After months and months of slaving away, I quit my start-up job and feel completely amazing- here's what happened:

Met a classmate in grad school and he talked about starting his own company and he had full funding and etc. After graduation, moved to the new city where the job was located.

There were all these promises of us being co-workers and working on cool things and many other promises made. Soon after starting the job, most of these promises we're just smoke and mirrors.

Started working day in day out. Worked from 8am-9pm most days and worked on weekends too. Treated me like a I was a dog, talked down to me, gave unrealistic deadlines, pressured me with attitude and threats of losing my job. Hell, they thought they were the smartest person to touch the earth basically- example being that they mixed jQuery with VueJS in our Django template.....who the F*** does that. Another thing being that they had issues with me soft deleting records since they wanted them completely hard deleted and we had gotten into a giant argument about that fml.

What led to me leaving the job was that I had gotten sick one of the weeks, and I still showed up to work. Each day I was gradually getting sicker and sicker. Still tried my best to get work done. Saturday morning I get the most passive aggressive and bitchy text from my co-worker. "if you don't complete blah blah blah by Monday, we are going to have issues. Then on Monday you will work on blah blah blah". They blew the fuse with me. They would always punish me for being sick or taking a vacation. I'm not a dog, not a machine, I'm a f****** person. Went into his office when the work week started and gave my resignation on the spot and felt like it was the best decision I've ever made.

Now I just feel like a giant toxic cloud has disappeared from my life. I did walk away with so much experience and knowledge but now I just feel extremely burnt out from programming. Is this what I even wanna do anymore?

Few lessons I learned along the way:
1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
2. Free lunches aren't worth it
3. Unlimited PTO doesn't really mean unlimited- there's always stipulations
4. Start-up life isnt as cool as they say- don't take TV portrayals as the real thing
5. Your mental health is extremely important
6. It's okay to admit to yourself that you're burnt out
7. Take a break

This is just my experience and what I learned, so telling my story. Phew, feels so good to get that off my chest

  • 3
    ABSOLUTELY! I learned the same things through a similar experience with a company that had pivoted and was in startup mode. Leaving was the best decision I made, especially for my mental health. I checked former coworkers’ LinkedIn pages about 9 months later, and everyone else had fled, too.
  • 3
    Exactly my experience after a pretty long career in development.
    Don’t join typical startups if you have family, want to stay sane or basically have a life, just don’t.

    If you want to do something to earn your own money and get independent join a stable company and do your things after work, don’t hope to get rich by joining a startup early, the cake is a lie🙄
  • 1
    @ExGetMessage preach on the cake being a lie haha. I got a new job lined up down the road which isn't as programming heavy, so it should be a good medium from this recent experience. Gotta figure out what I even wanna do now, or if I even like the developer lifestyle
  • 1
    I was in hospital ones with a blood pressure that could have killed me. Since then I changed my behaviour. If you are really sick take your time to rest. And overall take some distance some time. One week off and 2 weeks full productive is worth more than 3 weeks half working zombie IMHO.
  • 2
    @CoffeeNcode this co-worker viewed himself as the smartest thing on Earth, and would constantly talk down to me. After he reported there was an issue with a Django template after putting jQuery inside it with my existing VueJS......that was the first big red flag lol
  • 2
    That's a good read, the best wishes to you in your new endeavors.

    Not every boss is awful, I have a relatively chill boss right now (not telling you what to do or rushing you to get back though, just saying nice bosses are a bit rare but exist)
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