I hate everything at my job

Im older than most new CS grads but have been at my first dev job for a few months. I absolutely hate it. It’s an open office & when I’m there all day I don’t get much done and get so totally exhausted I have no energy to do anything in my personal life. When I work from home I feel like everyone thinks I’m not really doing anything.

I’m working in a language & framework I’ve never used before and which has a notoriously hard learning curve. It feels like everything tiny thing I try to do is so hard to figure out and takes me forever. I don’t think I’m getting any better & I can’t keep up. I spend so much time trying to get things to work and making tiny amts of progress that if someone looked at my output they’d probably think I wasn’t really working much.

It’s a good job and everyone professes their undying love of working there but my experience so far hasn’t been that great. The people that hired me were not the people running my department. When I started they had no interest in helping a new employee. I know there’s a ‘sink or swim’ mentality with new devs but I just don’t learn that way. There’s zero documentation. It’s often difficult to tell if a project exists in our company or if it does, what it is for.

I’m not the most social person but I feel almost excluded by the team. I’m often in that uncomfortable situation where I try to chat with a coworker or make a joke and just get stares or even worse, a somber reply to a joke as though they thought I was being literal. I try to initiate being social but no one seems receptive.

I’ve been casually looking at job ads that mention working remotely and don’t use the term ‘fast paced’. I really want to leave but I’m scared that I’ll end up someplace worse or a new job could fall through and I won’t be able to pay my rent. How would I explain leaving this job so soon? Should I try to switch to a different team? I don’t know how or who to go to for that.

Is life too short to spend so much time so miserable or should I be grateful I have a ‘good job’ since I’m getting older now. Are there low pressure, slow paced dev jobs out there? with friendly people?

Thanks for sharing. I had a very similar experience in my first dev job. It was hard to relate to the other developers because of the age gap and they were so busy they didn’t have much interest in training new employees either.

I had a few thoughts when reading your post, feel free to take or leave them as they may or may not relate to your specific situation.

  1. Software development is not easy. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed when coming in blind to a new team, a new language, new projects, etc. Even if they do not admit it, it is in their best interest, as well as the company’s, that you get the training you need and get up to speed. One of the things I wished I did more was take the initiative on getting the training I needed. The best thing you can do is over communicate. Don’t spend tons of time spinning your wheels and getting frustrated. Try to find a developer there who you can go to for guidance. You may even want to suggest pair programming or sitting in with someone and seeing their process. Take notes on how they solve problems, what their workflow is, any shortcuts they may know to make the work go faster. Let your boss know that you are invested in the job and motivated to learn, and perhaps some methods that would help move things along. If you meet further resistance it will be a reassurance that you are not the problem.

  2. There are positions out there with friendly people. It’s hard to know at first of course, but I try to be just as thorough in my interviews as my interviewers are. I ask a lot of questions about their culture, their values. I have a family so I ask if they value these things and gauge their answers. Even if they give a canned answer, you can often get a sense from them what their company culture is. Even better if you can tour the office and meet a few people.

It’s totally understandable if you would want to move on from this job, but it would be even worse to move from one bad situation to another. My advice would be try your best to tackle the learning curve and use all resources at your disposal. If things do not get better you can move on and will still have learned a few things in the process.

Only you can decide if this field is the right fit for you. Obviously I am on this site so it is something I question of myself a lot. I can say that I found a good position, with friendly people and flexibility. It’s not my passion, and I have spent a decade trying to pay off debt, but have been able to support my family along the way. But I still have the same questions if I am in the right job, if I want this to be my life for the next 20 - 30 years. Not sure if any of this helps, but just some of my thoughts for what it’s worth.



The people that hired you thought that you would be a good fit and they probably still think you are. As being your first dev job i assume that you are an entry level developer so it´s perfectly fine and acceptable if you are taking longer than usual to complete your tasks. A few months on a job so demanding and skillful as a developer it´s not (by far) the time you need to acquire the skills and knowledge required to be a good and reliable developer, the guy that everyone listens. To be that guy you need atleast 1,5 really hard-working years.

Im on a very similar position that you are right now. Most of my first months on my job, i got home completely exhausted and feeling miserable but i always came with new knowledge and it didn´t matter if it was some fancy design pattern or other code related issue, sometimes it was just little things i learned about my debugging tools.

I don´t believe there is, unless you´re doing it for free.

It´s natural for someone in your position to not feel blended but i can guarantee in time you will. Be polite, social when required, but don´t fall for distractions. You are a professional.

