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Dealing with Anxiety
in Operations
Devopsdays NYC 2015
Justin Lintz - @lintzston - jlintz@gmail.com
Me
● Chief Anxiety Officer
Sr Web Operations Engineer @ Chartbeat
● Sys Admin since 2006
● #TallOps
Goals of this talk
● Educate you about Anxiety disorders
● Discuss anxiety/stress in our jobs
● Methods to mitigate those ...
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
● 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
● Spontaneous Combustion
● And every discovered and undiscovered
...
Panic Attack
Sudden onset of intense anxiety symptoms
without warning
● Fight or flight
● Logic goes out the window
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
Maintenance Windows
New Technology
https://www.flickr.com/photos/techbirmingham/76169852
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
● This doesn’t mean you can’t be the only
person with Operations in your title
o Shared Oncall...
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
o 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
o 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
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
Health > Job
Resources
● American Institute of Cognitive Therapy
● Albert Ellis Institute
● CBT/DBT Associates
No or Low Cost
● http://...
Questions?
Twitter: @lintzston
Email: jlintz@gmail.com
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Dealing with Anxiety in Operations - DevOpsDays NYC 2015

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I share my experiences dealing with an Anxiety disorder while working as an Operations engineer and talk about ways to help mitigate anxiety on the job. The video is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgXzjhDNuwQ

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Dealing with Anxiety in Operations - DevOpsDays NYC 2015

  1. 1. Dealing with Anxiety in Operations Devopsdays NYC 2015 Justin Lintz - @lintzston - jlintz@gmail.com
  2. 2. Me ● Chief Anxiety Officer Sr Web Operations Engineer @ Chartbeat ● Sys Admin since 2006 ● #TallOps
  3. 3. Goals of this talk ● Educate you about Anxiety disorders ● Discuss anxiety/stress in our jobs ● Methods to mitigate those anxieties ● How you can help
  4. 4. Survey Says...
  5. 5. 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.” Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml
  6. 6. My Illness ● Generalized Anxiety Disorder ● Symptoms appeared around 13 ● Wasn’t diagnosed until 17
  7. 7. 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 http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders
  8. 8. Which shares symptoms of…. ● Heart Attack ● Stroke ● Flu ● Spontaneous Combustion ● And every discovered and undiscovered illness known to humans
  9. 9. Panic Attack Sudden onset of intense anxiety symptoms without warning ● Fight or flight ● Logic goes out the window
  10. 10. 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!
  11. 11. Stressors of Operations
  12. 12. Oncall https://www.flickr.com/photos/churl/263989110
  13. 13. Maintenance Windows
  14. 14. New Technology https://www.flickr.com/photos/techbirmingham/76169852
  15. 15. A “team” of One https://www.flickr.com/photos/piratescott/481789838/
  16. 16. Power and Responsibility root@spof.justinlintz.com:~# rm -rf /
  17. 17. OMG WHAT WAS I THINKING?
  18. 18. In our operations jobs Minimizing Anxiety
  19. 19. Don’t be an Ops team of One ● This doesn’t mean you can’t be the only person with Operations in your title o Shared Oncall w/ Engineering o Empower and train engineering o Don’t be a SPOF of knowledge ● DevOps
  20. 20. Controlled Burns
  21. 21. Bring Service down
  22. 22. Did it fail as expected?
  23. 23. Did the correct monitors go off? ● Did you even have monitors in place? ● Did too many monitors go off?
  24. 24. Was availability affected?
  25. 25. 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-1 01-velocity-2011
  26. 26. 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/
  27. 27. Checklists ● takes stress and pressure off the moment ● even for the simple things! ● removes the guesswork
  28. 28. Training ● Observation/Monitoring tools o knowing which tool to reach for ● Expanding your toolset ● From vendors themselves o learn the gotchas o bring plenty of questions
  29. 29. On-call Partner ● Talk out a problem with them ● A second set of eyes ● Redundancy!
  30. 30. Talking to your Employer about your Mental Health ● Hard to approach o 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
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. When to seek help? Anxiety becomes.. ● excessive ● intrusive ● persistent ● debilitating
  33. 33. Treatments Anxiety is manageable and treatable! ● Therapy ● Medication ● Exercise ● Diet ● Breathing exercises
  34. 34. How can you help someone?
  35. 35. Listen
  36. 36. Ask what they need?
  37. 37. Avoid being dismissive “just relax”
  38. 38. Take them to a quiet place
  39. 39. Avoid touching or grabbing
  40. 40. When in doubt, seek emergency medical treatment
  41. 41. Wrapping up
  42. 42. Health > Job
  43. 43. Resources ● American Institute of Cognitive Therapy ● Albert Ellis Institute ● CBT/DBT Associates No or Low Cost ● http://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/clinical-trials ● http://postdocpsychoanalytic.as.nyu.edu/page/clinical-services ● http://www.nyp.org/services/psychiatry.html ● National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255.
  44. 44. Questions? Twitter: @lintzston Email: jlintz@gmail.com

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