Another Project, Another Deadline, Another Meeting

I work from home for a small company full time. I just finished a 5 month project with another team member. It was a great project because I was with it from start to finish. I understood all the inner workings of the code and requirements.

I’ve been assigned to a newer project that is halfway complete and needs another hand. This new project is like a wadded ball of christmas lights. The type of work is mundane, a mess, not much problem solving, refactoring, and connecting dots. I am trying to overcome this feeling that work is never ending and boring. Every morning I know what I have to face for that day an it makes me tired just thinking about it. I know it needs to be done, otherwise it will never go away. It feels mentally exhausting to execute the simplest tasks. I find myself getting frustrated inside with my superiors when they ask for a status update. I feel that no matter what I put myself through, there is always going to be another project, another problem to solve, another meeting, another deadline. I dream of stepping away from a keyboard for an entire month and not touching a single line of code. Unfortunately with my circumstances, and the companies that this isn’t a solution. Within the last two days I decided to exercise after work in hopes that it will change my attitude towards this project. Still trudging.

Any tips in getting out of this mud? I just want to get through this project without the way I’m feeling right now.
EDIT: I forgot to add that I see a counselor weekly.

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Exercising after work is a good step, specially if is a type of exercise you like to do (i.e. running, biking, etc).

I would also add reading, look for motivational reading, specially about entrepreneurial success stories if down the road you are planning to have your own company.

Unfortunately, in the programming world sometimes you’ll have these kind of feelings depending on the kind of project you do. Sometimes we get to work with exciting new technology, everything goes smooth and the project becomes a success.

Some other cases, we get involved in a half baked project or troubled project, we know there are problems to resolve, a lot of bumps on the road, etc.

How close are you to finish it? are you making progress? is there something specific about the project you get tired with?

As long as you are making progress you should be OK, I would be worry if after finishing the project you no longer enjoy programming.

Hang in there, finish the current project and then check how you feel.


How things are going with your counselor, is it helping?

Keep us posted !!


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I would just quit. Like seriously what other advice is there? Nothing anyone says is going to make the work more enjoyable or tolerable for you, not anymore than I can write the words that would make poop smell like roses. You will hate what you’re doing irrespective of what I or anyone says and probably irrespective of anything you do outside of work. If it sucks then it sucks; there’s no talking your way out of that and you have to wonder if you would want to be. Literally the only way to not have to deal with it is to not deal with it. So don’t. And that’s from the heart.

You would be great working at a suicide prevention hotline.

Well sheesh. I thought that leaving a job with which one is unhappy was a reasonable thing to do.

Suicide on the other hand prevents you from doing anything past that point. At least that’s our current understanding of consciousness. You can switch jobs, you can’t switch lives or realities. At least not with certainty.

Unless you feel like the conditions at your job are going to change within a time frame that you feel is acceptable, you can either continue to be miserable or find a new gig.

I was miserable at my last job. When Sunday evening came around and I realized that my free time was about to come to an end, my heart would sink. So eventually I just left. I can’t do good work if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing. Sorry, world. You’re not enjoying what you’re doing and I’m willing to bet that your work reflects this. Arguably, there’s a point where it’s in everyone’s interest that you leave the project for someone less discerning to work on.

I don’t like washing dishes. That doesn’t mean that I will stop washing dishes. Do you understand depression is an illness? Where tasks that were once manageable or even enjoyable are not even being executed. The ability to focus is gone. I won’t let a spell of depression be the maker of irrational decisions of quitting a job, lose health insurance, and go from having a paycheck to no paycheck. Saw from your post that you quit your job and are still looking. I will not consider your advice. You’re not hijacking my post with your story are you?

The question is: if you could do so, would you?

