I hate programming


I’ve been a dev for almost two decades now, and I stopped enjoying it at least four years ago. I tried to get into UX, spent a bunch of money on classes, and completely failed. I did manage to get a job for embarrassingly little money at a large tech company, where I was the only dev on most projects, that was mellow and tolerable, but I hated the company, their culture, the food, and just about everything else about it.

I recently took a dev job paying three times as much with the intention of sticking it out for ten years, and saving up enough money to just retire, but a few weeks in, and I can’t stand it. I just can’t hack a completely normal, possibly even good dev environment anymore. The people are fine, the pace is fine, the management is fine, but I just can’t cope with the frustrations of learning yet another new set of design patterns for displaying a fucking list of data. I don’t give a shit about whatever new thing you’re using to persist data. Two weeks in, and I’ve thought about jumping off the top of a parking garage (of which there are plenty downtown, most above ten stories, so survival would be unlikely) so many times. The worst, is when I fuck this up, I’m going to alienate a consulting company that has found me a ton of great work over the course of a decade.

This post hit the nail on the head:

20-year veterans are people who just get it done no matter what, and still have time to raise kids, keep a clean house, and have a life. They can do a code review of a multi-thousand line commit, understand everything about it, and have useful, relevant feedback, while I just spend hours staring, and finally just make a stupid comment about bracket placement.

I need the money to live. I have no other marketable skills. If I wash out of this, it’s off to the burger barn to flip patties, and I’ll seriously kill myself before that.

I have no idea what to do.


I’m in a similar spot. Also 20 years in, but am burned out when it comes to working in coding teams, and also on programming in itself, somewhat at least.

I’ve had many many days in the past 5 years where I haven’t been able to produce one single line of code.

I don’t know about you, but I got into coding because of the problem solving and beauty of writing cool algorithms, not really for coding business applications, Scrum meetings or maintaining other people’s code.

Is there something else you can see yourself doing besides programming? Maybe take a course to build up skills in something else? Sticking it out for 10 years is a long time, could you set a shorter goal?

I’ve been on a 4-month break from my last job but am looking at taking on an assignment again, if nothing else for the money…but I need to find a better long-term solution, maybe with some kind of part-time job.


Is there something else you can see yourself doing besides programming? Maybe take a course to build up skills in something else? Sticking it out for 10 years is a long time, could you set a shorter goal?

I tried UX, to no avail. Took a course, applied for jobs, got nothing, and ran out of money, forcing me to go back to programming. I wanted to try UX because like you, it’s the problem solving that’s interesting, and I find that I enjoy the human part of it more than the algorithmic/mathematical part of it. I’ve always been better at figuring out how to write readable, well organized and documented code, rather than writing the fastest possible algorithm to solve something. Plus, I think I’d enjoy trying to build things that people enjoyed using, rather than tolerated using. But junior UX people make very little money, and very few companies are hiring junior designers right now. All the listings are for mid to senior level.

I’ve also thought about QA. I’ve always enjoyed finding really specific repro steps, and pinning down exactly what causes bugs. In some ways, I actually enjoy bugfixing more than writing the code in the first place. There again though, QA folks can be underpaid.

Then ten years figure was for saving up the amount needed to retire outright. If I can live on an amount, and I’m now making three times that, sticking the remaining two thirds in savings, then in an index fund or something isn’t too much of a challenge. Ten years, I’ll have my place paid off, and enough invested to live poorly, but without working, indefinitely. That just means surviving that long.


Sounds to me like the UX skills you attained ought to be useful in many developer jobs also. When I was on a smaller team we did everything from database design to designing user interfaces. UX knowhow would have been very valuable back then.

Come to think of it, that was probably when I was at my happiest job-wise. It’s later on when I’ve been pigeonholed that my motivation sank. I don’t know if that’s a trend in the industry, maybe jobs on products like that are hard to come by.

QA is surely still underrated, and I’m guessing the role can be very different between different companies. To me it seems a bit more stressful compared to a developer position, especially in crunch times.

