Imposter Programmers and Burnout

Imposter Programmers and Burnout

In the movie The Pirates of Silicon Valley programmers working at Apple were rewarded with T-shirts if they worked for hours on end without rest breaks. They were the “heroes”, the hardcore developers. It seems that in the intervening 30-plus years since that movie was set, not much has changed.

Burnout picture from Shutterstock

A Business Insider article discusses “imposter” programmers — software developers who don’t believe they’re good enough unless they work incredibly long hours and fill all their non-work time with more programming.

There are several studies mentioned in the article that seem to back up the notion that there’s a culture where working long hours is part of what makes a great programmer, despite the well documented and understood effects such as burn-out and the associated health issues. Does this happen in your workplace?

The Stress Of Being A Computer Programmer Is Literally Driving Many Of Them Crazy [Business Insider]


  • ‘Heres us talking about an article from one of our own sites. We don’t really have anything to add, but we think our own story is interesting. You should click through!”

  • Happens all the time in science. My boss always believed that as a researcher you’re expected to be at work a minimum of 5 days a week. Most of the people in my lab are working 7 days a week easily 10-12 hours a day…and noone upstairs cares because they get credited for your work anyways.

  • But it wasn’t just an ordinary t-shirt, mind you. It had sweet features like a unique T-shaped design, dedicated holes for arms, head and torso, your choice of 5 colours and cotton-based unibody materials. Shirts that are given out today at Apple are 20% thinner, have additional storage (a pocket on the front) and last a day longer between washes.

    Samsung were offering similar shirts a while back, but had to stop it because the idea of a single piece of fabric was a patented idea. Now Samsung employees wear business shirts while paying royalties to Apple.

  • Most manages work excessive hours, and it sets the tone and expectation for other staff. They have little regard for staff’s personal time. It’s just incompetence, and it’s epidemic.

  • “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
    Bill Gates.

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