The Benefits of Burnout
It was the summer of 2014, my wife was very pregnant with our second child, and I was toast. My career as a freelance consultant felt like it was going nowhere, my one-man software startup had failed, and I was suffering from significant burnout. I needed a more predictable pace of work and perhaps even some time off. So I bid farewell to my dreams and joined a local consulting firm as—gasp!—a salaried employee.
Funny story: they let me go after six months. Not because I wasn’t doing a good job or because of any ruffled feathers, but rather because the company had shifted direction and I was the only person working on a technology stack they no longer supported. I’m grateful there were no hard feelings, but this meant that suddenly I wound up back in the world of freelancing with only one client to my name. I essentially had to start over from scratch.
Which—nearly three years later—turns out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I run my own company again (Whitefusion), have more work than I can handle, and get to collaborate with the best clients I’ve had since I first started freelancing in the late 90s.
The moral of the story is: sometimes it’s OK not to follow your dreams. Sometimes it’s OK to settle for “boring” and “responsible” and give your ambitions a rest. You just might find that your dreams have a funny way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.