[AKN #108] Why We Burnout And How To Fix It
LAUGH: Viral LinkedIn Post Generator, LOVE: Diet Soda Is Not Good For You
Apparently, people in France HATE the name Kevin.
But that wasn't always the case.
Kevin was once extremely popular in France, but now it “conjures up the image of car-tuning fans, reality TV, tracksuits—clichés of…an uncultivated, vulgar, narrow-minded and phallocratic man.”
This change in sentiment was so recent that there is an entire campaign that got launched in France on June 3rd (which is apparently the feast day of Saint Kevin??) to fund a documentary called “Sauvons les Kevin” (“Save the Kevins”).
What do the Kevins need saving from?
“Snobbery and even social discrimination.”
French people hate the name Kevin so much, that it is a rallying cry for the French extreme-right wing.
During this year’s Presidential election, the extreme-right candidate Éric Zemmour condemned the name as “a symptom of de-France-ization and Americanization.”
Wow. I don’t even know where to start with this one.
But let’s give it a shot.
First of all, LET’S FUCKING GO BABY.
My name is fucking symbolic of Americanization.
Excuse me for a second, I have to eat a plate of freedom fries, scream sing God Bless the USA, and chug a 2 gallon bottle of Code Red Mountain Dew.
Secondly, the more I think about it, these Frenchies really get me.
Like check out this French meme.
Translated into a real language, this means “Kevin please stop beatboxing, I’m dying.”
LOL. Classic Kevin. I’m so whacky.
Bring on the hate you silly Europeans.
And bring it they will!
Because get this…the Germans also hate my name!
Again. Not making this up. There is literally a term for it — “Kevinismus”
In German, Kevinismus ("Kevinism") is the negative preconception German people have of Germans with trendy, exotic-sounding first names considered to be an indicator of a low social class. The prototypical example is Kevin, which like most such names came to Germany from Anglo-American culture.
This is the first time anyone has accused me of being trendy or exotic.
And for one second can we take a minute and acknowledge the absurdity of this German stance?
Literally kids in Germany are still being named Adolf, but Kevin is decidedly off the table.
That’s almost as nonsensical a take as taking all of your nuclear power plants offline and making yourself heavily dependent on Russian oil.
Europe is simply a clown subcontinent. Kevin rulez.
On to the newsletter!
LIVE: Why We Burnout And How To Fix It
A hand crafted, artisanal post by me…except not really this time
Something happened during the pandemic where we completely broke our relationship with work.
I don’t know a single knowledge worker (myself included) who hasn’t suffered from burnout over the last two years.
While I don’t have the answers here, I found the following Twitter thread super helpful for thinking through the problem and how to solve it.
The author starts:
“Burnout” is a particularly modern affliction, feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and paralyzed. I’ve found it’s best to think of burnout not as a disease but as a symptom, with many different etiologies.
The big three: permanent on-call, broken steering, and mission doubt.
1. Permanent On-Call
It used to be most jobs necessarily had to give you time off, because they could only be done from the office/factory/etc. The 24/7 on-call rotation was made possible thanks to the Magic of Technology(tm) (eg. 80s Doctors w pagers).
Too long on-call causes mental breakdown.
Retrospectively, I found this to be the reason I was burned out at my last job.
Being always on — even if it was only 40% on at times — was exhausting and it felt like it would never end.
But now as I’ve moved on to other roles, I’ve begun to feel the second type of burnout he describes…
2. Broken Steering
Broken steering is a metaphor for that feeling at work where your actions seem to have no impact. Turn the wheel, car still goes straight.
This is rare in blue collar work: the car got assembled, now you have car.
It is common in knowledge work: you sent some email, so what?
(Broken steering destroys motivation because it breaks the core feedback loop which makes work rewarding. When you throw a rock in a pond and it makes a splash, there is a little feeling of power in the impact on the world. Take away the splash and the intrinsic reward dies.)
The framing of this as a brand new problem to white collar work makes so much sense to me and probably is part of the reason why we don’t have well established ways of solving it.
I find myself going through this “broken steering” feeling for the first time now and I’m not quite sure how to get through it.
However, the author recommends the following:
If you find yourself feeling “burnout”, it can be good to consider which of these might be the cause.
The solution to permanent on-call is more vacation and time-off.
But that can actually make broken steering worse, where you need to instead increase your impact per unit work.
I’m not sure exactly how to act on that, but it feels directionally correct.
I can buy the idea that if you are feeling like you are not having an impact, you should first work on how to have an impact before doing anything else.
Again, I don’t have all the solutions, but I certainly find this framing helpful for my own situation.
Hope you found it useful as well.
LAUGH: Viral LinkedIn Post Generator
A curated joke I found wading through the cesspool of the Internet
Ok. So I don’t want to overreact, but I think I just found the best website ever.
What I just linked you to is an AI that writes viral LinkedIn posts.
All you have to do is fill in some very simple prompts and it gives you a post ready for the cringey LinkedIn lime light.
As an example, here I simply enter some inputs:
And it gives me an absolutely fire viral ready output:
Just an amazing tool.
LOVE: Diet Soda Is Not Good For You
Something I have been loving
I grew up in a generation where we stopped drinking soda and replaced it with diet soda. Ends up…that shit was also bad for us.
In this Cell paper, they show:
Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) are commonly integrated into human diet and presumed to be inert; however, animal studies suggest that they may impact the microbiome and downstream glycemic responses.
So while it may have no calories, it completely screws up your digestion and throws the body’s blood sugar out of whack. Which is also quite bad for you...
Honestly, sounds like we are better off just going back to the original formula of Coke where you just do lines of it.
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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are strictly my own. Who else’s would they be?
It’s Better To Burn Out Than Fade Away,