Feeling over stressed, over worked and highly underpaid for all this effort. Worst of all I feel the passion leaving me for this work.

I graduated a boot camp last April and was blessed to contract part time at a startup learning how to work in the unity game engine. The team is two other guys, both super smart snd been working in this field for a long time. Since then I’ve added personal projects, finished a data structures and algorithms course and started the Leet code grind. I told this startup that I’d start looking for full time employee positions soon and they understand. They couldn’t offer me much money, or stock options, just experience they said. I feel like I’ve basically been grinding 24/7 since May. I’m going to run out of money soon and it’s all starting to take a toll on my body and mind. I never really sit on the couch or watch something anymore because I feel I should be doing something productive. This just makes me feel like everything I’m doing is meaningless and without impact. I feel like a wheel turning endlessly in sand and not moving forward. I even feel it zapping my passion for developing.

I just can’t help but feel that I’m burning out here. I have a new experimental feature to do for the startup and the amount of things to learn seems overwhelming. Especially with Leet code and interviews coming up. The two other devs on the team are extremely busy as this is a part time endeavor for everyone. I’m also in a relationship I started to feel detached from which causes it’s own stress. I love VR and AR which is why I chose this startup to learn Unity. Now I just feel like I’m dividing my efforts too much. I’m shitty at unity and also less good at web dev than I would have been if I focused on it purely after boot camp grad. On the plus side I will say I’m doing what I want. I just can’t help but feel like that damn tire in the sand turning without traction. And I feel the patience in me for self learning the basics and iteration over a complex project is waning. Without patience the learning is rushed and I don’t learn shit. I also make dumb mistake and “hope” I don’t run into errors. I feel I’m just trying to bang it out for the startup instead of use it learn cool shit. Anyways it feels good to rant. I can’t wait for a full time job, established work hours, and decent pay so I can live life and have off time.

I assume wherever I go I’ll always be in a spot where I need to figure how to get xyz done with minimal help or oversight. I just would like to be paid for it.

  • 1
    Clearly you’re overwhelmed as you’ve got too many plates spinning at the same time. I’ve been in a similar situation twice in my life. The first time it lasted two years. The second time I didn’t let it last for more than 4 months.
    I’d try to sit down with your bosses and figure out what projects you can stop working on and which ones need to be finished. Obviously, you shouldn’t be taking on anything new in that company. It’ll be a long process to get out of that situation but you’ll get there. Most importantly don’t let this diminish your self confidence. Otherwise you’ll end up "selling yourself" for less than your worth when you start looking for a job elsewhere.
  • 2
    I’m going to say something you might find a bit controversial here..

    I’ve been in this biz for 26 years, never went to uni so I don’t have a CS degree. I’ve never been laid off, but I have been ring fenced many times when redundancies came around.
    I’ve never studied with anything like Leet code or grinder algorithms.

    I’m not saying that to look good, I’m saying it to point out that leet code and algorithms are not the be-all and end-all. Many times what separated me from other devs is understanding architecture.

    I’m super impressed with a guy I work with who is grinding Leet code but there are other ways to get experience and you can make a great living by reading some software architecture books and stuff around agile project management.

    Also doing nothing is productive if you don’t do too much of it. It gives you time to relax and recover. It lets you absorb some of the things you have learnt. It makes you feel better and that’s the most important thing.
  • 1
    So it depends on where you see yourself going as to whether or not you need to be grinding those algorithms.
    Maybe if you’re trying to get into the games industry then you do.

    But at least give yourself a break regularly or you’re going to burn out. Get out there and take a break from your keyboard.
    It’ll all come good in the end
  • 2
    I'm sorry it's so bad right now. It will get better. You've got your first job and some experience. Once your foot is in the door and you have something to put on your resume, getting more jobs gets easier.

    It's nice that your employer has been honest about what they can and can't offer, and that they understand your position. It sounds human.

    My advice: Appreciate it, but realize that you don't owe it to them to stay. It sounds like they realize that too. You have to take care of yourself and you have to get paid. Loyalty is between people and people, not people and companies. Tell the people how grateful you are, but leave the company when you have to. They'll understand. (Leave even if they don't.)
  • 0
    @black-kite, yep it is too much. I think I will continue with them for now. They give me a lot of cred to get interviews with the bigger companies. Plus they know I’m working this partime so there isn’t really hard deadlines. They just want to see progress. If I can control the burnout and take breaks it can be good.

    Also how do you know your worth? I’m just starting out. Would this be some sort of Glassdoor search for salary of a software engineer I in gaming or web where I live?

    I took an hour break around 4:20 - 5:20 pm. I didn’t do anything electronic. Just laid down outside in the sun and napped. I was amazed at how productive and clear thinking I was after that. So good tip on stopping for a bit which yields better output in the end.
  • 0
    @TrevorTheRat unfortunately these Leet code problems are very much required here. The upside is they help me get better at writing obscure work for a computer to do. Less API and more build your API. Downside is I see what you mean where it takes your focus off of building stuff i.e learning the architecture piece.

    Perhaps being an engineer of software requires knowledge on architecture, (the API’s and how all services fit together to deliver an app product), and the CS fundamentals to create your own API’s from scratch.
  • 0
    @badwiring true. I am grateful and they are pretty cool people to work with. They’ve always been transparent. Interesting point about loyalty between people and not between people and companies. I’ll
    keep that in mind.
  • 1
    Wow. As a follow up to this rock bottom. 361 days later, I’m sitting in a new model 3 Tesla. Been in my first real job for 10 months now. Can enjoy my time off. And get paid well for my time on. Life is pretty good.
Add Comment