Switching off seems impossible. While I don't feel like I'm 'working' when I'm on holiday, my brain is looking for the next problem to solve or application to optimise. It's in constant pursuit of a small rush of endorphins, if my body wants it or not.
What's been interesting about this challenge is that it's similar to the challenges I've faced transitioning from a Software Engineer & Tech/Team Lead to an Engineering Director. My brain used to jump into action when a large engineering problem presents itself - "how can we optimise X to save R100,000, if you give me Y days I can solve
<insert big org-wide problem here> with the team". These knee-jerk reactions come from a well-meaning place, but in a role where my job requires providing engineering leadership, building can create more problems than solutions.
It took months to realise the impact of jumping in - it started by building one service that ended up becoming a backbone service of the company with no shared ownership between teams (because you built it one Saturday night before a launch to solve the pressing issue at the time). I ended up with a service that had no logical ownership model, resulting in me having to form a working group to understand what the future of the service would be.
There have been many more of these weekend-projects-turned-core-services in the past couple of months and while I realise that they solved an immediate need, it should have never been my first instinct to jump in.
This brings me back to switching off. I now use my holiday time for all the interesting work and non-work projects that I never get time to explore.
Is it healthy? Probably not.
Do I get some pleasure out of it? Sure, sometimes.
Have I got life/my job/my career figured out? See Above 😅
P.S: Over the holiday I've been re-reading The Manager's Path. I can highly recommend it to anyone navigating growth and change in their tech career.