Thu, 1 December 2022
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have a guest episode from the Salesforce Developers Podcast. Host Josh Birk talks to Drew Tauber, a Salesforce Engineer at Clear.
Join us as we talk about how to identify signs of burnout and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening.
When Drew was trying to change jobs, he went to an interview where the company had mislabeled the job title as “Systems Administrator” instead of Information Systems Specialist. He still got the role and it led him to transition to working entirely in Salesforce and taking on more of a Developer role. Today, he describes his job as somewhere between an Admin, a Developer, and a “proto-Architect.”
Signs of burnout
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, stressed, or like the amount of work you have to do is insurmountable, you may be headed toward burnout. Drew gave a presentation about this very topic at World Tour New York, and he’s had many conversations about it in his role as co-leader of the New York City User Group.
When the pandemic hit, “everyone’s work-life balance went out the window,” Drew says, and the same goes for traditional structure and support networks. Salesforce professionals were hit especially hard because as everything went remote, there was increased pressure to expand functionality to account for the “new normal.” At Drew’s company, for example, the Salesforce footprint doubled but his team remained the same size.
Why it’s OK to ask for help
The first step Drew recommends to help with burnout is to ask for help. It took a while to add more people to his team, “but even just seeing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel was hugely helpful,” he says. It’s in your company’s best interest for you to not burn out, so don’t be afraid to start a tough but necessary conversation.
Asking for help can extend to things beyond just asking for more people or resources. You can ask for help carving out some time away from the job, or help yourself by establishing clear communication boundaries so you don’t feel like you’re “always on.” There’s a lot of value in managing expectations by saying, “I can’t get to that right now but I will when I have a minute.” The research also shows that exercise is also crucial. “Stress is a physical reaction in the body,” Drew says, “and it definitely helps to get the endorphins going.”
There’s so much more in this episode so be sure to listen in and, if you like what you’re hearing, be sure to subscribe to the Salesforce Developers Podcast.
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Full show transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. We talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. Now, this week we're going to try a little something different. So as you know, at Salesforce, we have quite a few podcasts, and one of those we're good friends with the Salesforce Developer Podcast hosted by Josh Burke. You've heard him here on the pod before. He's been on, talk about some developer stuff and Trailhead. And you know what? We wanted to try one do a little something different and we wanted to swap out some episodes. So recently Josh had a guest on who was Drew Talber, who talked about burnout and stress. And you know what? Admins get burned out and stressed too. So do podcasters.
So what we're going to do is we're going to rebroadcast that episode so that you have a chance to listen to it. I think it's a really great episode. I've listened to it myself. And then you know what? Give it a listen. And if you love the podcast, go ahead and jump on over the Developer Podcast and give them a subscribe and check out what Josh is doing. So with that, I'm going to turn it over to Josh, take it away.
Drew Tauber: When I was in college, I went to college for information technology, and I was adamant that the last thing I wanted to do was be a coder.
Josh Birk: That is Drew Tauber, a senior Salesforce engineer over at CLEAR. I’m Josh Birk, your host for the Salesforce Developer Podcast. Here on the podcast, you’ll hear stories and insights from developers for developers. Today we sit down and talk with Drew about something people are really starting to talk more about, and I think it’s great. We’re going to talk about stress. We’re going to talk about burnout.
Josh Birk: We’re going to talk about anxiety and we’re going to talk about how it can affect you in the workplace and what you can do about it. Before we get into that, we’re going to start right after that cold quote and get into how Drew really did become a coder. Why?
Drew Tauber: For me, at the time, coders were just down in the basement, typing it out and I wanted to be upstairs with the people, so I went into desktop support, service support out there, working with end users. I think that’s why Salesforce wound up jibing with me as a developer role because I’m not hidden in the corner. I’m out there with my stakeholders, building stuff for them.
Josh Birk: Gotcha. You always had that people skills layer that you wanted to be able to dive into?
Drew Tauber: Mm-hmm.
Josh Birk: What’s your earliest memory of the computer?
Drew Tauber: Fourth grade Apple IIes, we were using some word processor, Magic Writer or something like that.
Josh Birk: Yes. The one that taught you by… Was the one that had the letters that would pop up so that you know you were hitting it right?
Drew Tauber: I think so. There was some key command you could put in to change the font face from bold to outlined or something like that.
Josh Birk: Nice.
Drew Tauber: I remember learning that and I remember going around the room in the computer lab with all the other fourth graders showing them this key command you could hit that would change your font.
Josh Birk: Nice. Very, very nice. A hacker from way back then.
