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Search - "burnout is real"
Fresh out of dropping out of uni with a real heaping of newly diagnosed depression.
Get job in the industry.
Absolute joke of a company, spiral even further.
Thus begins the saga of boom / bust and the universe / myself fucking me over just as things get good that has been the last 8 years of my life.
Maybe one day I’ll write properly about my experience of mental health, in industry, in welfare and in my family too.
Suffice it to say, anything that leads you to take a whole year out, as well as makes you question whether what you thought was your dream job is actually right for you - is, ultimately, the definition of burnout.
tl;dr - the last 8 years have been a fucking burnout episode.1
When searching for internship via school I found this small startup with this cute project of building a teaching tool for programming. There were back then 2 programmers: the founder and the co-founder.
Then like 1 week before the internship started, the co-founder had a burnout and had to get off the project, while the company was so low on budget the founder, aka my new b0ss, had to work separate jobs to keep the company alive. (quite metal tbh)
It's funny because I'm a junior developer, 100%. I've been coding as a hobby for around 8 years now but I've never worked in a big company before. (No exception to this workplace either)
First project I get: rewrite the compiler. The Python compiler.
"But wait, why not just embed a real compiler from the first case?"
-nanananana it's never simple, as you probably know from your own projects.
The new compiler, as compared to existing embedded compiler solutions out there, needed these prime features:
- Walk through the code (debugger style), but programmatically.
- Show custom exceptions (ex: "A colon is needed at the end of an if-statement" instead of "Syntax error line 3")
- Have a "Did-you-mean this variable?" error for usage of unassigned variables.
- Be able to be embedded in Unity's WebGL build target
All for the use case of being a friendly compiler.
The last dash in the list is actually the biggest bottleneck which excluded all existing open-source projects (i could find). Compliant with WebAssembly I can't use threads among other things, IL2CPP has lots of restrictions, Unity has some as well...
Oh and it should of course be built using test-driven development.
"Good luck!" - said the founder, first day of work as she then traveled to USA for **3 weeks**, leaving me solo with the to-be-made codebase and humongous list of requirements.
I just finished the 6th week of internship, boss has been at "HQ" for 3 weeks now, and I just hit the biggest milestone yet for this project.
Yes I've been succeeding! This project has gone so well, and I'm surprising myself how much code I've been pumping out during these weeks.
I'm up now at almost 40'000 lines of source and 30'000 lines of code. ‼
( Biggest project I've ever worked on previously was at 8'000 lines of code )
The milestone (that I finished today) was for loops! As been trying to showcase in the GIF.
It's such a giant project and I can honestly say I've done some good work here. Self-five. Over-performing is a thing.
The things that makes me shiver though is that most that use this application will never know the intricates of it's insides, and the brain work put into it.
The project is probably over-engineered. A lot. Having a home-made compiler gives us a lot of flexibility for our product as we're trying to make more of a "pedagogic IDE". But no matter that I reinvented the wheel for the 105Gth time, it's still the most fun I've had with a project to date.
Also btw if anyone wants to see source code, please give me good reasons as I'm actively trying to convince my boss to make the compiler open-source.
> Worst work culture you've experienced?
It's a tie between my first to employers.
First: A career's dead end.
Bosses hardly ever said the truth, suger-coated everything and told you just about anything to get what they wanted. E.g. a coworker of mine was sent on a business trip to another company. They had told him this is his big chance! He'd attend a project kick-off meeting, maybe become its lead permanently. When he got there, the other company was like "So you're the temporary first-level supporter? Great! Here's your headset".
And well, devs were worth nothing anyway. For every dev there were 2-3 "consultants" that wrote detailed specifications, including SQL statements and pseudocode. The dev's job was just to translate that to working code. Except for the two highest senior devs, who had perfect job security. They had cooked up a custom Ant-based build system, had forked several high-profile Java projects (e.g. Hibernate) and their code was purposely cryptic and convoluted.
You had no chance to make changes to their projects without involuntarily breaking half of it. And then you'd have to beg for a bit of their time. And doing something they didn't like? Forget it. After I suggested to introduce automated testing I was treated like a heretic. Well of course, that would have threatened their job security. Even managers had no power against them. If these two would quit half a dozen projects would simply be dead.
And finally, the pecking order. Juniors, like me back then, didn't get taught shit. We were just there for the work the seniors didn't want to do. When one of the senior devs had implemented a patch on the master branch, it was the junior's job to apply it to the other branches.
Second: A massive sweatshop, almost like a real-life caricature.
It was a big corporation. Managers acted like kings, always taking the best for themselves while leaving crumbs for the plebs (=devs, operators, etc). They had the spacious single offices, we had the open plan (so awesome for communication and teamwork! synergy effects!). When they got bored, they left meetings just like that. We... well don't even think about being late.
And of course most managers followed the "kiss up, kick down" principle. Boy, was I getting kicked because I dared to question a decision of my boss. He made my life so hard I got sick for a month, being close to burnout. The best part? I gave notice a month later, and _he_still_was_surprised_!
Plebs weren't allowed anything below perfection, bosses on the other hand... so, I got yelled at by some manager. Twice. For essentially nothing, things just bruised his fragile ego. My bosses response? "Oh he's just human". No, the plebs was expected to obey the powers that be. Something you didn't like? That just means your attitude needs adjustment. Like with the open plan offices: I criticized the noise and distraction. Well that's just my _opinion_, right? Anyone else is happily enjoying it! Why can't I just be like the others? And most people really had given up, working like on a production line.
The company itself, while big, was a big ball of small, isolated groups, sticking together by office politics. In your software you'd need to call a service made by a different team, sooner or later. Not documented, noone was ever willing to help. To actually get help, you needed to get your boss to talk to their boss. Then you'd have a chance at all.
Oh, and the red tape. Say you needed a simple cable. You know, like those for $2 on Amazon. You'd open a support ticket and a week later everyone involved had signed it off. Probably. Like your boss, the support's boss, the internal IT services' boss, and maybe some other poor sap who felt important. Or maybe not, because the justification for needing that cable wasn't specific enough. I mean, just imagine the potential damage if our employees owned a cable they shouldn't!
You know, after these two employers I actually needed therapy. Looking back now, hooooly shit... that's why I can't repeat often enough that we devs put up with way too much bullshit.3
- survived 2020 and all its woes.
RIP those that didn't.
- delivered a major project this year that felt like it never wanted to end.
Scope creep.... nope, scope realignment kills the soul.
- hired a competent dev!!! 🥳 Not being a SoloDev is a weird feeling!
- pay rise during a pandemic, that was a nice touch.
- dealt with several useless contractors and ended up redoing most of the work myself.
- don't lie to me when you say you *can* do something, only to throw yourself into a complex rabbit hole you can't dig yourself out of.
- major project took 500% longer then originally scoped - it was only meant to be a tight 6 weeks, not an excruciating never ending list of changes and rebuilds 🤯
good thing I get paid regardless - but I don't think the burnout was worth the while.
- let's see what the world has on offer to try and burn me out of existence this time!
Hi fellow ranters, I humbly request your opinion on a matter.
I am a CS student in his last year of college, and currently developing a Node.js app as his final year project with a partner. The project has potential, and we've been at it for about three weeks, but the problem is that the more I code, the less I see myself doing Node in the future.
I was a total noob in CSS before starting the project, and I have learnt a ton in just 3 short weeks, but that has taken a toll on me, because I fell pretty far behind our schedule. However, for as much time and effort ad I have put in, my partner has put in a lot more (and he knows way more than me), thus increasing the gap.
My partner and I have (for the moment) different views on the amount of effort that we want to put in the project, since I see it as "slightly more than just another subject" (9-hr a week), and he sees it as a real passion project (endless hours). This could be due to the burnout of the first weeks, but I'm really not that excited about the project anymore, and I find myself thinking that I am wasting both of our time (I don't want to be dead weight), and that if I worked on a project that really made me passionate, such a compiler or a runtime environment, or a new programming language, I wouldn't mind putting in the hours that he does. Just to give more context, this whole project was his idea, and although I find it a great idea, and I know he is capable of building an amazing product, I am not sure whether I would be useful, or even if I want to be useful. Again, this could all be because of burnout.
Anyone has had such an experience?
TL;DR: I am working on a final project with a partner (it was his idea, and I found it interesting), but I think I would be happier switching to a project of my own.7