My advice is:

  1. Try to be more gentle with yourself and
    your progress, don´t over analyze what others may think of you. If
    you have insecurities about your current role, take it out of your
    shoulders and ask the CTO to review your performance and company
    expectations on a mid-long term. They will understand.
  2. Be humble, ask people for help, guidance, do everything at your disposal to get things done and learn the most with it! If you need to be stubborn and a pain in the ass to acquire knowledge, be it.
  3. Get your sleep hours right, eat healthy, take care of you and read as much  as you can in a place where you feel motivated.
  4. Set your ego aside.

This may be hard right now but if you do this right, you will come around stronger and wiser.
I don´t think you hate your job you just don´t feel comfortable. You are on a fight for success, and those are never easy. I wish you the best!

At my first agency job, it took me years to stop feeling the way you do. I kept feeling like, man, this shouldn’t take me THIS long to do. I bet one of these other devs could do this task much faster. And then I’d get frustrated at myself and my slow progress, get stressed, and it probably didn’t help me get things done efficiently. I also have a lot of pride so I feel like if there’s a task that I feel like I should be able to accomplish because it’s what’s expected of me and as a dev of my level, I should be able to do it, I won’t ask for help until I’m at the end of my rope.

Learned this the hard way. There’s always someone that knows more than you and someone that knows less. I got as far as I have by asking other devs. Sometimes one of two things happen:

  1. This task is really something I can’t accomplish and therefore need some assistance or direction from another dev
  2. Or this is a task I CAN accomplish, but I’m not in the mental/physical state to accomplish it

It’s still something I’m learning but I’m getting to know myself better when I’m at a task for too long and getting nothing accomplished, and I’m positive it’s something I should be able to figure out, I’ll go for a walking break (leave the computer), or move to a simpler task, or sometimes just get back to it the next day if it’s not urgent. I’ve wasted countless hours on tasks before only to come back to it later and solve it in a few minutes. Then I have to face palm myself and remind myself that when I’m at this point, come back to it.

I think a large part of what you’re feeling about your pace and then what “others” think about you when you’re working from home is not necessarily you, but the unhealthy work culture and this strange myth that’s been put on people that we need to work like machines. And the more hours you are present in an office, the more valuable you are as an employee. This is flawed and works against those especially with mental illness. I say this from experience as someone who is depressed and in a job that believes such a thing. Unfortunately not all companies are receptive to this reality.

I think not all work environments fit everyone. Sometimes we do need a work from home day or even take a mental health day off. Some people do great in fast pace work your *&^ off environments and others fail. Some people like having more privacy to work - I think MOST people hate the open office layout and can’t focus. I work in one too and pretty much blast music in my ears all day to tune out all the distractions.

I’d recommend looking up Liz Ryan who runs Human Work Place. She really opened up my eyes to unhealthy work environments and realizing what things were out of my control and what things I could potentially fix. I ended up leaving one job that was just too unorganized and had that “sink or swim” mentality and I’d survived it for years. Leaving it was one of the single most terrifying things I’d ever experienced because you really don’t know if where you’re going is better or not. But in all honesty, I’m so glad I did it. I doubted myself and my skillset too and it wasn’t until I left and joined another agency that I could see what I was made of, and feel more confident. It’s scary, no doubt, but then you’ll never know if there’s better if you don’t try. We end up feeling “secure” at our jobs or “safe” but no job is safe. So either I could have waited to fall apart at my old agency, or take a risk. And I did, and it was worth it.

I have some social anxieties too. At some point, I realized I was caring way too much about people that weren’t personally involved in my life. I don’t live with them, they’re not coming to my birthday, they’re not visiting me etc. in other words, stop stressing over people that once you change jobs, you may never hear from again. Get along with them, sure. Small talk here and there, sure, but I found forcing it just drove me crazy. I eventually grew close to only 1 person at my old agency out of the 50+ people. I’d been there for years. I left and not one of them keeps contact with me so imagine if I’d sat there thinking we were jolly good friends the whole time? Disappointment. Kind of sucks, but hey, that’s work culture. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, so long as you get along in the office it’s fine. And I still keep in touch with that one friend. One good friend is priceless rather than a bunch of acquaintances.

Anyway I wrote a story haha. :smile: What I mean is learn from others. You’ll always be learning for the rest of your life in this field. You have to in order to improve yourself. If your co-workers don’t seem to be the helpful type and everyone feels more like machines, you’re in the wrong work culture. Time to look into moving on. It’s a scary risk, but what’s stronger? The fear of taking that risk that might be worth it or the regret you’ll feel every day you stay? No one can answer these questions for you. Only you can know when it’s time to move on and what’s best for you.