Drew Tauber: Yes. I also remember the same time Logo Writer, which I didn’t even realize until college that that was teaching me coding.
Josh Birk: Oh, right, because that’s in the Turtle Graphics family of things, right?
Drew Tauber: Yeah. It’s all Turtle Graphics. Step forward, turn right, step back. Then we learned how to make pinwheels. I’m like, “Oh, that’s a forward loop.”
Josh Birk: Yep. Exactly. I can’t remember which interview it was that came up. I don’t think it’s been published yet. Logo came up again. Logo was weirdly my first computer science programming class. It was supposed to be just the basics of programming and so they used Logo as the starter kit. I remember I had homework that was converting Arabic numerals to Roman and then back again, and it would work five times and then it would just stop doing anything.
Josh Birk: To this date, I have no idea if it was because I was a bad programmer or because Logo sucks. 50/50 chance probably. When did you first get involved with Salesforce itself?
Drew Tauber: I first got involved with Salesforce… I actually just recently checked my dev org. I think it’s 12 years old.
Josh Birk: Oh, wow.
Drew Tauber: I was working at a payroll company in New Jersey. It’s a classic accidental admin story. My CTO, I was basically the IT guy there. Desktop servers, networks, AV equipment. Anything that turned on was my job. I’ve been one of the guys. My boss came to me one day, said, “Hey, our sales team’s been using Salesforce. It’s getting big, we’re taking it over in IT. You’re in charge of it.”
Drew Tauber: Then this was pre-Trailhead but we had Premier support so I’m doing the training webinars and everything. As I’m learning, I was like, “This is pretty good. I could do it. There’s a lot of stuff I could do here.” Now, I had been doing web development in my spare time and PHP so I had a idea for like, “Oh, yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that could be done here. I want to believe in that job for other reasons.”
Drew Tauber: But when I was looking for a new job, I completely… Completely by accident, so one of those sliding doors, serendipity moments. This job I was looking for… or I got called for, had mislabeled their job title as systems administrator.
Josh Birk: What was the title supposed to be?
Drew Tauber: Information system specialist. This recruiter was like, “Hey, I’ve got this job. It uses Salesforce. It’s a system administrator. I’m looking for system administrator roles. Do you want to go to this interview?” I was like, “Yeah, sure. Let’s do the interview.” I go in there and I quickly find out it’s a all-Salesforce job, which was not something I had been… I hadn’t thought about it yet I had been thinking like, “Oh, CRM would be a cool thing to do.”
Drew Tauber: I knew I had to pivot at some point because there wasn’t really going to be much of a use for on-prem server admins for much longer with AWS and everything happening. I was like, “Sure, I’ll go do this Salesforce role.” That was my first full-time Salesforce job and where I actually started developing.
Josh Birk: Interesting. Well, and so that was going to be my next question. You got launched into the you have to be the jack-of-all-trades person. How did you find learning development on Salesforce?
Drew Tauber: Good. I’m a learn by doer kind of thing. I love Trailhead, but I’m really much better at… The first thing I built on Salesforce was one of the call center agents… Because I worked in the office for my company where our customer support team was located and this was back in Classic. They said, “Hey, it’d be great if there was a way that we could see when someone sends a screenshot, if we could just see it on the page without having to click into the attachment, download the attachment and then open it up on our computer.”
Drew Tauber: I was like, “There’s got to be a way to do…” I basically started figuring out in Apex, how do I get the attachments? In Visualforce, how do I display the attachments? How do I make it so when you click on it opens up in a little modal window and shows you the actual screenshot of it?”
Josh Birk: Nice.
Drew Tauber: How do I make it show an icon if it’s a PDF kind of… And it just went from step one through step N as I just keep going.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I think it’s interesting how so many early use cases it’s just attachments were another interesting data point. Once you figure out how Apex can manipulate them, there were actually some kind of cool tricks you could do with it.
Drew Tauber: I spent two years at that company. They were really great. I mean, their whole idea is that we hire people who don’t know a ton of Salesforce have them learn on the fly. Then I spent two years there, got all my certifications from admin to dev one. Then after two years there, I moved to my current job.
Josh Birk: Gotcha. How would you describe your current role?
Drew Tauber: Officially my title is senior Salesforce engineer. I am basically the guy that all of our Salesforce customizations runs through to some degree. I started as the guy, I was the Salesforce guy. Now we have a team and it’s kind of an architect role, but not officially an architect role.
Josh Birk: Gotcha. The proto architect, but you’re still sort of the jack of all trades. You’re just the jack of all trades who can also help other people get their job done?
Drew Tauber: Mm-hmm.
Josh Birk: Nice. Nice.
Drew Tauber: We don’t have any admins. We just have four developers so we’re all kind of everything.
Josh Birk: Gotcha. I think if there’s an admin listening right now we might have just sent a little shiver down their spine.
Drew Tauber: Oh yeah. No. I could definitely use an admin, but we don’t have one.
Josh Birk: Gotcha. Before we get into the topic at hand, what’s your current role in Salesforce community?Drew Tauber: I’m a co-leader of the New York City user group and then just fan and everything else.
Josh Birk: How long have you been in the developer?
Drew Tauber: I’ve been a user group leader since March of 2020 which I don’t know if you remember, a lot of stuff happened in March of 2020.
Josh Birk: Oh, the timing.
Drew Tauber: It was literally… So there were three co-leaders of the user group. One of them got a job at Salesforce and I had already been doing presentations and helping out, so I always joke around the one thing that we’re great about as a Salesforce ecosystem is identifying people who will say yes to anything.
Josh Birk: Gotcha. Nice.
Drew Tauber: They asked me, “Do you want to be a co-leader?” This was literally my last day in the office before our one week test quarantine happened.
Josh Birk: My God.
Drew Tauber: I said, “Yeah, sure. I’ll do it. I’ll talk to you guys in a couple of weeks when this whole COVID thing’s over.”
Josh Birk: Wow.
Drew Tauber: Fast-forward to two years, I’m now doing in-person meetings again it’s weird for me because I’m like, “I’m just so used to it. I just throw up a Zoom link and people join. Now I got to find food for people? This is weird.”
Josh Birk: Weird. They actually need to eat and stuff.
Drew Tauber: I need to feed people and find space?
Josh Birk: Nice. Nice. Okay. Today we’re going to talk about burnout, which I believe you presented at World Tour New York, correct?
Drew Tauber: Yes.
Josh Birk: Nice. Let’s start at the beginning. What were some early signs that were making you question just how stressed are you?
Drew Tauber: A lot of it is just feeling overwhelmed. You have trouble not necessarily getting up in the morning, although that’s definitely part of it sometimes, but just seeing the list of work you have to do, and just seeing it as being insurmountable to the point where you don’t even know how you can start because you don’t see how you can finish and just gets debilitating in that respect.
Josh Birk: Yeah. Were you falling prey… And I am blanking on the term because there’s actually a cognitive term for it, where you look at a task and your instant reaction is that task clearly is going to take three/four hours, which is not true but your brain is convinced that it is true.
Drew Tauber: Yeah. That would definitely happen. I think there’s some… I don’t know what the official term of it, but there’s a phobia of an empty notebook and that same kind of situation where in my head I know in intellectually like yeah, once you just get started on a project, it just snowballs and then you finish it eventually. But it’s like seeing how many things have to be done, just the idea of starting it would feel so daunting.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I think it was somebody on the ADHD side of things that told me about the fork theory. The fork theory goes that a normal person, if they think about their day, they think about it in terms of five straws. It’s the five straws, those are the big five things that they’re going to have to accomplish through the day. The problem is some people get that detail-oriented way of… that hyper-vigilance way of thinking about it.
Josh Birk: It’s like they actually see five forks and of course each fork also has five tips to it. They’re not thinking in terms of five things they got to get done through the day. They’re thinking in terms of 25 things that they got to get done through the day.
Drew Tauber: Yeah. I like that analogy.
Josh Birk: Were you running into other things like sleeping, eating, that kind of stuff?
Drew Tauber: Oh yeah. I mean, a big part of it is… Especially in the last couple of years, everyone’s work-life balance went out the window. All of a sudden, I’m not commuting to work anymore, at the very beginning started off like, “Oh, I can sleep until 15 minutes before I’m supposed to be working and then roll out of bed and walk down the hallway to my home office and start working? Great.” That slowly turned into… I’m a late person normally.
Drew Tauber: On weekends, I’m up pretty late and this started turning to be like, “Oh, I’m going to be up to like 2:00, 3:00 in the morning, go to sleep, wake up at 8:30 in the morning, roll out, get my work done.” Sleep, it all… Part of it was stress but part of it was also just my pattern was already off. I was already halfway there.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I mean, think there was a collective groan around the world in March of 2020 because people who had very structured lives are suddenly trying to figure out which couch is going to be the most comfortable for them to sit down with their laptop. There’s just nothing healthy about any of that.
Drew Tauber: Yeah. All the gyms were closed. Thankfully I have a dog so he forced me to get outside of the house once or twice a day to take him for a walk.
