How I went from loving my job to wishing i dont wake up tomorrow just to avoid it.

Ive been a backend dev in the company im at for 2 years now.

First year was a blast, i loved my work so much, I used to get so many random features to do, bug fixes, campaigns, analytics, etc..

Second year i started getting familiar with the part of the code that has to do with Search in our music streaming app. Nobody wanted to work on it, so i wanted to take initiative and start doing a few tasks.

A few tasks turned into sprints, and sprints turned into months worth of sprints. And because the code was the definition of tech debt, and because it was so messed up that changing one thing can blow up everything else, working on Search was not too fun.

However, people seemed to be happy search tasks are no longer piling up and someone is handling them so that used to make me feel good about it. They also gave me so much freedom and i felt like my own manager because no one told me what to do (not even my actual manager) they just let me be and were happy i was handling the part they want nothing to do with. I was also given an intern to mentor and have her work on Search tasks with me which turned out amazing.

During the last few months, I completely rewrote search, made it 10 times more performant in such a neat way, made an inhouse dashboard to automate certain tasks so we wont need to waste developers on them (all of which were extra effort on my own time without being asked), all meanwhile still tending to the fixes of the old implementation.

I felt so accomplished, and in a way, i felt like a lead (even tho im not managing any employees, i had so much freedom and I was literally responsible for everything about Search and if i decide to play with the sprint task order i can even do that).

Then 6 or so weeks ago my manager left the company, and while i thought id be a standalone team / person (single person teams are not uncommon in the company) i was instead put under someone else. Someone who likes to micro manage the fuck out of me. I have been happy working on shit code because it was my baby, my project, no one interferes and no one tells me what to do and everyone would call me the search lead (unofficially). now if i dont report to that guy every two hours he calls to see if im working. preplans sprints i no longer have a say in, and im the only dev who knows the code so all tasks go to me. I feel i got demoted so fucking much. I felt like a lead on a project and now im back to being a normal code minion. From deciding everything about a project to blindly following a some irrelevant manager's opinion. (who btw is making Search worse) And after all the extra effort i put in, after actually caring, after actually embracing Search as my responsibility i get rewarded with losing everything i liked about my job...My Independence. From feeling like a lead to feeling demoted. I am so demotivated.

I love the company, but this is hell for me and this made me hate a job i always loved. I am thinking of talking to the CTO asking to work on other stuff because i no longer want this. If i am to be a code minion at least let it be on code i like, let me go back to dealing with PMs, fuck my new manager I dont wanna work with that guy he can take the project along with all its poopoo.

  • 33
    Thanks for sharing your story. That really sucks. Hope your able to work on stuff you like and not be micro-managed soon.
  • 23
    Can't you request your CTO to put you in your one-man team?

    Otherwise, being made to work under life sucking people definitely sucks
  • 30
    In that situation, your best recourse is definitely to jump teams. Internally, or externally. Don't let a bad manager burn you out :)
  • 5
    @asgs there is a lot of drama with that course of action, as the CTO wont give me Search officially in my one man team after having given it to my current manager not so long ago.

    Professionally this should not be an issue. but in reality, in the company im in some people would assume doing so is offensive to my current manager. and i would like to avoid igniting petty personal drama with anyone at work
  • 15
    @sleek if I were you, I'd think "screw my manager", " screw drama shit" and try to get what I like

    But, you have the right and freedom to do what you think is right
  • 8
    Request an internal move. If that doesn't work out or is frought with drama, just look for jobs elsewhere.

    It sucks of course, but when you can move on easily and the company has shown you no loyalty, it becomes hard to justify spending time and energy trying to fix things there.
  • 6
    Explain the situation to your CTO and make it clear that you cannot continue this way.
  • 2
    Time for a job switch 😉
  • 3
    Talk with your manager about what your needs are and what is your preferred style of management. Tell him how this micro managing feels for you, dont just internalize everything and become a resentful sponge. Make sure mention how it impacts your productivity and if he is at least half good as a manager he will at least try to give you freedom for a week or so to see what happens.

    If that doesnt work then talk with CTO about switching teams. Stop thinking about what others feel or what will happen.

    Also stop putting your own personal time and effort into work outside of working hours - nobody cares that you sacrifice your own personal time so dont feel entitled to get special treatment. Its kinda like nice guys around girls, they act nice all the time and later feel entitled to get laid lol.
  • 2
    @sleek not your drama, though.
    also if you give him a choice "either remove the single person from the project nobody wanted to work on for years until that person took it over, or remove the manager which you put on that project for no reason in the first place"...

    ... i think any CTO who's not an idiot should realize their mistake in not talking to the old manager and then you, and should try to fix it and eat the drama themselves since they caused it in the first place.
  • 0
    @zemaitis this!

    Feedback is your friend. First with the manager. If that works: good job! If that changes anything: likely good job. If that changes for the worse: escalate to the CTO.
  • 0
    @eeee Yeah. Life is too short to allow others to make you miserable everyday.
  • 0
    Thanks for sharing and good job on enhancing the search performance, remember this is an achievement that nobody can take from you :)

    Let's talk about the elephant in the room here,
    You are feeling sad, and probably you are thinking about quitting, and as you don't have anything to lose at this point and you can't do anything that can make the situation worse, then reach out to people in the company, and explain why you are frustrated, at the end of the day your company wants to keep you happy and this will reflect on the product. In case nothing changed, then I would start looking for another job where can appreciate your talent.
    REACH OUT to people first.
  • 1
    Get allies, talk to all the people whose live you've made easier. Ask them if they could vouch for you if it comes to a meeting with your CTO.

    Coworker: "We were really happy with @sleek he saved us a lot of time an effort and the result is amazing. Not letting him keep doing this would be from our department perspective a mistake."
  • 1
    I generally agree with the advice given to talk to your new manager and escalate as needed from there. However, you understand the culture and office politics better than we do, so I think it's equally valid to say "fuck this" and look for other work to do if you feel trapped. If it's an internal move, maybe they'll try and work with you to remove the problem. If it's external, the same might happen along with some extra compensation. Otherwise, the world is your oyster.

    In either case, internal or external, there won't be much doubt that you're serious about the issues.
  • 1
    Seems like that code is ready for some breaking changes and a sit down strike.
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