Breaking point

A story of stretching too thin

May 22, 2022 · 2 min read ·

It's the summer of 2019.

I'm sitting at my desk at Spotify's HQ in Stockholm, working hard to justify my relatively high hourly rate. My mind is not 100% present though. It's also trying to device new ways to recruite more developers to my own company. And it's trying to figure out a way to find a gig for one of our consultants living in Berlin.

Suddenly I hear the all too familiar ping of an incoming Slack message. It's the guy in Berlin asking something about his vacation days. It's a perfectly normal question. But somehow it's just too much for me. It's all too much. I have to get out of there. Now.

I close my computer and tell the Engineering Manager that I'm not feeling well. It's not a lie. I can hardly keep myself from not shaking when I speak.

On my way home I text my co-founders in Gothenburg. "You have to help me", I write. "You have to take this one. I need to go home."

Then I turn off my phone.

At home, I crash on the bed. Tears start streaming down my cheeks and all I have the strength to do is to stare out into the void.

Hours later, when my girlfriend comes home she finds me in the same way. "What's going on?", she asks. I say I don't know, because I really don't.

She lays down beside me and hugs me. After a while (A minute? An hour?) I find the strength to tell her about my day. I tell her about the message on Slack and how I shut down my computer. I tell her about how I was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of not being enough. And as I'm telling her I realise what's happened.

I've finally hit the the wall.

Heads up!

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