Mental health is underrated

When we come to a job interview, at least in our software sector, most of the questions from candidates go are around tech stack, work process, sadly very rarely about culture, work life balance and flexibility.

I believe that those are the questions that should be asked, as those are the ones that will mostly affect your mental health and sanity, performance and your happiness for almost a third of your lifetime.

The issue is cultural

At most of the workplaces, it is not uncommon to be asked to work on weekends, put extra time to meet artificial deadlines (that are often then forgotten about), even work outside of your working hours just to meet timezone differences, all these things affects your mental health and energy, and when it is asked for and granted, it becomes a de-facto standard. Once you accept to do them, you are expected to always accept them, and at some point, managers will stop asking for it.

So I beg you, stop this non sense, and start putting your priorities in order: health, family, friends and then work, and this last one just because we surely need the income to be able to enjoy and satisfy the others.

It is absolutely fine to enjoy working, but it is most surely not your company, so at any point in time, you will be out of there, but you will not be out of your family nor health, and hopefully you will have remaining friends until your last days, if you take care of them.

Companies, and specially managers that believe they are the heart of the company (those with lot’s of ego and high denial), you will notice them, they usually accept all those nonsense, it’s like they want to live for work, rather than work for living, but that is fine, you are on the tech sector and can safely run away, but first try to bring this up, do not leave without a fight for what you believe in.

Finding the right place is not easy

It might be hard to find a place where work life balance is a top priority, even at some places where they think it is, it really is not, and sometimes other priorities come, and it might be ok for some people, but it’s doing more harm than good at the end.

So in order to find one of these place, one should probably jump from place to place until reaching one that trust you, is satisfied with your outcomes, does not promote seat-warming, and does not create artificially fake deadlines often to keep pressures up.

These times of covid have brought up some awareness about remote working, flexibility and work life balance, but all those are also artificial and by pure need of the business to keep running, otherwise you would be on leave. It is well-known some companies enforces their employees to go to their office to work, even having kids with kindergarden and schools closed, nice presenteeism culture there…

More bad than good

The thing is that, at the end of the day, all those companies where these bad habits are business as usual, are often the ones with lower productivity, because the biggest boost of productivity of all is mental health, it helps you keep focus, it helps you think better and quicker, be more open to teamwork, allows you to control your emotions which ends up having a great team environment, and teams will always outperform individuals.

If your company does not yet have their employees mental health and work life balance on their top priority, either fight for it if you have energy or leave, if you can.

Summary

Fight for your mental health, look for work life balance and great culture environments, rather than focusing on tech stack and processes to follow.

Good luck in your searching

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