Josh Birk: Yeah. That’s one of the things I really miss about having… I always joke cats are great if you want to stay in bed. Dogs are great if you want to get out and take a walk.
Drew Tauber: Yeah. Especially because at the beginning we thought, “Okay. Everybody is going to be a recluse for a month and come back, so why not live it up a little bit? I’m not going out and getting the healthy food options. I’m getting DoorDash. I’m getting whatever junk food I want to get sent to my house.” It gave me a head start towards a lot of these issues that turned into burnout.
Josh Birk: Well, and it’s like, it gives you a head start. You’re not socializing, you’re not eating, you’re not sleeping right. These are all core things that start the patterns that get worse, and everybody else is in the pandemic so you have this… At least I found it as you blanket it as normal. Like, who am I to complain about these things because the whole world is effectively going through it? Somewhere in my emotional brain, it was like, “Suck it up buttercup.” Which is not a great mental health response to anybody including yourself.
Drew Tauber: Yeah. Yeah. Part of it’s… Yeah. It’s definitely like, what right do I have to be more put out than… I’m in relatively good shape. I’ve got space. I’m not in a tiny little closet of an apartment somewhere trying to make it. I’ve got space. I’ve got people. But at the same time, I couldn’t go see my family. I couldn’t go see my friends. I used to go out to the movies most weekends with my friends. That went out the window immediately, still hasn’t quite come back.
Drew Tauber: I’ve found… Because I’ve been talking to a lot of people about burnout around my sessions and the commonality I found is a combination of, one, everyone’s support structure went out the window. Everyone’s coping mechanisms went out the window, and also… I think this is not unique to Salesforce, but definitely common among Salesforce people I’ve talked to, is that as every company went remote, everyone had to fall onto their remote collaboration tools a lot more.
Drew Tauber: Salesforce is obviously front and center in a lot of people’s workflows. That just put a lot of extra pressure like, “Oh, Salesforce is good for this, but we need to make it do X so we can better support our remote workforce.”
Josh Birk: That makes a lot of sense now that everything is a remote workforce. Yeah. Yeah. One of the symptoms you had on one of your slides, which I thought was interesting because it’s one I hit really hard and wasn’t thinking about it, it’s a lack of satisfaction. You’re not getting joy either out of your work and it might even be hard to get joy out of the things that are supposed to relax you. Did that hit you?
Drew Tauber: Yeah, definitely. I think that a lot of that goes back to seeing the list as so insurmountable. Achievements that I would normally be like, “Oh, I pulled this off. This is great.” Turns into “Oh, well, okay, I’ve done step one of 27.” It’s hard to be thrilled that you made it to base camp when you need to get to Everest kind of thing.
Josh Birk: Right. Exactly. Yeah. I think people get into this where they think it’s like “Well, it’s my job. It’s a pandemic.” Once again, it’s an excuse, right? Like, why… Of course, I’m not happy right now, but the problem is it’s almost the second tier, you’re going to get more anxious and stressed and depressed if you can’t counter that with fun and joy like you’re saying, giving yourself that pat on the back for an achievement.
Drew Tauber: Right. Definitely.
Josh Birk: Now, what factors do you think led to your burnout that we haven’t… We’ve talked about pandemic, we’ve talked about quick shifts in Salesforce, in your work, lack of a social structure is gone. Anything else that you think was leading you towards this path?
Drew Tauber: I think the biggest thing just is like I’ve said before to people I work with, between the pandemic and the unique ways that our business changed in the pandemic, our Salesforce usage essentially doubled. Our Salesforce footprint. We added a new org. We added whole new people who hadn’t been using Salesforce before. Our Salesforce usage footprint at the company had essentially doubled and my team had not.
Josh Birk: Which now of course you have proof that you’re right, it’s an insurmountable amount of stuff because everything just doubled, even if there’s a irrational layer to it, there’s still a rational amount of data for you to enforce it. When you first started realizing this is a problem, what did you do?
Drew Tauber: Probably when I noticed was a problem I started asking for help. One of the great things about my manager and my company in general is that they were very supportive. It took a little bit for them to get to the point where they were like, “Okay, let’s hire some people.” But they got there. Then obviously the job market being what it was, it took us a while to get somebody who was able to come in and help, but even just seeing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel was hugely helpful.
Josh Birk: Nice.
