone who cares about the craft of your work, it’s really disheartening.

And then of course, there’s the layoffs (not unique to tech, but perhaps more common because of the VC driven pressure for hockey stick financial growth).

Last year, I shared a fantastic talk by Amy Hupe on how to deal with burnout and find that spark again. Today, my friend Todd shared that he’s so burnt out he’s leaving tech altogether. It’s truly a loss for the accessibility community and the web as a whole.

Perhaps the most refreshing thing I’ve read in a long while is Mandy Brown’s unified theory of fucks.

But I realize now that if you can give a fuck then you must also be able to receive. And that’s the key. You cannot manufacture more fucks. You cannot grow them or graft them or transplant them. You absolutely cannot buy them, not from anywhere or anyone, not at any price. But you can receive them as a gift, you can accept them. And in that way your collection of fucks to give can be renewed.

Reading her article, I started to imagine a fuck bucket, a bucket full of fucks to give.

You might pour it out sparingly, or dump it all out at once. Similarly, yours may be quick or slow to refill, and that can change at different points in your life.

The real thrust of Mandy’s article hits about halfway through, though…

Why give a fuck about work? Why love your work? It won’t, of course, love you back. It can’t…

And my answer is: don’t.

Don’t give a fuck about your work. Give all your fucks to the living. Give a fuck about the people you work with, and the people who receive your work—the people who use the tools and products and systems or, more often than not, are used by them.

When I’m feeling particularly burnt out by working on the web, this is often the thing that refills my fuck bucket.

Hell, it’s the reason why I advocate so strongly for sites that are faster, simpler, and more accessible. Because I give my fucks the people who use the things we build, and who have to maintain them.

Our work is only as good as the people it serves.