• Sridhar Rajendran

Day 12 — Crash and burn

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

Running on fumes is never a good strategy

Image credit: Pexels

Wake up at 6. Exercise. Get ready. Breakfast. Office from 9 AM — 7 PM. Home. Dinner. Work on the portfolio for 1–2 hours. Sleep. Rinse and repeat.

This is a perfect recipe for burn out. Guaranteed results in 2–3 months. You will start seeing results within a month!

I am all-in for ‘hustle’ and ‘grind’ but over-exerting one’s body constantly is really stupid. On one hand, I wanted to make sure the work I am paid for does not suffer. And on the other, the desire to become a full-time UX designer grew each day. Torn between the past and the future, the present moment seemed miserable.

There is only so long you can ignore the ‘Oil check’ light blinking on your car dashboard. There were several such alarms going off but I duly ignored them. I developed a chronic back pain and lived with it for over a year while I was hopping around town networking, attending classes and spending hours in front of a computer. None of the physiotherapists were able to identify the exact issue. Each new exercise gave a temporary relief for a couple of days (and sometimes just hours) and it was back to square one. I kept pushing myself, I need to save just a little bit more money or I need to get a little more experience in design.

After almost a week of sleep deprivation caused by an over-thinking mind and the incessant pain, I decided to quit my job. At this point, I had enough savings to survive for a couple of months. Plus I had a solid backup -move back in with my parents. They would have totally loved it and also secretly wished for it. With a heavy heart, I handed in my notice to my manager.

It was the first time I felt really bad for leaving a company. I had an understanding manager, supportive colleagues, and a good work-life balance. If only there were opportunities to do UX design within the company, I would not have left. Now all I had to do was serve my 2 months notice period before I embark on a new journey. But fate had a different plan for me.

When I woke up the next day morning I couldn’t move. Remember the back pain I mentioned earlier, it put down the papers as well. And I stayed almost paralysed like that for the next 4 months as I re-built my body one cell at a time and put every vertebra back in place.