Drew Tauber: The thing I always tell people is it’s in your company’s best interest for you to not burn out. Obviously from a people perspective, your manager doesn’t want you as a human being to burn out and be in a bad place. But even just the corporate ones and zeros straight numerical perspective, it is cheaper to keep you happy and productive than it is to hire somebody new because you flamed out and had to leave.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I mean, I think if you look at some of the other symptoms we haven’t talked about that are purely cognitive, in the sense of you get more forgetful, you’re more anxious. You’re more likely to snap at a coworker, all of these kind of things, not leading to what one would call an efficient job environment.
Drew Tauber: No, definitely not. There’s definitely been times when, and still happens to a degree, where I found myself apologizing for my tone way more than I should. I would be in a meeting and I could tell that I was being real snotty about my answers. I was being really snide. I was being really short. I was sarcastic. I’m like, “This is not the way I want to be sounding, but I just can’t pull myself out of it. I’m too into it right now.”
Drew Tauber: Immediately after the meeting would end, I would go on Slack to the person I was talking to, “Hey, I’m sorry. I know that came out the wrong way. I’m sorry that came out…” I wouldn’t necessarily apologize for the points I was making because the points I was making were valid, but there was definitely a better way I could have come out and said it.
Josh Birk: Yeah. You heard yourself in your head and you’re like, “I didn’t have to be that sharp about it.”
Drew Tauber: Yeah. It’s like an out-of-body experience. Like, “Why are you being such a mean person?”
Josh Birk: Well, and that’s an interesting cycle I think, because when you’re being the mean person, it’s because you’re getting that cortisol spike, you’re getting that little fight or flight instinct to it. But part of that situation is you don’t really know you’re in it. The brain’s just poking you and poking you. Then you get out of the room, be relaxed and then it’s like you said, out-of-body experience like, “Oh, wow. Was I the jerk? No, I might have been the jerk.”
Josh Birk: Yeah. Outside of getting more help and more resources, did you take time off for yourself? Did you try to counter any of the workload with going out and having more fun or doing more walks with a dog or anything like that?
Drew Tauber: Yeah. There’s definitely time, I definitely took some time off. I think my boss at one point insisted.
Josh Birk: Good. Good.
Drew Tauber: Good boss. Good boss.
Josh Birk: Good boss. Good boss.
Drew Tauber: Insisted I take some time away, which at the time it was hard. Being such a small team and like okay I can step away, but here’s all the stuff that’s not going to get done while I’m gone and just be like, “Okay, it’ll get done when you get back.” The other things I would do, yeah, people I work with have gotten pretty accustomed to the idea that if it’s between 10:30 and noon, and I have a meeting where I am not going to be needed to be on my keyboard, I’ll take that Zoom from the park when I’m walking my dog.
Josh Birk: Awesome point.
Drew Tauber: I’ll turn the camera on him and I’ll point the camera at him on my Zoom and people will appreciate that more than seeing my face.
Josh Birk: I love that. I love that so much. Now I have to repeat Mike Gerholdt’s… I think he tweets this every three weeks or something like that, just a friendly reminder, not only is it okay to have your kids, your cats and your dogs on your Zoom call, we want to see them. It’s actually a plus because we’re still a little trapped inside. Yes, I love that. I love puppy Zoom.
Josh Birk: Also, just really, I think that’s part of the Zoom fatigue, is that feeling like you have to be there in person. As somebody who’s worked remotely for a little over a decade now, I found it weird that I was actually finding every now and then I’ll do the same thing. I’ll take the call outside or I’ll take the call on my couch and I just turned the camera off. It’s like if I’m not necessary, then I can listen and be present without having to necessarily feel like I’m also on camera.
Drew Tauber: I think I saw something a while back about how psychologically what Zoom does to people because you can be in a meeting room and obviously people can see you, but you know when people are looking at you. But when you’re on Zoom, you don’t know what square… Even if everyone’s got their camera on, you don’t know what square on the Zoom Brady Bunch panel they’re looking at.
Drew Tauber: You have to be like, “All right. I’m being seen by everybody on this meeting simultaneously,” is where your head goes. I think one of the best things I did for Zoom in general is I just have everything set to default off.
Josh Birk: Nice.
Drew Tauber: I join a meeting, my camera’s off. My microphone is muted and I have to go in and push the buttons like, “I’m ready to talk. I’m ready to be seen.” I’ll turn the camera on. If not, I just won’t. Sometimes I’ll say, “Oh, I’m not turning my camera on. I’m eating lunch and I don’t want you all to watch me eat a sandwich.” Sometimes people just… Thankfully as a company, we generally don’t have the expectation that you have your camera on at all times.
