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Search - "wk311"
Worked for a friend of mine in the early 2000s. Had to implement a booking system into PHP for some private customer. This was PHP 4.something, the CMS was some alpha release of an open source project that my friend was sure was the future (it wasn't), and the specs were one A4 page of pencil scribbles that he took while talking to the customer.
Deadline was insane, nothing worked. I worked from getting up to laying down to get shit done, not being able to sleep, feeling stressed all the time. One week before roll-out I actually managed to get it running and we showed it to the customer. He was like "nope, that's not what I meant" and demanded lots of changes but accepted only one or two weeks of roll-out delay.
I did finish the job, made some good money, but then quit as soon as it was done.
This experience broke me so much that I worked in a workshop for 2 years to get away from programming as far as I possibly could.2
Our boss did always the same thing. When there was a BIG potential customer who indicates a small interest in our software, then he lied constantly about features. After the customer bought our software we got a deadline and should develop the missing features. I could remember two features: The first one was a quote tool for a car transport company. The tool should estimate a price for a transportation from an email with no structure and the other one was an API which should be possible to write dynamicly to MySQL, MariaDB, Postgres, MSSQL, DB2, Mongo or better said any possible dbms. The API should guess the structure of the dbs and offer CRUD actions. The funny thing is must write the api with go. Yeah dynamic and GO.
At some time, we told him we wont make any overtime and if the deadline is not possible we told that immediatly the customers, so that they call him. Thank god I don't work anymore in this company.1
A story about burnout you say? Well, here it goes.
In 2019, I worked in a now-defunct startup. Back then, I was deep in "treatment" with wrong medications that almost ended up turning me into a vegetable. When I was hired, my mind was already deteriorating quickly, and I was caught in a downward spiral of losing intelligence.
Prior to working there, there was never ever ever a situation in my career when I was given a problem to solve and failed to do it.
But right then, with already double-digit IQ and constant, pumping anxiety, I was seeing task descriptions that looked familiar and doable, yet I absolutely could not do them. I couldn't comprehend. It was an absolutely screeching, crippling panic about me losing my intelligence forever, being fired and ending up unhireable, dying alone on the streets.
Apart from my depression I recovered from, this very experience was a trauma that haunts me to this day, every day. You know, my experience being raped as an adolescent doesn't, but this, it's something else. Now, my intelligence is back, I design architecture, I'm a CTO, and my solutions are objectively cleaner and better in every way than what I did pre-depression. Yet, I still feel a sharp, sudden rush of anxiety, and my heart skips a beat, when I think about writing code or even opening the IDE.
I don't know how does one recover from this. I'm now slowly transitioning into "architecting CTO" role that is just being a devrel, assessing ethics, working with business to realize their need, designing solutions and leaving the implementation for the team to do. You know, the stuff I was taught in the uni.
Maybe doing open source and launching small pet projects will help. But at this stage of my life I have no emotional resource to care.11
The scary thing about burnout is that you usually don't realize you are burning out before it's too late.
Personally, at least, I've worked on projects that just felt a little intense at the time, but after taking a step back due to holidays or hitting some milestone I realize I never want to have anything to do with it ever again. One project makes my stomach drop even today every time I see the code; Not because the code is bad, but how it takes me back to how miserable I was without admitting it to myself.
The biggest red flag I look for is when I'm tempted to work on stuff in my free time. When this starts seeming like a solution there's a serious problem with the project that needs to be addressed.2
had no idea what burnout was or meant until I had a fucking cerebrovascular accident.
drop shitty companies.
i was having a really hard time because there was no record of changes in code, the boys would communicate changes in private and I'd spend hours trying to figure out why i couldn't compile. when i asked my boss that they put that info somewhere, he said it was unnecessary and that it always worked that way before i came. ofc it worked, it was 2 guys coding. i couldn't work properly and everything took forever to sort, no one tried to help. i went to hr and they just told me i was right and that i had to be patient. i quit soon after1
After a rough exit from one company, I was diverted into Ops just to continue to have food on the table and keeping the lights on. This, over time, unfortunately made me more or less unemployable as a dev again. Got stuck in that place 13 years doing almost no professional coding.
During the last 5 years I took courses, got side jobs writing articles and tutorials, went to interviews and generally worked hard to get the fuck out of ops and into development again.
After getting to choose between level 1 customer support and quitting in a re-org, I quit without having a new gig. I got a lucky break through someone I'd worked with earlier to start a junior position working on some legacy systems with legacy tech.
After all that work late nights churning away using up my passion for coding, I now can't make my self pick up even Advent of code or Hacktoberfest... My passion is dead... I hope I get it back, but for now I fill my spare time with my guitar...3
One day, the Director of Web Ops (marketing role) submitted a ticket to update the list of product categories on the website’s navigation. Sounds like a simple ticket right? Just some html edits. Nope. Every day for three days, she changes her mind and adds new changes. What should have taken me 10 minutes stretched out to three days. She held up code review of my ticket because she kept making changes.
She had plenty of time to sort out what she wanted. That ticket had been sitting in the To Do pile for two days before I touched it.
She was being an asshole because she knew she could get away with it and I had no recourse: my direct manager was on vacation, the entire dev team was going to be laid off anyway so no one was going to defend us on “trivial” matters, and we were going to enter code freeze soon so she’d just argue it was critical business changes for our critical revenue season.
I suspect she was also just not good at her job. I never met her in person because she was hired during the 2020 pandemic and we were all working remotely. I did see her make a five minute presentation during an all staff meeting…and she didn’t come off too well. Her voice was trembling during her turn to speak…like she was not confident or not prepared.
She knew she was causing chaos but she put on this act of not knowing. She was definitely trained on our dev team’s practices for tickets and deployments. She knows about code review, beta testing, and user acceptance testing that has to happen before a ticket can be deployed.
It happened to be before Thanksgiving weekend 2020. Our deploy was going to happen on Tuesday instead of Thursday because Thursday was a holiday (no one would be working) and Wednesday was a half day.
Tuesday afternoon at 1pm, she messages me and the dev in charge of deploy about more changes! My time is already occupied because our Product Manager went on vacation and dumped a large amount of user acceptance testing on me. I scream at my computer at that point because I realize I’m in the ninth circle of hell. I tell the other dev in a separate message that Web Ops has been making changes EVERY DAY since I picked up that ticket.
Other dev tells her that we have to check with the C-suite executive for engineering because we’re not allowed to make changes to tickets so close to the deploy. This is actually the policy. He also tries to give Web Ops the benefit of the doubt because we’re not deploying on our usual day. He had to do that to so she didn’t feel bad (and so she doesn’t complain about us not working towards the company’s goals).
Other dev had to do the code changes because I was otherwise occupied with user acceptance testing. If I were him, I’d be pissed that I was distracted from concentrating on the deploy so close to the holiday.
Director of Web Ops was actually capable of even more chaos. I ranted about it before. For that dramatization and if you want to go down the rabbit hole, see: https://devrant.com/rants/4811518/...4
it seems that every time i work on a programming project, that happens within 6 months. i'm currently in another burnout phase, it's been gping on for year and a half, basically.2
Was working on a high priority security feature. We had an unreasonable timeline to get all of the work done. If we didn’t get the changes onto production before our deadline we faced the possibility of our entire suit being taken offline. Other parts of the company had already been shut down until the remediations could be made -so we knew the company execs weren’t bluffing.
I was the sole developer on the project. I designed it, implemented it, and organized the efforts to get it through the rest of the dev cycle. After about 3 month of work it was all up and bug free (after a few bugs had been found and squashed). I was exhausted, and ended up taking about a week and a half off to recharge.
The project consisted of restructuring our customized frontend control binding (asp.net -custom content controls), integrations with several services to replace portions of our data consumption and storage logic, and an enormous lift and shift that touched over 6k files.
When you touch this much code in such a short period of time it’s difficult to code review, to not introduce bugs, and _to not stop thinking about what potential problems your changes may be causing in the background_.3
now... Im just tired and bored of what i do. i had a very hectic year rewriting a core functionality in my company, it was full of optimizations, logic improvements and learning new things.
I took 10 days off hoping id come hating my job less. I learned kotlin and worked on a personal server side project with it during the vacation and honestly i loved it. I missed learning new languages and concepts.
so i thought, well if i enjoyed coding during the vacation then my burnout is cured right ? well once i went back to work today I felt like shit and couldn't do a thing. disgusted of the idea coding for my employer. Too tired to continue my personal project after 8 hours of my job
I guess im back to square one2