I don’t like shoveling snow, so I hire a plowing service. I am perfectly able-bodied and have the time, I just don’t care to do it. Moreover, shoveling snow or washing dishes are relatively trivial tasks. You work from home so I can’t say that you spend more time at your job than you do at home, but, do the math: assuming you sleep 8 hours every day and work 8 hours a day, boom, there goes 35% of your time not spent sleeping is spent on work. Dishes comparatively take up how much time out of your day?

To be honest, I really don’t get why this is a controversial point of view. If you can eliminate some shit you don’t like from your life, why not?

Why wouldn’t I, when I’ve suffered from it for at least 15 years?

But from the description of the project that you loathe, you have valid reasons to loathe it. Are you suggesting that you would enjoy what you were doing if you were not depressed? Because it sounded like you just hate it because it legitimately sucks. But if you’re arguing that you would be OK with your job if your depression were out of the equation, then disregard what I say.

I don’t see how it has to be that dire necessarily, if at all. You can make the transition from one job to another a smooth one if you’d like; line up the next gig before you leave the at which you presently are. Again, I don’t see how leaving a job you dislike is irrational if you have a reason to dislike it and don’t merely dislike it because you don’t feel good in general. You said the code base was whack. Again, can you imagine the not-depressed you feeling motivated to work on said project?

What’s “irrational”? We humans rarely make decisions based solely on cold, hard logic. Our decision-making process is always biased, relative our current mood. We can make bad decisions based on unchecked optimism and faith just as much as pessimism and despair. And even a cold, calculating decision can lead to an outcome that is inferior to an emotional decision’s outcome.

Can you think of things you’d rather be doing, code-wise or otherwise? Can you think of a hypothetical project that would appeal to you? If you can, I would argue that your resentment toward your job is stoking your depression, rather than the other way around.

I don’t remember saying that I was still looking. I haven’t been. I glanced at some jobs a while back to see if there was anything that I might want to do. I haven’t applied for anything. I don’t even consider myself interested in software development anymore as a hobby or a career. I’m looking for a completely different way to make a living.

In fact I believe someone replied to me that I only disliked my job because I was depressed, that my job “wasn’t the real problem”, but I think they are dead wrong. I have passions, and I would at least attempt to turn them into careers if I knew how to make them profitable. I just don’t like coding anymore, and am depressed because it’s all I know how to do to make money and am more or less “trapped” in it. You sound similarly trapped – maybe not in the career in its entirety but definitely the specifics of that career at this present time, but who am I to say?

Well, then. It’s settled. I would be great on a suicide prevention hotline.

This is an interesting discussion and I guess I’ve been on both sides of the coin. A few years back I quit my job and learned a ton from that. Now I’m working on spaghetti code like you but I’m also learning a ton and trying to improve my skills and leave the code in better shape than before I touched it. I guess the important thing to consider is whether you are learning and working towards something better. If you are, focus on learning and improving and becoming a more hirable candidate. If not, consider what options you have to make a change.

I don’t think it’s our place to tell you when or if you should quit but you shouldn’t rule it out. You might find that it really is the best option and something your circumstances permit. Still it’s good you’re thinking reasonably. I learned a lot from quitting but I can now see that I could have stayed and planned my next career transition more thoughtfully. If I had, I might be in my in my desired role right now and I definitely wouldn’t have the mound of debt that I do.

You know your circumstances. Carefully consider your options in an honest and balanced way. Make sure the decision you make is one you can live with.

Just joined - based on the responses, I will not hold back and have to say this community sucks already. Excluding garaceg.

I feel like I am posting replies to those who have a skewed idea of performance and work without the acknowledgement of depression. I want to set this topic straight in the right direction as I feel the replies after garaceg are ridiculous.

You’re forgetting the depression factor and the reason of why this website exists. It’s no place to gripe about your job and tell others to quit like yourself. This is place for developers to talk to others about depression and work. Is it not?

I wanted to bring something to light. Yes I love programming. Yes! I love what I do. What I say is truth. The largest part I think the replies are missing (besides garaceg) is, “You don’t quit because of an illness!”. With depression you can love what you do, but are unable to perform. Why is it that I post to a group for help but I am challenged by those who say to quit my job and leave nothing at stake?

It’s a pretty fucked up situation here.

If you think the advice is wrong, bad, or irrelevant, the easiest thing to do would be to ignore those posts and wait for someone else to reply with something more helpful.

You’re soliciting the free advice of people with similar mood disorders, but you seem surprised or disappointed that they can’t impart the wisdom of professional psychotherapists.

Saying that the entire community sucks because you haven’t found an earth-shattering breakthrough within three days and ten replies, suggests that you might have had inflated expectations of how helpful life advice from random strangers on an internet message board should be. If the community sucks so much, maybe you could try to contribute something to possibly improve it, or make it more helpful.

When I made a thread, people posted things that I thought weren’t useful to me. I didn’t call them out on it, make snarky comments or send them condescending private messages. I silently thought to myself “I don’t think that will help me” and moved on to the next reply.


The good thing about your situation is that you do love your career (software development) so it tells me your current situation most likely has to do with the specific project you are currently working on.

One of the things that helps me when I get in a similar situation, is listening to motivational podcast (you can find a lot of them in iTunes).

The ones that I personally like are:

48 days podcast (Dan Miller).
Eventual Millionaire (Jaime Tardy)
The Smart Passive Income (Pat Flynn)
Read to Lead Podcast (Jeff Brown)

I like the first one a lot, specially because it deals with situations where people no longer like their careers and are looking to move to something different.

The other suggestions that I have is to look for a meetup group about something you like (, doesn’t have to be about software development, in can be about any hobby you like.

I hope these little tips help you dealing with a “temporary situation”, things will get better soon.

Take care,


I find that this is the case especially on badly run projects. At first it can be fun and a challenge but there’s always some bumps on the road after a month or two. I think it’s because we start getting used to the code and want to claim some ownership of it and to be proud of it and to deliver solid features and fix lots of bugs but the heaviness of the existing code slows us down. Wherever we try and speed up, we get bogged down in the spaghetti.

That’s how my current project is. In the last week I’ve realized that the number of bugs/tickets keeps increasing, in an exponential curve almost, while the work we get done is a steady pace. It feels like there’s no relief especially since the management are hesitant to cut out features and are hesitant to give us time to get rid of more bugs, insisting that all features and new features must be developed.

Just keep your chin up, find some distractions, read and listen to podcasts at lunch. Those help, however, the biggest help will be clearly defining your goals for the project and some milestones. Setting up little achievements like completing 5 out of 10 tickets assigned to you in the last week can be a big boost to productivity. It makes it a competition with yourself or it makes it seem more like practice for the big show (which hopefully is a better project or company).

Hey Timebox,
I know this thread has had a lot on it, and I don’t know if you’re still looking for advice or ideas with your job, I’m a little late to this party. Feel free to take or leave these, but just a couple of ideas of things that have worked for me, especially (but not only) when I’m on a craptastic or monotonous project.

  • Self-rewards. This sounds dumb, but it has helped in the past. You’re not getting a lot of sense of reward from your job (“externally”) so you can create your own. Pick a deliverable – maybe it’s a daily thing, or maybe it’s a 3-5 day thing, and plan something for yourself that you’ll actually enjoy, maybe something of a splurge, something you’ll look forward to. Hold yourself back from that reward until you do the thing at work. When you complete the thing, get the reward. And repeat. I know you could be rolling your eyes at this, but it has worked surprisingly well in some situations for me.

  • Workplace change-up. I think working from home is awesome. I did it for about a year and there’s many things to love about it. I found that I started feeling some real real loneliness and depression that led to getting frustrated and demoralized a lot faster at work. For me, going to hotel lobbies worked really well for a while, and then I ended up paying for a local coworking space that’s made things better. I think someone else mentioned this idea, but experimenting with location helped me a while lot.