Drew Tauber: If it’s a standup meeting, if it’s my morning meeting with my team then I’ll have my camera on because I know these people. But if it’s a group, a lot of times I won’t. Sometimes if I know that I’m not going to be able to keep my eye rolls to myself, I’ll keep my camera off.
Josh Birk: I love it. There’s wisdom in that. It’s self-knowledge. I like that. It does occur to me that prior to the pandemic and when everybody going into Zoom calls that this design of 12 huge faces and perfect squares in front of you, that’s the kind of stuff they used to put in supervillain movies.
Drew Tauber: Oh, yeah.
Josh Birk: It’s like this weird awe of power kind of thing in front of you. Now, I’m trying to figure out, did you manage to… Because socialization is such a huge role in maintaining stress and lowering stress. It’s considered to be one of the great ways of trying to help people through things like drug addiction. Did you manage to find a way to add any of that stuff back to your life?
Drew Tauber: Yeah. I mean, I feel like everyone had their friend Zooms at the very beginning before we all realized that this is not a great way to hang out with people.
Josh Birk: I know.
Drew Tauber: But we’d play video games with each other and if we’re playing a game, we would fire up a Discord chat or something so we could talk to each other while we’re playing. That way we’re not staring at each other, but we’re playing a game. We’re just talking. There’s actually a really cool game that I found called Starship Horizons where it’s a group game where one computer is the host and everyone else logs in on a web browser and everybody is a different station on your Starship.
Drew Tauber: It’s like one person logs in and they pick the tactical console and they’ve got the tactical station. One person’s the helmsman and one person’s communications. Then one person’s the captain and all they really do is they just tell other people to do… The captain has nothing. The captain just has… You rely on just like if you’re in Star Trek, let’s say you’re relying on your tactical person telling you information.
Drew Tauber: You’re relying on your op station giving information. You’re giving orders and they’re all executing, but it’s just finding ways to hang out without just staring at each other on a Zoom screen and be like, “So what are you guys up to?” “Nothing. I’m all at stuck at home. What are you up to?” “Nothing. I’m stuck at home.” It was all very important.
Josh Birk: Nice. I like it. I like it a lot. Now, on the flip side of video games, another thing I’ve had to accept because I was never much of an exercise fan, shall we say? But the science is undeniable as to the effect it can have. Even walking, running, whatever, it reduces your stress, it reduces anxiety, et cetera. Was walking the dog your exercise or did you tack on more stuff?
Drew Tauber: For a while it was my exercise. It definitely wasn’t enough exercise as far as staying healthy. I wound up starting to go do a more regular exercise regimen again. That’s the thing I always mention, is stress is a physical reaction in the body and I’m not going to say the best way to deal with your depression is to go out and exercise necessarily, but it definitely helps to get the endorphins going.
Josh Birk: Yeah. No. Totally. I’m a big fan of mental health is physical health. It’s all wrapped into one thing. Even if stuff’s just occurring in your brain, your brain’s on a brain stem and brain stem’s controlling the rest of your body. The proof is there that it’s just like this stuff can really hurt you physically over time, which is another reason why if there’s managers listening to this, it’s like at some point… When I was going through some stuff, I had a family member who was just not getting it, not realizing what was happening.
Josh Birk: My therapist was like, “Well, if they’re not going to appreciate your mental health, would you tell them that you would prefer not to have a heart attack?” Yeah. I will try that then. What else have you done to make sure you’re not going to get back there?
Drew Tauber: Yeah. I mean, a lot of stuff I’ve done from a work perspective is I don’t do quick things anymore if I can avoid it. It’s a trap that I find I used to fall into a lot all the time and I find a lot of people do the same thing where someone comes up to you and say, “Hey, can we add a field that does something?” You’re like, “Yeah, sure.” Click, click and is done. You get the immediate endorphin rush, you get the immediate satisfaction.
Drew Tauber: It’s like, “Oh my God. That’s so amazing. Thank you so much. That’s great. I can’t believe you were able do it so fast.” Then you fast-forward to a week later when they need three more fields. They’re like, “Well, you were able to do it in two seconds last time.” It’s like, “Yeah. Well, I’m busy now.” You set the expectation that you can do it quickly. I’m going to keep throwing out the Star Trek analogies.
Josh Birk: Please do. Yeah.
Drew Tauber: Scotty would always say like, “Oh, yeah, I multiply all my time estimates by four. That way you would believe I’m a miracle worker.”
Josh Birk: Right. Exactly.
