Burning in: From dev to yogi

Take a moment to pause and reflect on your surroundings. If you live in a bustling metropolis, the constant buzz of city life might have become your norm. The stress may have subtly woven itself into the fabric of your daily routine, becoming almost imperceptible.

il y a 7 mois

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Are you ready to dive into the world of "Burning in - From Dev to Yogi"? Take a moment to pause and reflect on your surroundings. If you live in a bustling metropolis like Paris, London, or New York, the constant buzz of city life might have become your norm. The stress may have subtly woven itself into the fabric of your daily routine, becoming almost imperceptible.

As for me, I've been immersed in the world of martial arts since the tender age of 5. From Judo to jujitsu, capoeira to pak mei kung fu, I've explored a multitude of disciplines. Yet, amidst the flurry of modern life, there's one concept we seem to have forgotten—the importance of our bubble, our sacred zone of action. It's the space where we feel safe, secure, and free from threat, be it in combat or the chaos of a crowded city.

Picture this: You step onto the subway during rush hour, surrounded by a sea of strangers. Your once intimate bubble, the realm reserved for those closest to you, is suddenly invaded and violated. It's a subtle intrusion that silently adds to your daily stress, yet you may not even be aware of it.

For the past 7 years, I've been deeply entrenched in the IT industry, where the pace of life is unrelenting. Whether working for mammoth corporations or nimble startups, the demand for speed is insatiable. It's a relentless race where features are expected yesterday, and the pressure to keep up is constant.

But let me ask you this: Have you ever stopped to ponder the toll this breakneck speed takes on our well-being? The toll it exacts on our mental and emotional state? In this narrative, I will share my journey from being a disillusioned engineer to someone in search of peace, a transformation that guided me onto a new path.

Join me as I peel back the layers and expose the realities of the tech industry—the burnout, the disappointment, and the pivotal moments that led me to make a bold career change. Together, let's explore the depths of my experience and discover the wisdom and insights gained along the way.

Are you ready to venture into the world where engineering meets enlightenment? Fasten your seatbelt, my friend. We're about to embark on an extraordinary ride through "Burning in - From Dev to Yogi."

Unveiling the Path: Navigating Burnout in the Tech Industry

Step into the realm where passion collides with the perils of the tech industry. In the exhilarating world of coding, I found my calling as a technical leader. The thrill of problem-solving, the joy of building something from scratch—it was a realm where I felt truly alive. And it was within the nurturing embrace of my last company, Gitguardian, that I truly flourished. In an industry plagued by chaos, they stood as a beacon of sanity—a rare sanctuary where freedom of expression and work-life balance were celebrated. So why, you may wonder, did I decide to leave it all behind?

Before my time at Gitguardian, I faced a turning point in my career. Burnout, an all-too-common phenomenon that engulfs 83% of developers at some point in their professional carreer, became an unwelcome companion. Like a slow, insidious descent into darkness, burnouts creep up on you without warning. It's akin to sinking underwater so gradually that you don't even realize you're drowning until it's too late. How did I find myself in this state of exhaustion and disillusionment?

The process of burnout is treacherous. It unfolds slowly, wrapping its tentacles around your well-being until it becomes an inescapable grip. The danger lies in its subtlety—the feeling of being "just a little tired" or convincing yourself that it's a temporary phase. We push ourselves, believing that we can endure anything, failing to recognize that true progress requires not only training but also adequate rest. As the source "le piège des 'métiers passions’" enlightens us, the allure of pursuing our passions in our careers can often lead us astray. Our education and societal conditioning fuel the belief that a "passionate" career is the ultimate goal, pushing us to sacrifice our well-being in the pursuit of perfection. It's a relentless cycle that begins in our formative years, perpetuating the notion that success is measured solely by our achievements, leading us down a treacherous road of self-destruction.

Amidst the grip of burnout, I discovered solace in unexpected realms—martial arts and yoga. The disciplined movements and meditative practices became my refuge, offering a respite from the overwhelming demands of the tech industry. As I delved deeper into these ancient arts, I found a harmonious balance that had eluded me in the fast-paced world of engineering.

Yet, even as I sought solace in martial arts and yoga, I remain profoundly grateful for the incredible team that accompanied me on my passage at Gitguardian. Together, we forged an environment where collaboration and collective problem-solving thrived. Engineering, at its core, transcends the mere act of finding solutions; it is a symphony of minds, each contributing their unique perspectives and expertise. The quest for the optimal solution becomes a delicate dance between efficiency and durability, acknowledging that the most elegant approach may not always be the most practical one in the long run.

Engineers navigate the ever-changing landscape, striving to strike the perfect equilibrium between speed and sustainability. We recognise that the allure of quick-and-dirty solutions may offer immediate gratification, but they can weave a tangled web of complexity that haunts us down the line. Thus, we embrace the importance of regular maintenance and refactoring, diligently tending to our creations to prevent them from morphing into entangled behemoths.

Sadly, many startups fall prey to this perilous route, neglecting the importance of ongoing improvement. As time marches on, changes become increasingly arduous, leading some to embark on the daunting task of building an entirely new software infrastructure from scratch. Yet, within this challenge lies opportunity—the lessons learned from past trials and tribulations. The subsequent creation stands upon the foundation of hard-won wisdom, harnessing the power of hindsight to navigate uncharted territory. It is within these evolutions that the very definition and purpose of a product may undergo a metamorphosis, aligning with its true essence as it blossoms into greatness.

As we reflect on the relentless cycle of burnout in the tech industry, it becomes apparent that the roots of this issue extend far beyond the workplace. Our education system plays a significant role in shaping our beliefs and behaviours. It conditions us to prioritize perfection and achievement, leaving little room for self-care and well-being. We are taught that our worth is measured solely by our accomplishments, creating a harsh pursuit of unattainable standards. We are relegated to our grades and not promoting error as a vector of improvement.

This conditioning doesn't end with our formal education; rather, it continues to shape our lives long after we've left the classroom. It cultivates a culture that places a premium on productivity and most of the time we are not aware of it, steadily propelling engineers and those in the tech industry toward the precipice of burnout. We find ourselves ensnared within a system that incessantly reinforces the belief that success demands the sacrifice of our mental and physical health.

In the next part of our exploration, we will delve into the intricate connection between the tech industry, burnout, and the educational system. Together, we will unravel the complexities and shed light on the fundamental changes needed to break free from this cycle of self-destruction. Join me as we embark on a journey of understanding, reevaluation, and reimagining the way forward.

The French Education System's Conditioning

Within the realm of the French education system, there exist both commendable aspects and inherent flaws. While I won't delve into an exhaustive analysis of its merits and shortcomings, I wish to shed light on a particular facet that significantly impacts our mindset—the course known as the "classes préparatoires scientifiques," often hailed as the king's road to engineering schools. Often simply referred to as "prépas", they are specialized and intensive preparatory classes that students can attend after completing high school. These classes are primarily focused on preparing students for competitive entrance examinations to prestigious engineering schools and certain science-related programs at universities. In contrast to the more independent university system, the 'prépas' can offer a sense of reassurance to scholarly students.

It is within this rigorous curriculum that we acquire a wealth of knowledge and skills. Yet, unbeknownst to many, it subtly ingrains in us the capacity to overwork ourselves. We learn the art of cramming, meticulously filling our agendas to the point of overflow. While it may not be a universal experience, a significant number of us succumb to this practice. Consequently, we become accustomed to overworking even before stepping foot into the professional arena. We are conditioned to believe that toiling long hours, even at odd intervals, is normal behaviour. Unfortunately, this sets the stage for fertile ground on which burnout thrives.

When we consider the prevalence of white male engineers within the tech industry, the lack of diversity becomes apparent. This homogeneity perpetuates an environment that closely mirrors the one we experienced during our school days. It leaves little room for alternative approaches or perspectives.

What we ought to prioritize is the recruitment of individuals with diverse profiles—self-taught individuals, those with exceptional communication skills, and the ability to find a healthy work-life balance. Establishing clear boundaries between work and personal life is paramount, particularly for those who possess a genuine passion for their craft. Passion, money, and status can often blind us, making us more susceptible to accepting conditions that would otherwise be deemed unacceptable.

To create a more inclusive and sustainable work environment, we must foster diversity in all its forms. By integrating different backgrounds, experiences, and working styles, we can challenge the deeply ingrained notion of overwork as the norm. Embracing a broader range of talents and perspectives allows for a more holistic and well-rounded approach to problem-solving.

Furthermore, the French education system should encourage students to explore a wider array of trajectories, acknowledging that success is not solely measured by academic achievements. It is essential to recognize and appreciate the value of skills acquired outside the classroom—creativity, adaptability, and emotional intelligence, to name a few. By expanding the definition of success and broadening the scope of recognized talents, we can create a more inclusive and balanced society.

In the next part of our exploration, we dig deeper into the societal implications of this conditioning and its impact on the tech industry. Together, we will challenge the status quo, advocating for a shift towards a more compassionate, diverse, and sustainable approach to education and work. Join me as we unravel the intricacies of our educational system, unveiling the steps necessary to break free from its constraints and embrace a brighter, more inclusive future.

Rediscovering Sense and Belonging

As we delve deeper into the exploration of our work environment, it becomes evident that the loss of sense and belonging within the workspace is a significant concern. The modern workplace, characterised by its fast-paced and productivity-driven nature, often leaves individuals detached and disconnected. To understand this phenomenon, we turn to insightful sources that shed light on the complexities of the issue.

In the thought-provoking video "Lost Generation" by Jonathan Reed, we are confronted with the consequences of mundane and unfulfilling work. The video poignantly portrays the loss of individuality and passion that can occur when our professional endeavours become disconnected from our true selves. It emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in our work and aligning it with our values and aspirations.

Olivier Lefebvre's book "Lettre aux ingénieurs qui doutent" (Letter to Engineers Who Doubt) further explores the challenges engineers face in finding purpose and fulfilment in their work. Lefebvre urges engineers to question the existing norms and societal expectations, encouraging them to seek work that aligns with their values and brings personal growth and happiness.

In the pursuit of reconnecting with a sense of purpose and fulfilment, I find inspiration in the realm of martial arts. Beyond physical discipline and self-mastery, martial arts serve as a profound tool for self-awareness and reflection. By engaging in these practices, we become more attuned to the dynamics of aggression and violence present in our society. It teaches us to recognize and address these conflicts, not through harm or aggression but through discipline, control, and self-defence. Through martial arts, we gain a deeper understanding of the need to externalize conflicts, channelling them into constructive outlets rather than perpetuating harmful cycles.

Additionally, the practice of yoga offers a gateway to self-discovery and inner growth. Through asanas, pranayama, and meditation, we embark on a exploration of self-reflection and mindfulness. Yoga teaches us to be present in the moment, to listen to our bodies, and to cultivate a deep sense of self-compassion and acceptance. By connecting with our breath and tuning into our physical and mental states, we develop a heightened awareness of ourselves and our surroundings, enabling us to navigate the complexities of our work environment with greater clarity and resilience.

Ultimately, the connection to our body, breath, and mind through practices like martial arts and yoga provides us with valuable tools to rediscover our sense of belonging and purpose in the workplace. These practices invite us to examine the societal dynamics at play, to become more aware of aggression and violence, and to seek constructive ways of addressing conflicts. By fostering a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us, we become better equipped to navigate the challenges of the modern workplace and find greater fulfilment in our professional lives.

In our quest for a more meaningful work experience, employers and organizations must create environments that prioritize the well-being of individuals. By fostering diversity, promoting open communication, and providing opportunities for personal growth and development, workplaces can become spaces where individuals feel a genuine sense of belonging and purpose.

As we approach the end of our time together, I think that work is not merely a means to an end, but an integral part of our existence. Unfortunately, it not always possible to align our professional pursuits with our values and embrace practices that nurture our well-being. We can strive for a more harmonious and fulfilling work culture. Together, we can redefine the meaning of work, create spaces that celebrate individuality, and cultivate a sense of purpose that goes beyond productivity.


In conclusion, my fellow seekers of balance and success, let us embark on a transformative experience together. As we navigate the intricate dance between the tech industry, burnout, and the educational system, I offer you a unique opportunity. Picture this: a harmonious blend of ancient wisdom and modern solutions, tailored to uplift your body, mind, and business.

Listen closely to the whispers of your soul and honour the essence of who you are. It is time to draw a line in the sand, fearlessly putting boundaries in place to safeguard your well-being. But fear not, for I am here to guide you. Through the power of asanas, pranayama, and mental preparation, I will equip you with the tools to cultivate resilience, focus, and inner strength.

Together, we shall unleash the full potential of your being, transcending the limitations of the hustle and embracing a life of balance, growth, and fulfilment. Imagine a workplace where joy and productivity coexist, where individuals thrive, and companies flourish.

So, my friends, whether you seek personal transformation or desire to uplift your team, I stand ready to support you. Let us create a new paradigm where physical and mental well-being are not mere afterthoughts but the very foundation of success. Take my hand, and let the journey begin.

Thanks your for reading till the end !


Mehdi Raddadi

Published il y a 7 mois