basically, I did unpaid OT with our team for 2 months. I was stressed out all the time, laundry didnt get done and I’ve been paying lots of $$$ to eat out all the time ($5-10 lunches and dinners everyday).
My probationary period was extended because im late all the time. Late meaning I show up at noon if I did overtime till 4am or 6am the night before and showing up between 8am and 10am. This is the norm at all other places I’ve worked at and managers would cover you for coming in “late” if you did overtime.
The issue is that I dont know how to fix this. The only reason I show up late is when I’m super stressed. I was up till 2am because of a phone call with the significant other. It was stressful, she and I want stability and I want to do a great job at work. I want to make her happy, I want to make myself happy and I want us to be able to live the lifestyle we want to live.
How do I make sure I keep my stress levels low when there’s potential for shitty management and poor planning and overtime and everyone I talk to just says to suck it up and deal with it? How do I make sure I can keep my job?
Right off the bat ‘2 months of unpaid OT’ screams to me that there are bigger issues at play here with the company and their dev processes. This is a huge failure of management, not you as a developer.
At this rate it sounds like they’re very eager to take every advantage of you they can. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear, but this just sounds like a toxic, mismanaged company who’s philosophy towards developers is to just churn’n’burn and you should start looking for work elsewhere for the sake of your health and sanity. It sounds like it’s bad enough that it’s totally out of your hands at this point, especially if it’s exacerbating something else like depression or just high stress levels.
Don’t believe anyone who says you need to work more than 40 hours a week to be a worthwhile employee. Unless you own the company, you don’t owe anyone more than that, especially on a regular basis (and ESPECIALLY unpaid!). Most employers are more than willing to take miles for every inch of your time / health / whatever you give them, too.
sure but how do I reduce the stress and reduce the significant other’s stress? I’ve already gone through some tough times when cash was short (and we’re not out of the woods yet for bills).
@onlyme, I’m so glad you shared your story here. It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate – you’ve got this terrible job/management plus these significant expectations to keep your SO happy, some lifestyle expectations, and it sounds like some very real financial stresses. Any one of those alone is enough to raise stress levels, so all of it together must be pretty huge. I also kind of hear a “feedback loop” of sorts where your stress leads (in part) to less sleep, which leads to coming in late, and leads to more probation and stress.
There’s probably some quick fixes for stress that people could recommend; nutrition, meditation, exercise, sleep, etc., none of those are bad things and could help (sleep especially – data shows that just getting regular sleep can make a world of difference in our ability to cope). Yet stress is a very normal reaction to feeling like something important is threatened, and your situation seems to be set up to make important things in your life (SO, livelihood) feel threatened.
I like everything @hugeguts said here about your job; maybe its time to see if there’s another option for making a living. I also wonder if you’re taking more responsibility for your SO’s happiness than you really deserve to. I don’t know your situation well enough to have an opinion, but I do know that we can all get into very stressful situations by taking too much responsibility for others’ feelings and actions and trying to fix them. When this happens, it can be very helpful to re-focus on our own feelings and actions, decide what’s right, and allow the other to feel and experience what they will.
I don’t know nearly enough to provide specific suggestions or advice for you here, but I hope these thoughts are worth reading and thinking about.
Sorry if I came off as a little short or abrasive. It really makes me angry to see people exploited this way by employers, and it is kind of hard to recommend small steps to mitigate the larger problem. Kinda like taking pain killers for a severed limb.
I do empathize though, I’ve been trapped in a number of soul-crushing jobs and felt like quitting wasn’t an option since I’m terrible, blah blah blah.
Meditation might seem kind of hokey, but it helped me a lot when I was in a similarly insanely stressful job. Trying to step back and take things one step at a time, decouple yourself from the situation, and things like that sound like simple or cheap advice but they can really help.
I think a lot of stress comes from trying to worry about things we can’t control. It may help to identify the things you can actually, physically, purposefully control and focus on them, and give yourself a break on everything else. If we can’t control or even influence something, rationally, it makes no sense to worry about it. I’d hang onto that thought when my anxiety started going nuts about things way outside my power to do anything about.
Update: I quit the job. I realized the everyday stress level was always high and would never go down to a reasonable/manageable level and I would be due for a breakdown at some point (either when the probationary period ended, if ever, or later down the line on a project).
thanks @dnoor and @hugeguts all your advice was good, and I hope to be out of the financial stresses soon. The less sleep is being fixed, I got my 8 hours for the last week, hoping that turns back into the habit it was just a few months ago
Hope everything goes well, you’re better off somewhere else, management like that is what made me change my attitude drastically towards people. Everyone just likes to exploit workers and call it “opportunity” or “you’re being part of something big”, when in reality, we all know they’re full of shit. Moreover, they lack in every sense, skills to interview developers, they are easily charmed by the suit-wearing-agile-bullshit-speaking “developers” whom make themselves look productive, heck they outsource the shit out of everything.
Good luck out there man, wish you the best.
update: I’ve been on the new job since January and the financial stresses are ironed out, sleep is good too.
I thought things were fine on the new job despite the early team/culture dance where everyone gets used to each other and their different working styles but today a coworker blew up at me and yelled, loud enough for the office to hear. I did him a favour by making him take the conversation into a private room. He went on about how I have a bad attitude. I won’t try and defend myself here but like everyone else I have bad days (not as low as before!!)
He tried to talk to me in an authoritative voice and I have to say it was shocking. This job is still much better than the last, just never ever expected to be yelled at and spoken to in this way. I’m not sure how to feel. It is depressing working on this code base and it’s depressing that this coworker and others don’t want to improve quality, but it’s not a real low where I have to take a day long break from the environment.