Drew Tauber: I’m not saying lie about how long your timeframe’s going to be, but even if it’s something quick like that, it’s very much like, “Okay. Put it in a Jira ticket so none of us forget. We’ll plan it out. If it’s quick, we’ll do it.” I can’t just be like, “Oh, yeah, sure. I’m going to stop what I’m doing and go do your thing.” I always find people are very understanding of that. You always worry it’s like when you say like, “Oh, I can’t do it right now, but I’ll get to it when I have a minute.” Unless it’s super urgent I’m like, “Oh, well I actually need it right now, and-
Josh Birk: Right now. Right.
Drew Tauber: … the CEO’s demanding this field in the next five minutes or I’m fired.” Obviously stuff like that doesn’t happen in my company. Yeah, just managing expectations in a lot of ways. I’ve heard a lot of times a saying, if it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist when referring to sales opportunities and leads. I have the same thing with Jira. If it’s not in Jira, it doesn’t exist to me. If you want something done, especially if it’s a change that we need to be able to have good tracking on you need to make a Jira ticket.
Drew Tauber: I mean, I’ll do… You can come to me and say, “Hey, can you tell me why this thing happened to this person?” I’ll go and I’ll do some investigation, but if it takes me more than a few minutes, it’s like, “Okay, we need to plan this time out because I’ve got my sprint that I’ve committed to doing and if I don’t get that done, because I spent all my time doing all this troubleshooting stuff that was not on my list of things to do I have to answer to people for that.”
Drew Tauber: Also, going back to being able to justify hiring more people. If you’re doing all your work off the books-
Josh Birk: You can’t. Right.
Drew Tauber: … my boss might know that but when he goes to his boss, say, “Hey, we need to hire more people to help Drew?” Like, why? He’s getting-
Josh Birk: Why?
Drew Tauber: There’s nothing in his backlog and he’s getting all of his stuff done.
Josh Birk: Yeah. Yeah. Back when I was a dev lead, I told our business partners, it’s like everything’s an hour. Just assume it’s an hour. I know you think it’s simple. I know you think it’s straightforward, but assume that the developer has to actually research something to make sure they’re doing it right. They actually have to implement it and they actually have to test it. It’s just nothing is less than an hour.
Josh Birk: For a while I had a rule back when I was a people manager for tenure, if it’s not in GUS… And GUS was our internal sprint manager type thing. I’m like, “If it’s not in GUS, it won’t happen and if it’s not on Chatter, it didn’t happen.” Because you should do is go do good work and then brag about it on Chatter. Totally with you there.
Josh Birk: A big one that comes up a lot is notifications and having your phone on and stuff like that. Have you reinforced rules to get that stuff out of your cognition from time to time?
Drew Tauber: Yeah. I mean, I spend a lot of time on Slack boundaries. Part of it is just the idea of… I think I moved up by an hour, at least, the default times in Slack when they say, “Okay. This is your I’m not working anymore no-notifications time, unless it’s an emergency.” The bedtime rules or whatever. They recently released, I think in the last six months, the ability to set different times for weekends.
Drew Tauber: Basically extend your do-not-disturb time to the weekend and even sometimes during the day. If I’m focused on working on something, I’ll just set my notification. I’ll set do not to disturb because I’m really focused right now. That’s definitely important to me.
Josh Birk: Yeah. Back when I worked in an office, we would refer to it as heads-down coding because you could see the developer hunch. We trained everybody who wasn’t on the development floor like, “If you see them like that, if you have to talk to them, approach slowly. Make sure you realize you are probably bringing them out of a flow state and that’s not what they need.”
Drew Tauber: Well, it’s like yeah, back in the office, everyone would have headphones. If you see someone with their big cans on you don’t bother them.
Josh Birk: You don’t bother them.
Drew Tauber: But we don’t have that same thing anymore on Slack. The other thing I always say with Slack is Slack is great and I prefer it over email, but Slack has this implied immediacy to it that email doesn’t have. You get a message at like 10 o’clock at night it’s like, “Oh, I just got a Slack message. I need to reply.” I’ve tried to get into a habit of if this Slack message were sent to me via email, would I feel like I need to reply to it right now?
Josh Birk: Yeah. Exactly.
Drew Tauber: If I don’t feel that way, then I won’t.
Josh Birk: Then don’t. Yeah. Another big tip I always tell people, especially on that front is if your work phone is your personal phone, definitely fix that especially in the Slack world, it’s like if you can just walk away from your laptop and your work phone and just have no capacity to see any of these notifications, it’s so much easier than trying to figure out when is it my phone and when is it my work phone?
Drew Tauber: Yeah. I haven’t had that luxury since way back when I worked for a small company called Lehman Brothers, when everyone was issued a Blackberry and that was your only work device and people would say, “Oh, why don’t you get your regular stuff on your Blackberry?” I was like, “Because I want to be able to put my Blackberry in a drawer at the end of the day.
