Taro Logo

How can I have less burnout and better work-life balance?

Profile picture
Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] at Meta7 months ago

I work overtime a lot, and it's pretty stressful. I'm also worried that amidst all this effort working for Meta, I'll lose track of who I am overall and what I can do for other companies. What can I do to strike a better balance here?



  • Rahul Pandey
    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    Great question, and exactly the topic of a recent video I made.

    In particular, as an engineer at a large company like Meta, I'd recommend you focus on defining an area where you are the master, but don't try to master too much surface area. Be clear with your tech lead/manager on what the impactful work is, and focus on that.

  • Alex Chiou
    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    6 months ago

    I'm really sorry to hear that you're going through this - This is unfortunately a common scenario for software engineers at Meta. For some initial advice, I recommend going through this Q&A from another E4 at Meta about handling pressure well.

    On top of the advice from that Q&A, I highly recommend talking to your manager (assuming you like them and have a good relationship). One of the big things about Meta is that work-life balance is almost always something you need to consciously work towards - It's not something that comes "for free" with your team. Here are the main things to do in that conversation:

    • Be vulnerable and share that you're working overly long hours regularly
    • Ask them to help prioritize your current tasks
      • Bonus: See if any of the tasks can be dropped/moved to other engineers
    • Figure out the core suite of things you need to work on to sustain your performance and start making progress towards E5

    I'll lose track of who I am overall and what I can do for other companies.

    The cool thing here is that if you fix this problem of over-working and burnout, this problem will naturally get solved as well. Here's why:

    • When you are just moving from task to task, surviving and writing the bare minimum for functional code, that's when your learning is shallow and you are only understanding the specific Meta stack. This mode optimizes for quantity instead of quality.
    • When you have more clarity around what to prioritize, you shift gears towards building out quality and less towards quantity. This is when the true fundamental learning happens. The exercise of really planning out a hard technical task, teasing out edge cases, and aligning your team behind your architectural vision is all skill that is transferrable anywhere.
    • When you zoom out from execution, you can take the time to build up those more fundamental non-coding skills like communication, mentorship, and leadership. These skills are truly transferrable anywhere and are a big piece in making the E4 -> E5 promo.

    All that being said, talking to people and not being alone is one of the best "cures" for this kind of situation. If you have any follow-up concerns/questions, I'm happy to provide more thoughts into Taro or answer them privately on Slack.

    Related resources: