Burnout in DFIR (And Beyond)

by Christa Miller

Quite a lot has been written over recent weeks about burnout. Not only DFIR-specific posts, first from Richard Bejtlich and then, in follow-up from Eric Huber and Brett Shavers; but also news articles including:

Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? (The New York Times)
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation (BuzzFeed)
10 Ways To Buck ‘The Cult of Busy’ Habit For A Better Work Life Balance (Forbes)

Clearly, as The Guardian relates, the problem is endemic across industries, professions, and organizations. Yet burnout in the digital forensics world is unique. In addition to more typical work and life pressures, digital forensic examiners are faced with traumatic images and audio, long hours, and justice that often seems to be unevenly applied. Few other people understand the job or its stressors, and for those working counterterror investigations, operational security limits the possibility of “talk therapy” even further.

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