The Curse of Loving Your Job

And how to avoid sneaky burnout

Jack Purdy
3 min readApr 17, 2024
Made with DALL-E

Originally published at

If you’re one of those people who can look at yourself in the mirror and say I love my job, then pat yourself on the back. You’ve done one of the most important things a human can do — align your sense of purpose with how you physically spend the majority of your waking days. Good work, this is nothing short of a blessing.

There are many reasons why you feel this contentment, perhaps you feel motivated by your company’s vision, you’re obsessed with the industry you’re in and playing a part in its future, or you enjoy working with other interesting, excited, intelligent people. Or more likely than not, some combination of all the above.

Because of this, there’s an intrinsic motivation to work. You’re not simply completing tasks because your manager told you to turn those edits by EOD but rather you genuinely want to provide value to the world through your work.

This is a beautiful thing!

But for those hungry, ambitious, go-getter types, when left unchecked, this can quickly get out of control and lead to overexertion, burnout, dissipating interest, decreased productivity, and a whole host of negative side effects.

If this is you then you’re willing to run through a wall to grow the business, ship code, design the product, generate alpha, whatever your specific role is.

To stay focused, you narrow your blinders cutting out any potential distraction; not only would you be selling yourself short not committing 100% of your faculties but you’d be letting down your team and company, right?

Herein lies the trap. A stealthy guilt creeps in any time you want to do something else.

Whether it be taking an hour off in the middle of the day, an evening just to kick back, or a few days off for a vacation, you subconsciously feel bad knowing the opportunity cost.

And so, you keep working, forgoing all the other important things in your life — your health, relationships, creative side passions.

Over time this takes its toll, slowly chipping away at your overall wellbeing. Before you know it, it dawns on you — you’re unhappy. But how is that possible, you love your job!

It’s because you didn’t set any boundaries. Without any guardrails to keep your go-getter tendencies in check, you leave no room for all the other beautiful facets of life outside your professional endeavors. You’re a greyhound chasing a rabbit around the track your whole life, never stopping to play fetch or roll over for belly scratches.

There’s no universal playbook for these guardrails, no prescription you can pick up to cure you of your burnout woes. You need to figure out what works for you.

For me, that’s been muting Slack and email notifications on my phone. I already check it enough; I don’t need to be disrupted the times I’m not thinking about work to once again think about work.

Every week I try to block off an hour or two for mandatory non-work activities. This could be picking up a book, going on a walk, getting outside to touch some grass, anything to get my mind off of what I do the vast majority of my waking hours.

And then the big one, taking longer fully unplugged vacations. I’m talking at least a week of no work comms, no Twitter, no news, just l-i-v-i-n.

From the movie Dazed and Confused

This isn’t exactly sage advice. I know you’ve heard this before.

But it’s remarkable to me how many people I talk to who still can’t get themselves to take a few hours off let alone a proper week. You may be important but the world ain’t gonna burn down in your absence.

And if it does, you can get goin fixing it when you’re back.

Originally published in A Life Examined newsletter. Subscribe for more musings on understanding and improving the human experience.



Jack Purdy

Writing A Life Examined newsletter | Director of Sales @Messari