Burnout at Scale: What to Try When You Just Can't

Friday, December 09, 2022 - 10:30 am11:30 am AEDT

Courtney Eckhardt


In SRE, we say (truthfully) that all problems are people problems, and people problems have not been scaling well during the pandemic. People are exhausted, they're still getting sick, there are still dramatic staffing shortages in our own workplaces and in core societal services, and some days it really feels like everything's coming apart at the seams.

The remedy that seems to come up most often is "be more empathetic"- but as SREs, we know that "do more" is not actionable and doesn't constitute a plan. It's not very clear what it means to be more empathetic (what do you actually do?), or how it helps (what does it fix, for you or anyone else?).

So what should we be trying to do? Let's talk about exhaustion, loneliness, friendship, mutual aid, and creating and maintaining the human connections we need to sustain ourselves and our societies.

Courtney Eckhardt[node:field-speakers-institution]

Courtney comes from a background in customer support and internet anti-abuse policy. She combines this human-focused experience with the principle of Conway's Law and the work of Kathy Sierra and Don Norman into a wide-reaching and humane concept of operational reliability. You can find her knitting in the audience of conference talks, and she's always interested in cat pictures.

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@conference {284941,
author = {Courtney Eckhardt},
title = {Burnout at Scale: What to Try When You Just Can{\textquoteright}t},
year = {2022},
address = {Sydney},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = dec

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