Always tired, no motivation at work

Hi, I’m in my first year being a software engineer. The first month on my work I’m very excited on learning new things and is enthusiastic on everything even though there are loads of work. But then I came to the point I can no longer concentrate on what I’m doing, I feel so depressed and tired going to work. I hate my boss because he’s being unfair to us. Our company is a startup. I understand that we have to make sacrifices because we lack of resources (financially and manpower). We only have 2 programmers(including me) and we have so many clients. I do the website, ppt presentation, demonstration to client, scoping, database designing, coding, testing and deploying. I also do support and documentation. I even accept calls from clients. We modify the software based on clients requirements, for example an ERP system and should deploy it in 2 months. Is it only me that feels like it is not possible given all the work I had to do? It’s not easy to divert from one thing to another especially if they’re not somewhat related. Our boss would like us to divide our time on different projects, (50% - ERP in php, 20% - another system in java, 5%- documentation, etc.). Do you think it is possible?

Another thing I hate, whenever we go outside to eat and while waiting for our food to be served, our boss only talked about the work. During our lunchtime, he’ll come to our table and ask about work.

My salary range is 427 - 430 us dollar (converted from peso) per month. It is low compared to other company/software engineers. Everytime I think all of this, I just wanted to resign. But I feel guilty. Some of my colleagues are good and close to me, the work is just 1 hr from our home. What should I do? All I do is talk to the other programmer and share my disappointments. He feels the same way too.

I’ve been in that position before. Very hard to focus on all your responsibilities and be productive while the phone rings constantly. Even if the company is low on man power, tech support is a job in itself.

If it’s not possible to hire someone, then insist on giving tech support by email only.

If I were you I would keep track of everything i’m doing for a week.

How much time is spent on the website ? Database ? Coding? Testing? Documentation? Etc

Then I would show these numbers to your boss and ask him what I should prioritize and what should be delegated. It’s possible your boss doesn’t see the big picture.

Again typical of startups. Our co-founders are constantly talking about engineering. It’s not surprising, they are very passionate about it.

Make a list of your priorities.

Is salary important for you or are you willing to be paid less to work on something you are passionate about ?

Is it ok for you to work 50-60+ hours a week with unpaid overtime or is it important to have a more balanced work/family life ?

Figure out what your priorities are and if they don’t fit with the work culture of your startup, then perhaps it’s time to look somewhere else.

Good luck

It looks like you know what is making you unhappy at your current workplace. If you don’t see a way for these things to change, then you will probably be better off looking some place else for work.

Don’t feel guilty about looking for other jobs. You owe yourself more than you owe your employer.

I’ve been there, done that. It’s been tough convince the business people that you can’t just hop from one project to another and back again. I found two essays that explained things better than I could:

Makers vs. Managers

Holding a Program in One’s Head

I sent the first to the owner/president of our company so he could understand how all his meetings were affecting my productivity. I sent the second to the rest of the business folks that would just drop in to my office to chat about some unrelated thing.

Over time it got better.

The best thing you can do now is advocate for your time and be intense about it. If they want the stuff done then they have to understand the process that goes in to it; and that’s it more than just pulling widgets off a shelf or filling in a spreadsheet.

Get those client calls off your responsibility list. Your job is to build the product not do tech support. That’s the job of the product manager…even in a small shop. The product manager should be the single point of contact for the client. If the client has issues with this or that then they tell them to the project manager and then the PM talks to you. If it gets complicated, then you can talk directly to the client as needed, but never as front-line tech support.

Good luck!