Josh Birk: Yeah. Exactly.
Drew Tauber: Now I do a pretty good job of like say managing notifications for off hours. Going in and if I’m going to be away snoozing my notifications, if I’m going to be really away, just turning off Slack, turning off do not sync my Gmail into my phone. If I’m on vacation, I don’t want to see it. If I’ve got time and I want to go check something or check on work, I’ll go in and I’ll pull the refresh and I’ll make it pull down but do not automatically background refresh this app.
Josh Birk: Nice. Nice. Now, when did you say, “I want to do this as a presentation? I want to get up in front of other people I want to talk about this.”
Drew Tauber: Probably late last year is when I started really bumping around. It was one of those things like I think I had the slide deck in Google Slides. I was just popping in like, “Oh, this is a good thing. I should say this kind of thing.” I say one of the parts of doing this is being able to go out there and talk about it and destigmatize it. Every time I do this presentation, I’ll do like, “Show of hands, how many people have felt this way?” Then most people put their hands up.
Drew Tauber: My favorite is I was doing the presentation in Chicago and I see a whole bunch of people on their laptops and on their phones while I’m presenting. I said, “Show of hands, how many of you are working right now?”
Josh Birk: Now.
Drew Tauber: They put their hands up. How many of you do you… I’m at a conference. How many of you do your managers know where you are right now and they’re still asking you for stuff? Most of them keep their hands up.
Josh Birk: Yeah. Well, yeah, and I thank you because it’s like I completely agree. I think awareness and transparency, that’s the front line that I think the community can embrace. It does help to know if you’re in a room there’s probably… John Oliver just did his episode of mental health and he’s like… It went back in the 2010s. It was one in 10 adults suffered from anxiety and depression. Now it’s up to like four in 10. I guarantee you in the tech industry, it’s more like six in 10 or seven in 10, if we’re lucky.
Drew Tauber: I think a lot of that is just, don’t think a lot of it… There’s definitely a part of it where people are getting more anxious but I think a lot of it is people are recognizing it more.
Josh Birk: Yeah. Agreed.
Drew Tauber: It used to be like, “Oh, I’m just in a funk or I had a bad day.”
Josh Birk: Right. Or of course it’s been a long work week. That’s what work weeks look like.
Drew Tauber: Then you realize like, “Oh, no, my bad days are outnumbering my good days.” Then you finally realize like, “Oh, no, this is actually something real.”
Josh Birk: That’s our show. Now, before we go I did ask after Drew’s favorite non-technical hobby and it’s honestly one that he shares with a lot of people in the community.
Drew Tauber: I’m not sure if this is non-technical or not. It’s definitely more analog, but I enjoy woodworking.
Josh Birk: Oh, yeah. That’s definitely… If Kevin Portman’s listening right now, he’d be like, “No, Josh, it’s a technical thing.” I get you because it’s-
Drew Tauber: Yeah. There’s a lot of math involved. There’s a lot of… Because if you’re off by a little bit and it just cascades through your entire project… So it’s definitely I’m away from my computer. I’m working with my hands, I’m outside, and at the end of the day, I can point to a table that I made, it’s like, “I made that.”
Josh Birk: I want to thank Drew for the great conversation and information, and as always, I want to thank you for listening. Now, on a personal front, I just want to say, we’re talking about very serious issues out there. I do want to call out and just say, if you are feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression, you’re making it something that’s hard for you to get through work, please, please seek help. There’s a lot of great telehealth services out there, but first of all, you’re not alone and with help, you can get through it.
Josh Birk: Once again, thank you everybody. If you want to learn more about this show, head on over to developer.salesforce.com/podcast, where you can hear old episodes, see the show notes and have links to your favorite podcast service. Once again, thank you and I’ll talk to you next week.
Mike Gerholdt: So I really enjoyed that podcast and I will echo where Josh left that podcast off. If you're listening to this episode or any other episode and you're feeling stressed out, you're feeling burned out, reach out to someone. Don't be afraid to talk that that can be incredibly helpful. There's a lot of help lines, there's a lot of people I promise around you that are there to care for you. So I took a lot out of that podcast. I hope you do too. I really identified with how Drew brought up feeling overwhelmed. I thought it was interesting, the empty notebook syndrome that he talked about, which is looking at something and thinking of all the things that need to be done and the Zoom fatigue.
Direct download: Guest_Show__Burnout_and_Stress_with_Drew_Tauber.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT