Product burnout? You're not alone!
Product Management, UX, Startups, and more — freshly curated by Zeda.io
Hello, all you product-loving folks! 🥰
Welcome to this week's edition of Product Café, your weekly cup of coffee for everything product management, startups, and more. ☕
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Riddle of the week 💬
What runs, but never walks. Murmurs, but never talks. Has a bed, but never sleeps. And has a mouth, but never eats?
The answer is at the end of this newsletter.
I think being burned out is more or less inevitable in any career. I have burned out myself. I tried a lot of things, - taking things slowly at work, meeting new people, and even a therapist. Nothing worked until I took a small sabbatical from work to focus on my personal well-being. Please don’t quote me on this because while this worked for me, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you. For instance, my colleague handled his burnout by hitting the gym and for another, she spoke to her manager and worked on another project which included responsibilities that were different than what she was doing before.
But considering how demanding and stressful Product Management is, it should come as no surprise that according to a Forbes report, seven out of 10 product folks are considering quitting over the next year, 30% of those are because of burnout.
Before we dive into more details, let me start by explaining what burnout means and what it actually feels like because turns out many people confuse burnout with just being lazy.
Burnout simply means that the job you loved waking up to at one point no longer seems exciting. You suddenly sense the lack of motivation to complete tasks and even feel confused about where your career is heading. This typically happens due to unhealthy work-life balances, unclear expectations, and toxic work environments to name a few.
Here are 3 reasons why some Product Managers suffered from burnout and what they did to overcome it:
1. Meeting fatigue
Since the responsibilities of a PM are usually end-to-end management, it’s understood that they have to be involved with what everyone is doing or working on, from designers to engineers to marketing and more. This could also mean meetings that eat up your entire day, meaning you have little or no time to get any work done.
Unless it’s a meeting that involves your product or product area, just say no. If it’s someone in your organization that just wants to express their ideas about the product, tell them to send you a message on Slack or discuss this in the next stand-up or demo meeting.
2. Being the constant bearer of bad news
A great PM quality is learning when to say no but sadly, that also leaves you with unhappy customers. When customers visibly show their frustration, PMs sometimes tend to take things personally and see this as a failure from their end even though they took this decision based on so many external factors like not having enough resources or prioritizing another feature that will add more value.
PMs that usually have a sensitive nature tend to get affected the most and even end up reconsidering their career in product.
No matter how amazing a product is, not all your customers will be fully satisfied unless your product could literally do their entire job for them. Always remember that customers have a relationship with the product and not you, which means that whatever they say is directed to the product and not to you as a person. For instance, Jira is an amazing product but customers will always tend to only complain about what it doesn’t do rather than praise it for its usability. It’s like a saying I heard long back “When there’s a small patch of dirt on a beautifully painted wall, people will always tend to notice the dirt first”
3. Being in the wrong product/industry
The roles and responsibilities of a PM differ with different industries and products. I know a friend of mine who was mentally unhappy in a B2B product but found his true calling in a B2C product. Another friend hated being a Technical Product Manager but fell in love with handling an e-commerce product.
So if you’re unhappy with your current product, do look at other product management roles in different industries, talk to current PMs in those industries and then make a decision. Being unhappy in any role often leads to imposter syndrome which not only affects your work but also eventually leads to you being severely burned out.
Good reads for extra credit 📚
1. How to Avoid Product Manager Burnout by Enrique Somoza, Director of Product Management at Neustar Security Services.
2. Product Managers & Mental Health by Swapna M, a Product leader at Microsoft.
Song of the week 🎶
I recently heard this song on America’s Got Talent and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s the perfect dose of motivation to chase your dreams and not give up!
Twitter’s new Blue Tick that made everyone tick! 🐦
I think we all expected some changes when Elon Musk took Twitter over for 44 billion dollars but laying off over 3000 employees and charging $8 dollars a month for blue tick verifications on Twitter profiles…… jeez, Musk needs to take a chill pill.
But what really shook the news was when a fake profile of Eli Lilly and company, which is an insulin manufacturing company, bought the new $8 dollar Twitter Blue subscription from Twitter and posted the below tweet:
The fake-but-verified Eli Lilly tweet was up for three hours and had over 1,500 retweets and 10,000 likes.
According to The Star, the company’s stock dropped 4.37 percent on Friday - erasing over US $15 billion in market cap.
This incident isn’t just isolated to Eli Lilly. Paid verified accounts pretending to be former President Donald Trump and Lebron James spread mass confusion on Twitter a few days ago as Twitter Blue was released.
What’s brewing on Zeda.io’s side? ☕
We at Zeda.io have been working on a product leadership report and we would love to have your voice in it. 📣💥
The goal of this 1-minute survey is to understand the career path of product folks, their challenges, what makes them tick, and more.
If you are a product person, you are eligible to participate. And this goes without saying, we would happily send you a copy of the report when we launch it next month.🗓
Here's the survey link: https://tally.so/r/mZ95kB
That’s all folks! Have something you want to share? Put them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you soon.
See you again next week! 🥂
It’s hard to explain what a Product Manager does, we get it. But you know what’s not that hard? Sharing this newsletter with your friends and colleagues!
Answer to the riddle: A river
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