After burnout, Rafiq Phillips reboots
but I was literally working from sunrise to sunset and beyond.”
Phillips reckons that burnout is very common in the technology and digital industries. “A lot of people in the industry have been through something similar. There is a fair amount of burnout in this sector – people just don’t readily talk about it,” he says.
“It got too much for me,” he confesses. But it wasn’t just the work that was causing him to suffer. “My morals and ethics were completely different from those of my business partner. This created an enormous amount of stress for me. The result was that I burned out. Although the ethical clash added stress, Phillips attributes the main cause of the burnout to him overworking.
For most of 2014 Phillips felt exhausted. “Eventually I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t handle it anymore, and I resigned. After that I had to be admitted to hospital. My body just crashed,” he says.
“On the day I was admitted I was extremely anxious and paranoid. I live in the middle of the city and even the noise of the traffic was getting to me. To me, this was a huge sign that something was wrong. The sounds of the city – the sounds that I had loved – were getting to me. The things I enjoyed became things I started to fear. That’s when I knew I had to step out of my life. Or at least do something to change it,” he says.
Phillips, with the support of his family, admitted himself to hospital – where he was diagnosed with bipolar mood disorder. “I spent weeks and weeks in hospital, but when I came out I realised that there is more to life than merely working for money. My relationship with money has changed. Now what I need is enough for me to put a roof over my head and to prosper, but money is no longer the be-all and end-all of my existence. It is no longer the main motivator for what I do or who I am.”
Phillips says he doesn’t consider himself an entrepreneur, but rather thinks of himself as someone who likes trying things out. “I would say that I am a social entrepreneur. I like doing things that have a bigger impact than just making money,” Phillips says pensively.
Rafiq Phillips is sharing his experience so that others may learn to try and create a better work/life balance for themselves before it is too late.