Yes it sounds like you have a plan if you’re able to tolerate doing something you don’t enjoy for 10 years. For myself, I don’t think I could do that (anymore). Right now I’m thinking of finding assignments of 5-6 months and then taking large breaks inbetween, maybe working on apps or websites (or something else) on my own.

What does the job market look like where you are, right now?


The first thing you need to do, if you’re serious about thinking about jumping off that building and not just being flippant, is to get help. Any thoughts of suicide need to be taken seriously. If you won’t get help for yourself, then take it from me, when you feel rotten, you can make other people feel rotten too without knowing it.

Jobs consume so much of our time that sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole other side of life too. What else do you enjoy? Having something to look forward to, having a goal, even if it’s just to make it to the weekend where you can do that one thing, might help a bit.

On my team, I have to wear all hats at the same time, infrastructure, dev, UX, QA, and everything all at once. Those positions are out there, and trust me you won’t get bored when you’re doing more than one role. For us, everyone is a programmer, a BA, a QA, and so on. If I want to focus more on QA, I do that for a little while. If I want to focus on UX, I think about that. It’s all about prioritizing. Do you know of a position where you could do something like that? It sounds like this consulting company trusts you… maybe they have something where you can start from the ground up, sit with a customer who says, “build this,” and then figure out how to do it. Or maybe you could freelance… do plugins on PHPBB or something, maybe bug bounties.

When’s the last time you took a vacation when you really enjoyed yourself?


All the good things in the world won’t help. I took a great vacation a month ago. I had a great time. A few weeks ago, I noticed that the windows in this eighth story office had handles. I tested them to see how far they opened, and it wasn’t enough to squeeze through. The guy sitting next to me was like, “Yeah, it’s a nice day, isn’t it?”

Vacations and all the things outside of work don’t help. I can’t be a dev anymore at all. There’s no moving into management, I’ve been a contractor with a business license, and that was actually worse, since you had more paperwork to deal with. Basically, anything that requires me to touch code is bad, because I can’t even force myself to write anymore. The team I’m on isn’t bad, anyone else on the planet would be happy, but the part of my brain that enjoys dealing with code is gone. It left a sign saying, “Later, be back never. Have fun without me!”

I have a house that I’ve paid off most of, but without a tech job, I won’t be able to make payments at all, and I’ll lose something I’ve worked hard for. It’ll be gone and all the money I’ve put into it will disappear like it was never there. At that point, life really will be pointless.

Nobody has answers. I feel hopeless. There aren’t any answers for me. Lots of innocent creatures die every day, and there’s no guarantee that there’s a way out of this for me.


You need help. Now. Go see a doctor, community mental health center, or ER.


You know several years ago I tried to end my life. I was at a very low point, even lower than today I guess, and thought that ending it all was the solution to all my problems. Police stopped me before I was able to throw myself under a train, and then I had to spend a week in a mental hospital, until they were sure I wouldn’t be a threat to myself or to others. Those were the worst days of my whole life! Being there felt like a life sentence. I wasn’t sure I would ever come out, and that’s the reason why no matter how low I am today I won’t try again, because I know I’d probably fail and end up in there again. This does make me feel more overwhelmed about life at times, though. I feel so strong about wanting to run away from it all, but I know there’s really not a way, not that way, at least, so I have to keep going.

Do try to find help. I’m looking for help myself. I can’t tell you that it gets better, because I have to believe it myself and right now I don’t, but you have to keep going.


I think you have anxiety right now. Be cool if possible go to a doctor for the counseling.


I just want to know how to get out of programming. Fuck everything else. I’m seeing a therapist, mental health is not the issue. The issue is getting the fuck out of programming without losing everything.

That’s it. Let me repeat that: Programming will kill me. Losing everything will kill me. How do I get out of programming without dying?


In my experience, when I hated something I would start job hunting for something else. Without knowing what other skills you have, it’s hard to suggest anything else. Have you spoken to a career adviser? They could possibly help you find something else with the skills you have. You have said that you have no other marketable skills, however, a career adviser could see your claims in a different light.