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Dealing with Anxiety
in Operations
Velocity Santa Clara 2016
Justin Lintz - @lintzston - jlintz@gmail.com
Me
● Chief Anxiety Officer
Director of Web Operations @ Spring
● Sys Admin since 2006
● Cannot dunk a basketball
Spring is a marketplace of 1,000+ amazing brands that
people can shop on app and web. Our goal is to enable
people to shop...
Goals of this talk
● Educate you about Anxiety disorders
● Discuss anxiety/stress in our jobs
● Methods to mitigate those ...
Quick Disclaimer
This is not medical advice. I am not a mental
health professional or a doctor. These are my
own experienc...
Survey Says...
Anxiety Statistics
“Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and
older (about 18%) in a give...
My Illness
● Generalized Anxiety Disorder
○ With a Panic Disorder
● Symptoms appeared around 13
● Wasn’t diagnosed until 17
What is Anxiety?
● Feelings of panic, fear, and
uneasiness
● Problems sleeping
● Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
● Shortn...
Which shares symptoms of….
● Heart Attack
● Stroke
● Flu
● Common Cold
● Whatever Virus is currently in the news at
the ti...
Panic Attack
Sudden onset of intense anxiety symptoms
without warning and sometimes without reason
● Fight or flight
● Log...
Good Anxiety vs Bad Anxiety
● Having Anxiety doesn’t mean you have a
disorder
● This is the job of a mental health
profess...
Stressors of
Operations
Oncall
https://www.flickr.com/photos/churl/263989110
Guaranteed Outages
Maintenance Windows
New Technology
https://www.flickr.com/photos/techbirmingham/76169852
Complexities
● Nginx
● Django
● CockroachDB
● LDAP
● Kafka
● Logstash
● Elasticsearch
● Kibana
● OpenVPN
● YubiKey
All in ...
A “team” of One
https://www.flickr.com/photos/piratescott/481789838/
Power and Responsibility
root@spof.justinlintz.com:~# rm -rf /
OMG WHAT WAS I
THINKING?
In our operations jobs
Minimizing
Anxiety
Don’t be an Ops team of One
● Just cause you are the only one with Ops in
title doesn’t mean you should be the only
one do...
Controlled Burns
Bring Service down
Did it fail as expected?
Did the correct monitors go off?
● Did you even have monitors in place?
● Did too many monitors go off?
Was availability affected?
Blameless Postmortems
Remove fear of punishment from the equation
https://codeascraft.com/2012/05/22/blameless-postmortems...
Checklists
● general steps for being paged
● go back and automate what
you can
● “playbooks” for detailed steps
http://www...
Checklists
● takes stress and pressure off the moment
● even for the simple things!
● removes the guesswork
Training
● Observation/Monitoring tools
○ knowing which tool to reach for
● Expanding your toolset
● From vendors themselv...
On-call Partner
● Talk out a problem with them
● A second set of eyes
● Redundancy!
Talking to your Employer about your Mental Health
● Hard to approach
○ Will they understand?
● Takes time to build a comfo...
Recap
1. Team of (N > 1) is > Team of 1
2. Controlled Burns
3. Blameless Postmortems
4. Checklists
5. Training
6. On-call ...
When to seek help?
Anxiety becomes..
● excessive
● intrusive
● persistent
● debilitating
Treatments
Anxiety is manageable and treatable!
● Therapy
● Medication
● Exercise
● Diet
● Breathing exercises
● Meditation
How can you
help someone?
Listen
Ask what they need?
Avoid being dismissive
“just relax”
Take them to a quiet place
Avoid touching or grabbing
When in doubt, seek
emergency medical treatment
Wrapping up
Recovery not linear
Anxiety recovery or JVM Heap Usage?
Health > Job
Resources
Finding Help
● https://therapists.psychologytoday.com
● http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/re...
Questions?
Twitter: @lintzston
Email: jlintz@gmail.com
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Dealing with Anxiety in Operations - Velocity 2016

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Justin Lintz defines some of the stresses operations people face, outlines methods for mitigating them, and discusses his personal experience of having an anxiety disorder while working in an operations role, raising awareness about the anxiety issues many people face but are afraid to talk about.

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Dealing with Anxiety in Operations - Velocity 2016

  1. 1. Dealing with Anxiety in Operations Velocity Santa Clara 2016 Justin Lintz - @lintzston - jlintz@gmail.com
  2. 2. Me ● Chief Anxiety Officer Director of Web Operations @ Spring ● Sys Admin since 2006 ● Cannot dunk a basketball
  3. 3. Spring is a marketplace of 1,000+ amazing brands that people can shop on app and web. Our goal is to enable people to shop all their favorite brands in one place in a way that's convenient, easy, and fun. shopspring.com
  4. 4. Goals of this talk ● Educate you about Anxiety disorders ● Discuss anxiety/stress in our jobs ● Methods to mitigate those anxieties ● How you can help
  5. 5. Quick Disclaimer This is not medical advice. I am not a mental health professional or a doctor. These are my own experiences…. Please don’t sue me or O’ Reilly But if you had to pick one...
  6. 6. Survey Says...
  7. 7. Anxiety Statistics “Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty.” ● 22.8% of the cases are classified as “severe” ● Only 36.9% are receiving treatment Average Age-of-Onset: 11 years old!!! Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847357/ http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/file_148008.pdf
  8. 8. My Illness ● Generalized Anxiety Disorder ○ With a Panic Disorder ● Symptoms appeared around 13 ● Wasn’t diagnosed until 17
  9. 9. What is Anxiety? ● Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness ● Problems sleeping ● Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet ● Shortness of breath ● Heart palpitations ● An inability to be still and calm ● Dry mouth ● Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet ● Nausea ● Muscle tension ● Dizziness http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders
  10. 10. Which shares symptoms of…. ● Heart Attack ● Stroke ● Flu ● Common Cold ● Whatever Virus is currently in the news at the time
  11. 11. Panic Attack Sudden onset of intense anxiety symptoms without warning and sometimes without reason ● Fight or flight ● Logic goes out the window
  12. 12. Good Anxiety vs Bad Anxiety ● Having Anxiety doesn’t mean you have a disorder ● This is the job of a mental health professional to help you figure out!
  13. 13. Stressors of Operations
  14. 14. Oncall https://www.flickr.com/photos/churl/263989110
  15. 15. Guaranteed Outages
  16. 16. Maintenance Windows
  17. 17. New Technology https://www.flickr.com/photos/techbirmingham/76169852
  18. 18. Complexities ● Nginx ● Django ● CockroachDB ● LDAP ● Kafka ● Logstash ● Elasticsearch ● Kibana ● OpenVPN ● YubiKey All in a giant Docker container Sitting in the Cloud Which is all powered by #serverless technology That requires #NoOps to run
  19. 19. A “team” of One https://www.flickr.com/photos/piratescott/481789838/
  20. 20. Power and Responsibility root@spof.justinlintz.com:~# rm -rf /
  21. 21. OMG WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  22. 22. In our operations jobs Minimizing Anxiety
  23. 23. Don’t be an Ops team of One ● Just cause you are the only one with Ops in title doesn’t mean you should be the only one doing Ops ○ Shared Oncall w/ Engineering ○ Empower and train engineering ○ Don’t be a SPOF of knowledge ● DevOps
  24. 24. Controlled Burns
  25. 25. Bring Service down
  26. 26. Did it fail as expected?
  27. 27. Did the correct monitors go off? ● Did you even have monitors in place? ● Did too many monitors go off?
  28. 28. Was availability affected?
  29. 29. Blameless Postmortems Remove fear of punishment from the equation https://codeascraft.com/2012/05/22/blameless-postmortems/ http://www.slideshare.net/jallspaw/advanced-postmortem-fu-and-human-error- 101-velocity-2011
  30. 30. Checklists ● general steps for being paged ● go back and automate what you can ● “playbooks” for detailed steps http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/dp/0312430000/
  31. 31. Checklists ● takes stress and pressure off the moment ● even for the simple things! ● removes the guesswork
  32. 32. Training ● Observation/Monitoring tools ○ knowing which tool to reach for ● Expanding your toolset ● From vendors themselves ○ learn the gotchas ○ bring plenty of questions
  33. 33. On-call Partner ● Talk out a problem with them ● A second set of eyes ● Redundancy!
  34. 34. Talking to your Employer about your Mental Health ● Hard to approach ○ Will they understand? ● Takes time to build a comfort level ● Remember you’re not alone! ● Removes anxiety of hiding your anxiety ● Choice is up to you
  35. 35. Recap 1. Team of (N > 1) is > Team of 1 2. Controlled Burns 3. Blameless Postmortems 4. Checklists 5. Training 6. On-call Partner 7. Talk to your employer
  36. 36. When to seek help? Anxiety becomes.. ● excessive ● intrusive ● persistent ● debilitating
  37. 37. Treatments Anxiety is manageable and treatable! ● Therapy ● Medication ● Exercise ● Diet ● Breathing exercises ● Meditation
  38. 38. How can you help someone?
  39. 39. Listen
  40. 40. Ask what they need?
  41. 41. Avoid being dismissive “just relax”
  42. 42. Take them to a quiet place
  43. 43. Avoid touching or grabbing
  44. 44. When in doubt, seek emergency medical treatment
  45. 45. Wrapping up
  46. 46. Recovery not linear Anxiety recovery or JVM Heap Usage?
  47. 47. Health > Job
  48. 48. Resources Finding Help ● https://therapists.psychologytoday.com ● http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/ask-and-learn/resources Books ● “10% Happier” by Dan Harris ● “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns Crisis ● National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255. ● Crisis Text Line - Text START to 741-741
  49. 49. Questions? Twitter: @lintzston Email: jlintz@gmail.com

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