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Yesterday I asked a question about burning out. It did receive a high number of comments and answers and left me thinking if programmers are more prone to burning out than other professions. I'd be specially interested in academic studies, if any.

Example of questions about burning out here on Programmers.SE:

Burned out on programming and given up?

What to do when coding begins to feel boring, like it is all just more of the same?

What are advisable career options for a burnt-out programmer?

There's also a burnout tag.

Do you believe there's a high correlation between burning out and being a programmer, or at least, a correlation higher than burning out and other professions?

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closed as off topic by Walter, ChrisF May 25 '11 at 20:46

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Nope. Why ask? This is "programming" site. Not "nursing" or "lawyers" or "prison guards". The data here tends to be biased toward "programming". I think this question is off topic. – S.Lott May 25 '11 at 20:20
Have a beer with Bobby Tables and she will tell you lots of stories. – Job May 25 '11 at 20:21
Also, if there is any correlation it is probably due to a correlation of poor working condition with programmers (and poor working condition with burnout), not burnout to programmers directly. Disclaimer: this is from (my) common sense only, not anything scientific. – n1ckp May 25 '11 at 20:27
How the hell is this off-topic? – red-dirt May 25 '11 at 21:23
How the hell is this off-topic?! – TheBigO May 25 '11 at 21:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Burnout syndrome is more common with creative professions. It is because:

  • It is mostly mental immaterial work which is why you expect satisfaction from doing it be immaterial as well. And we all know how hard it is to get a good word of encouragement.

  • Creative work waits for recognition and we all know how hard it is to get some

  • The results of your work are immaterial. After years of your practice there is little tangible to look at, touch with your hands and say "This is what I've accomplished".

With "material" professions it is different. I've certainly never heard of plumbers or truck drivers getting burned out.

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Oops sorry you can't answer! This is totally offtopic! I really hate it when questions are closed after just 10 minutes because one person wrote a comment suggesting that the question is offtopic that got a couple of upvotes. This was on-topic enough to produce a useful/interesting answer. – TheBigO May 25 '11 at 21:40

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