Af­ter burnout, Rafiq Phillips re­boots

Finweek English Edition - - LIFE -

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.

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