Also try not to be too hard on yourself. Take breaks. Brainstorm with others if it helps. Write things down. Take it one day at a time. Good luck! :smiley:


Thanks for the responses. I am making small gains. I can tell when I look back at my code from a month ago and see how naively I implemented something or look back at some code snippet I couldn’t previously understand and now do. Unfortunately, there just really aren’t too many other devs at work who work with the language I do. Those that do, are new to it and often don’t know how to do things or don’t seem inclined to offer any more help than a very high level explanation. I tried to ask for help more this week and got a mix of those responses. It doesn’t help that I have a ton of trouble with getting the jargon down. I can understand completely how to do something but not be able to explain it and vice versa. I think this is just a linguistics issue with me. If I was a child today I think it’s likely I would be referred to a specialist or something for the difficulty I have expressing what I’m trying to say.

I missed my deadline this week despite all the effort. I have this fantasy in the back of my mind that when I do finish, everyone will think it’s amazing and wonderful. It’s the most complex and probably the ‘best’ thing I’ve ever created so I will be a little disappointed if I don’t get a ‘good job’ at least.

I’ve kind of decided to just do what you said @KaguraRap and just not worry about the people at work. One of the young new grads was talking about wanting to organize something social amongst the team and they shot him down pretty fast. It helped me realize it’s not just me they are excluding but all new people I guess(some of the devs who have been there longer do socialize outside of work). If they want to be cliquey at least it’s not just me they are excluding. If I expand my interests outside of work then I can hopefully expand my social circle and I won’t care so much. I moved here for the job so it’s been kind of isolating.

I definitely know an open office isn’t for me… or any office really. Even when it’s quiet at the office, just having so many people around keeps me on edge. I don’t like the politics of meetings, how my supervisor can show up late and expect us to drop everything to start the meeting whenever he decides to show up. I don’t like frequent status meetings… I do a lot of stuff and it’s hard for me to boil it down to a 2 sentence quip that reflects all the effort and thought put into the work. I don’t like getting excluding from high level meetings about my project just because I’m new and then having to play telephone with 3 different people trying to figure out what changes what were decided in the meeting. I’d rather just work at home, stay unaware of all that and do what I need to do.

I think I’m going to try focusing on learning everything and learning this new language the best I can and try to stick it out long enough that maybe when I need to leave this job I can have more of a ‘dev’ not ‘jr dev’ role… or maybe not even be so coding focused. I have a lot of good high level ideas (no one listens of course) about how we should do things but I’m not really so interested in actually implementing things. And next time I will try to make sure the working environment is in line with what I need. I did talk about my desire for flexibility during the interview process but I guess it got lost between the people who interviewed me and the department I ended up working in. Next time I will make sure the flexibility they purport to offer is real. I’m going to keep reminding myself the longer I stick it out here and the more I learn, the more power I will have in the next job search to find the right place for me. The language I’m working in is becoming more and more popular so the skills I learn here will put me more in demand.

Just as an update.

I kept fluctuating about whether to stay at my current job. Finally, things just kept accumulating that I couldn’t just attribute to me being new or as a temporary issue. I started feeling like everything I said, my manager would just automatically disagree with no matter what it was. And not in a “oh well I like this other thing for these reasons…” kind of way but in a “Your opinion is definitely wrong and this is the right way to feel about something” way.

The one other employee who I felt any connection with, who is much more senior, and who doesn’t usually work with my team much was randomly talking about problems in the hiring process one day and basically summed up my entire development-related experience at this company, presumably inadvertently.

We hire people who are good at something, put them on a team working on something else, with no mentorship or training and then they end up writing shit code.

And also:

Wouldn’t you rather have people learn how to write really fucking good code in one or two languages than just ok code in 5?

This stuff being said out loud(and emphatically complete with swearing!) by someone who actually has a bit of influence over the hiring process combined with the social & asshole manager issues just made me realize this is just how it is here. And I don’t fit in. I am not the kind of dev that’s happy just ‘getting it done’ mediocrely. I’m not happy just working 12 hrs a day because I have no idea how to use this language/tool and no one to help. Things that are important to me like documentation are actively discouraged in a very sanctimonious way. This might be a great fit for someone who isn’t opinionated and already is an expert at the role they get put into. But it’s not a good fit for me.

So I reached out to a contact at another company where I had offer before and had a couple more interviews and am waiting to hear back now. I have not felt as good as I do now since before I started this job. If this other company doesn’t work out I have another contact actively hiring that I can check out next. It feels good to know that there is an end in sight.

Maybe it’s like dating, 2 people can be good people separately but be bad for each other. That might be what this company and I are like when combined.

I’m glad you’re figuring things out. Sometimes change is what we need. It definitely takes time to find that company you’ll feel at home at.

Good luck! :smiley: