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Field Guide to Caring for a Developer (2.0)

Field Guide to Caring for a Developer (2.0)

Surrounded by constant workflow advancements, new frameworks, and version updates, tech culture often makes exhaustion a badge of honour. How do we best take care of ourselves when faced with obstacles like burnout, isolation, and uncertainty?

Whether you’re a remote employee, freelancer, or working within a larger tech team, striving towards a greater understanding of mental health supports the sustainability of both individuals and the industry as a whole. In this talk, I’ll discuss my own lived experience as well as examine the state of mental health awareness within tech.

Allison Tarr

April 28, 2018
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  1. FIELD GUIDE TO
    CARING FOR A DEVELOPER
    WORDCAMP DETROIT 2018

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  2. TODAY’S JOURNEY
    ◇ The Stats
    ◇ The Why(s)
    ◇ How we can work towards change as a
    community

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  3. I’M ALLISON.
    Feminist. Writer. Mental health advocate.
    Front-end developer.
    @allisonplus

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  4. CONTENT DISCLAIMER
    aka “You Do You”

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  5. WHY THIS
    MATTERS TO ME

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  6. HULA HOOPER.
    CANADIAN.
    MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE.
    FEMINIST.
    FRONT-END DEVELOPER.
    ASPIRING BANJO PLAYER.
    DAUGHTER. WRITER.
    TRANSPLANTED CALIFORNIAN.
    VEGETARIAN.
    AVID READER.
    DOLLY PARTON FAN.
    INFJ.
    INTROVERT.
    PARTNER.
    SISTER.
    AUNT.

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  7. 1 in 5
    people living with a mental health
    issue

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  8. Over 500,000
    people miss work each week due
    to mental health issues.

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  9. $50+ billion
    estimated annual cost of
    absenteeism + lost productivity

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  10. WHY DON’T WE TALK ABOUT IT?
    ...being treated differently
    ...exclusion
    ...judgement
    ...being labelled
    ...being viewed as less competent

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  11. {AWKWARD
    AUDIENCE
    PARTICIPATION
    SECTION}

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  12. Has your employer ever formally discussed mental health
    (for example as part of a wellness campaign or other official
    communication)?

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  13. ...discussing a mental health disorder
    with your employer would have
    negative consequences?
    ...discussing a physical health disorder
    with your employer would have
    negative consequences?
    DO YOU THINK THAT...

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  14. WHY THIS
    APPLIES TO TECH

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  15. THE TECH INDUSTRY AS A WORKPLACE
    ◇ Compressed deadlines
    ◇ Ambitious goal setting
    ◇ Constant review and approvals
    ◇ Communicational chaos
    ◇ Independent work
    ◇ Expectations of being available outside
    of hours

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  16. I totally understand all the latest
    technologies, systems and
    workflows within my industry.
    —No One

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  17. WHAT IS BURNOUT?
    Physical, mental or emotional exhaustion caused by
    long-term stress.

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  18. TECH INDUSTRY
    can make this seem like the status quo.
    THE

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  19. 5 KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL TEAM
    ◇ Psychological safety
    ◇ Dependability
    ◇ Structure & clarity
    ◇ Meaning of work
    ◇ Impact of work

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  20. GOOD JOB RESOURCES
    ◇ participation in decision
    making
    ◇ task variety
    ◇ job autonomy
    ◇ potential for
    qualification
    ◇ support from colleagues,
    peers, & family
    ◇ lack of social support
    ◇ low job control
    ◇ poor performance
    feedback
    ◇ time pressure
    POOR JOB RESOURCES

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  21. THERE ARE WAYS OF KEEPING
    UP THAT DON’T INVOLVE
    BURNOUT.

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  22. STRATEGY
    SUGGESTIONS

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  23. HOW TO CREATE PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY
    ◇ Frame work as a process, as opposed
    to execution problems
    ◇ Acknowledge your own fallibility
    ◇ Model curiousity by asking a lot of
    questions.

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  24. PUT ON YOUR OXYGEN MASK FIRST
    ◇ Setting boundaries
    ◇ Know the perks + benefits available to
    you and your rights as an employee.
    ◇ Take your vacation
    ◇ Communicate empathy.
    ◇ Improve and model your self care
    strategies

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  25. 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE GIVING*
    1. Prioritize the help requests that come your way — say yes when it
    matters most and no when you need to.
    2. Give in ways that play to your interests and strengths to preserve your
    energy and provide greater value.
    3. Distribute the giving load more evenly — refer requests to others
    when you don’t have the time or skills, & be careful not to reinforce
    gender biases and who helps and how.
    4. Secure your oxygen mask first —you’ll help others more effective if you
    don’t neglect your own needs.
    5. Amplify your impact by looking for ways to help multiple people with a
    single act of generosity.
    6. Chunk your giving into dedicated days or blocks of time rather than
    sprinkling it throughout the week. You’ll be more effective — and more
    focused.
    7. Learn to spot takers, and steer clear of them. They’re a drain on your
    energy, not to mention a performance hazard.
    *Adam Grant & Reb Rebele, Harvard Business Review

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  26. FREELANCE STRATEGIES
    ◇ Set aside time for learning
    ◇ Switch up working environment
    ◇ Client boundaries re: communication
    ◇ Seek out professional supports
    ◇ Work towards your strengths
    ◇ Avoid presenteeism

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  27. EMPLOYED STRATEGIES
    ◇ Lunch n’ Learns or training sessions
    ◇ Pre-mortems & blameless post-mortems
    ◇ Respectful code reviews
    ◇ Celebrate non-feature work
    ◇ Create a dialogue with management
    ◇ No work email on personal devices
    ◇ Management modelling behaviours

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  28. WHAT CAN WE DO AS A
    COMMUNITY?

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  29. EMBRACE NEURODIVERSITY
    CHALLENGE STIGMA OF TALKING ABOUT FEELINGS
    REDUCE STIGMA BY EDUCATION AND DISCLOSURE
    SUPPORT OTHERS IN A SUSTAINABLE FASHION

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  30. https://osmihelp.org
    Open Sourcing Mental Illness

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  31. DON’T ACCEPT THINGS
    IF THEY’RE NOT
    WORKING FOR YOU.
    YOU DESERVE TO BE
    HAPPY AND HEALTHY.

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  32. WE’RE NOT JUST CODE,
    WE’RE COMMUNITY.

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  33. ◇ Open Source Mental Illness: osmihelp.org
    ◇ WPHugs: https://wphugs.org/
    ◇ IMAlive (online crisis network): https://www.imalive.org/
    ◇ National Alliance on Mental Illness:
    http://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/national-standard
    ◇ Mental Health First Aid: http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.ca/
    RESOURCES

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  34. ANY QUESTIONS?
    @allisonplus
    [email protected]
    Presentation template by SlidesCarnival & Photographs by Unsplash

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