In my mid-teens, I was addicted to video games. As a rough guess I’d say that I played for six hours a day, on average.
One day, I decided that I did not want my life to consist mainly of video games. I was good at them—at one point I was one of the top Call of Duty players in Europe—but I wanted something else from life.
So I applied to finish high school abroad and I ended up spending my last two years of high school in Hong Kong at a United World College.
Then I moved to America. I arrived at Swarthmore College having never set foot in the U.S. before. I thought: “I had better like this if I’m going be here for four years”. Fortunately, I loved it! I studied economics, political science, and public policy.
After I graduated, I went to work for Cornerstone Research, one of the world’s top litigation consulting firms. I learned a ton, I had great coworkers, I worked on interesting projects, and the job paid well—but I worked too much. Eventually, I left the company citing “mental and physical health problems”.
I was suffering from burnout. Except I didn’t know it yet.
It was so bad that in early 2016, I couldn’t clean the house for half an hour without going nuts.
For one and a half years, I tried to “fix” myself. But because I did not know what was going on, that didn’t work.
Fortunately, someone eventually presented me with a list of burnout symptoms. She went down the list, asking me whether I suffered from each particular symptom—and I answered “yes” for almost each symptom.
So I spent the next six months working with a psychologist. I don’t think I’ve ever learned that much so quickly.
My psychologist was amazing. She taught me that the root of my problem was that I was constantly worrying about “not being good enough”—and once I understood that, I saw how it made everything more difficult for me.
Today, I feel better than ever. Do I still get stressed sometimes? Sure. Who doesn’t? But I learned how to pace myself and that’s so valuable.
Now, I have made it my mission to help others do work they like in a sustainable way. I write about this topic every day right here on peterakkies.net.
I also offer coaching; if you’re not happy with your job, but you’re stuck, then perhaps my coaching is a good fit for you.
Aside from that, Some of my other interests include climbing (specifically bouldering), scuba diving, the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, and yoga.
So that’s me. Now, who are you?
In 2007, I visited North Korea, including the demilitarized zone. I took a picture of the giant wall that bisects the Korean peninsula. The U.S. government denies that this wall exists.