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info-burnout

Thread on /., regarding burnout and depression among IT workers.
I can relate to a lot of what has been written.

One thing caught my eye:

One should take into account more variables. (Score:5, Insightful)
by cbiffle (211614) on Thursday May 19, @04:17PM (#12582223)
I've been watching this pretty closely, preparing for a masters
program in a related topic. This isn't directly related to my
research, so take it more as an idea than a finding, but:
Information overload will only affect certain personality types. There
are those of us who inhale Google daily. Recent example: "I went home
last night, discovered Hibernate, learned it, and converted our
70,000-line service center app to use it. Want the diffs?" Yeah, there
are people who do this; we had it happen at work about a week ago.
Others simply cannot absorb and process information that quickly.
These people are potential info-burnouts.
Tends to correlate, in my
experience, with a general unwillingness to learn new programming
languages or adapt to new systems. They're not being
sticks-in-the-proverbial-mud -- they understand that they simply can't
cram it into their brain quickly enough, and it often makes them
anxious.

Without going into too much detail, I think I'm an info-burnout. I'm willing to learn new things, but I become anxious about it, especially when there is an expectation that I should be able to do the new things at least as well as the old things right away, or that I should be able to retain all the old things just as if I was doing them on a day-to-day basis.

I was going to write something else about people who go to MIT who take six or more classes per quarter, but I don't have time. One thing I have always wondered is if they can't learn everything that's covered in class, texts, etc., how they prioritize what they need to know for tests. Another is, assuming they've done really well so far, would they be surprised if they started having trouble because the tests started asking for things they hadn't had time to cover or didn't understand fully. Also, I wonder how this relates to something like realizing that CPC advertising is highly susceptible to click fraud.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
figmo
May. 24th, 2005 12:36 am (UTC)
I was going to write something else about people who go to MIT who take six or more classes per quarter, but I don't have time. One thing I have always wondered is if they can't learn everything that's covered in class, texts, etc., how they prioritize what they need to know for tests.

As someone who did Foothill College (23.5 units in one quarter) and San Jose State (a full-time courseload while working full-time) in "overload mode," I can tell you how I did it.

First of all, there's a knack to scheduling compatible classes. At Foothill I managed to use the same assignment for three different classes (computers soooo rock for that!) in one quarter. At San Jose State I already had an assignment for one class half-done when the teacher announced it because I had the same half-assignment for another class. You multitask, doing homework for one class while sitting in a lecture for another class. You do homework at work. You mix up your class schedule so not all the classes are hard.

As for learning, you learn what you care about learning. I knew my geography class was going to be a joke when the text was severely outdated, the teacher didn't provide decent study materials, and the lectures and reading materials didn't always match what was on the tests. I got an A+ in the intro to Psychology class because the teacher graded on a bell curve and it was just sheer rote memorization. I barely remember most of what I "learned" in that class and I don't care.
gregbo
May. 25th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
"You mix up your class schedule so not all the classes are hard."

I can't always tell when something is going to be difficult for me. For example, my queueing theory professor from UCLA seemed to think that discussing roots of a polynomial was the most difficult part of solving certain types of problems, but it wasn't for me. What was more difficult was the first few steps of setting the problem up, making sure that I had not overlooked some subtle point. (FYI, the class in question is CS212a.)

More later if I have time ...

firecat
May. 24th, 2005 07:50 am (UTC)
I'm not an info-burnout, I'm an "expectation-burnout."
figmo's response mostly makes me tired just to read it. But "learn what you care about learning" is good advice in an info-overload culture.

gregbo
May. 28th, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm not an info-burnout, I'm an "expectation-burnout."
"learn what you care about learning" is good advice in an info-overload culture.

I think this is reasonable. However, there are some people who are worried that taking certain classes (or perhaps too many) might put them at risk for something they want to do in the future. For example, some people on CollegeConfidential expressed concerns about majoring in engineering and premed. It was their experience that engineering is graded more harshly than non-engineering, and that med schools don't take the difficulty of the program into account when evaluating GPA. So they felt it was unwise to major in engineering and premed. Some other people expressed concerns about not being able to get or keep scholarships if their grades were too low.
firecat
May. 28th, 2005 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm not an info-burnout, I'm an "expectation-burnout."
Yep, I have no doubt that specific programs have specific requirements that it's important to strategize about.

"Learn what you care about learning," to me, is really about subject matters and not about specific programs. If you are interested in medicine, there are lots of ways to learn about it and participate in it that don't involve going through doctor school.

The biggest reason I never considered going to med school was that I knew interns and residents had 36-48-72 hour shifts, and I knew myself well enough to know I could not handle that physically and mentally, not while keeping myself alert enough to make good decisions. I've since learned that many medical professionals admit to making fatigue-related mistakes that lead to patients' deaths.
gregbo
May. 29th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC)
Re: I'm not an info-burnout, I'm an "expectation-burnout."
Interesting. I wonder how many people know themselves well enough to make a decision like that when they are young. I don't think I knew myself that well. Also, some kids are pushed into studies/careers they don't want to be in, etc.
likablenerd
May. 24th, 2005 08:06 am (UTC)
Even with 20 classes per quarter (80+ units) it was entirely possible to get 99% coverage of all the classes, with the exception of a Marxism class. That particular class was just conducted in a really retarded way. I really have nothing good to say about the particular professor.

I note that this quarter was also (I think) my highest scoring quarter, with the median grade an A.

In any case, I think the key is to get good at reading textbooks / lecture notes.
gregbo
May. 24th, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
How much sleep do you usually get?
Do you eat three meals per day with a healthy amount of vitamins, minerals, etc.?
How often do you exercise? How much?

Of course, being significantly younger than me, you can probably stay awake longer on a regular basis. OTOH, I didn't take good care of my health for a while. I didn't floss regularly, nor did I have my teeth regularly cleaned. During my second year of grad school, I needed thirteen fillings. A couple of years later, I had oral surgery. The experience was sufficiently painful that I have since made a point of practicing good dental health. Due to stress, I grind my teeth, so now I have to wear a night guard. I've needed crowns over the years because I wore down all the enamel on some teeth.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )