OOP has destroyed my ability to enjoy programming... and also life

I found this website for the first time last night (all I did was type “developer depression” in to Google). I felt instantly better about my situation. I have been so depressed for so long now… and I was convinced I was all alone. So firstly I’m grateful for this website.

I have always been a pretty stressed out, unhappy guy in general. I’m not really in to coding that much. It was just a job to me. But I worked really hard within my company and I want to be good at something that’s difficult. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I first discovered (almost by accident) that there was this whole wider open-source community and that they were really passionate about adopting OOP. I didn’t even know what OOP was! Since then, I have been franticly trying to keep up and adapt to this new way of working. It is killing me.

I have been going for job interviews recently and here is what one Chief Architect had to say;

You have 7 years experience at the [your company], but unfortunately most of that experience is in technology and methodology that is deprecated. I would estimate that this equates to 1 or maybe at a push 2 years of transferable experience that [our company] could harness.

That really upset me. Mostly because it’s so damn accurate. I feel so foolish having spent all those years thinking I was doing a good job… But actually, was completely ignorant to the fact that I was rubbish.

To make matters worse, I am being bullied and harassed by my management at work… But it’s extremely subtle. They are doing this because I am striving to get better and am (unintentionally) making the more senior programmers (who don’t use OOP at all) look bad… Like asking my Sys Admin team to install Git for example.

I have got to the point where I can’t enjoy anything. I can’t go out with my girlfriend to places because I just sit there, thinking about OOP and how much it’s kicking my ass. I think about how useless I am and how I’m going to be stuck in this job until the day I die. It’s a Government job so the skills are not transferrable at all. We don’t use APIs, eCommerce, we don’t even have to consider web traffic because they are all silly little internal applications.

I’m just totally gutted all the time. I look at myself and think “You total loser”. “Look at what you have acheived… NOTHING!”. I’ve put all this effort in my free time in to trying to be better at programming that I’ve never bothered to learn stuff that might actually have use. Ie installing a dishwasher, maintaining my bicycle, knowing where certain countries are, how to cook a decent meal etc.

I went to my doctor this morning and have a number to call to arrange a councillor. I don’t know what else to say really (I think I’ve said a lot already, more than I intended). I just wanted to get it out there. Thanks for reading.

The first thing I’m gonna say is watch Chris Lema’s video on Impostor Syndrome. Whenever I feel like the worse programmer ever, I watch his talk like a religion.

I am currently going through a similar phase where I thought I was a pretty good developer and now I’m having so much trouble finding work that I’m slowly losing all confidence in myself. But we’ve gotta keep trying. As for other people that don’t want you to grow, there’s always gonna be haters. Seriously. You learn Git, Gulp, Object Oriented code, whatever you want to keep up with trends or become a more well rounded dev. Don’t let others determine your path.

I definitely understand the nature of your company as well - I’ve made a few sites for investment companies and they needed their sites to work in versions of IE that most devs no longer support. Banking, investment, government sites, they care only about function and not necessarily good practices. Seeing how much the Obamacare website failed when it first went up is enough proof. There’s only so long until these places are gonna have to step up their game, learn a few new skills and apply them to these sites because they will no longer function anymore as time goes on. So I think it’s great that you’re trying to learn new things. Especially if it’s something you personally want to learn, don’t let anyone else stop you.

At the end of the day, you’re the only person you have to please. Also leveling up as a programmer can only reap rewards in time.

It’s hard not to let this industry tell us we’re no good. I’m currently feeling this. Some days I’m like, screw this, I have skills that others don’t have. I can put together a pretty decent site. No, I’m not a ninja unicorn rock star, but I can do my job. There’s some out there who can’t even do that much. So take pride in doing your job, having your current skillset and that you want to learn more. There’s always going to be people that know less and know more than you. What makes is stand out is wanting to keep learning.

Go out with your GF. Enjoy life. Don’t let some people who are in no way important to your actual life define how you live it. I’d also recommend looking up Liz Ryan of Human Workplace along with Kathryn Caprino, a career counselor (although she markets herself as just for women, she has some general things that apply to everyone). They have some uplifting articles, I love their stuff!

As far as real life skills like cooking, laundry, whatever, it’s not too late to learn that. Of course they’re not as fun as coding I’d think haha maybe cooking depending on how into it you are, but having some basics down should be enough. Maybe you can aim to focus on one “life” skill every week like “cook breakfast” and the rest of your free time, coding. I find that if I really don’t wanna learn something, forcing myself doesn’t help. At least if you give yourself some time to try, like okay, I’m gonna try this just once a week or a few minutes a week, and if you can tolerate it, consider it a victory and move onto something else. Or sometimes you find that you do end up getting into it, and then you can just keep going. Just go with the flow.

I sincerely hope things improve for you. I’m cheering us both on over here. We’re developers and we can do this! :smiley:

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I found myself in a similar situation last year. I was four years in to a PhD program, still hadn’t found a thesis topic, had barely any publications, and felt like I had wasted the last couple years. It led to some serious depression issues and one of the worst years of my life, that I’m only just now recovering from.

First off, I think it’s a great idea that you’re seeing a counselor. Getting professional help is a very good idea and I’ve personally found it very helpful. As for more career-related solutions, I think @Rachie has some good points. It sounds to me that you really want a job change and have already been taking steps towards that. I wouldn’t worry too much about not knowing OOP. Technologies and methodologies come and go. OOP and Agile may be in vogue now and they will be replaced by something else ten years down the line. If you have free time, I would suggest you trying to doing some OOP-related projects on the side, put them on Github. That should help boost your background. If not, trying looking for jobs that require less experience. It might mean a lower position or a pay cut, but you can use it as a launching pad for better positions in the future.

I would also recommend opening up to your girlfriend to your problems. It can be very helpful to know that there’s someone in your corner. I can understand your frustration in feeling like you don’t have sufficient real-world skills. It’s something I faced (and continue to face) myself. However, I would strongly suggest not trying to fix it all at once. Work on one thing at a time. In the past I’ve tried changing my whole life at once and invariably end up with too many balls in the air and dropping most of them.

Hope this helps.

Hey guys. Thanks for responding! Just being able to have a conversation like this has helped more than I realised. I am going to watch that Chris Lema video today for sure.

I am still completely overwhelmed by the vastness of programming every day. But I’m trying hard not to let it alter my mood. I am going to try harder to see the positives and focus on how much I have learnt - but it feels microscopic in comparison.

I’ve been to the docs and have arranged to see a councillor. I told him about angry I get sometimes and he said “that’s not you that’s your depression”. I’m not sure how much I believe that but ok. He also said Diet, Exercise and Sleep were very important. I do a lot of exercise. More than average. And my girlfriend is an awesome cook and it’s always healthy. But I am a terrible sleeper so I will work on that. I turned down his offer of anti-depressants. But I will take some St John’s wort.

I went to a tech meet-up last night. It was not a good experience. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone in my (“our”?) situation. The talks (on Testing) went right over my head. I got chatting to someone who rattled off a bunch of different technology - the guy was just a KID! And he scoffed at the idea of developers not knowing/using Doctrine (which I’ve never used). So I want to avoid those but also find some sort of local group where we can work on a specific project together.

Also if you’re going the natural route, might wanna take a look at another post where I wrote what I was trying to change diet/supplement wise to manage depression without meds. Hope it helps!


As far as the tech meet up, why not try attending a beginner’s meetup or volunteer as a teaching assistant. Even though you’re not a beginner, it’s easy to forget how much you really know when comparing yourself to others you feel are better than you until you’re back in the crowd of people who don’t really know anything. It feels good to help teach them as well, just seeing how their eyes light up at the code we might consider simple or nothing much these days. It’s a cool perspective changer.

Good luck!

I feel like I’m in a similar situation to yours. I’ve got years of experience under my belt, but due to the unorganized/outdated nature of the places I worked, not a lot of it is relevant to what I want to do. And I’m not getting calls, even for junior-to-mid-level positions I should be well qualified for. Like you, I’ve worked my tail off at work and at home, feel like I’ve got nothing to show for it. So, while I don’t have any help to offer, I just wanted to voice my support. I wish you the best of luck. Keep your chin up.


Just wanted to add a ‘me too’. Actually because I’ve been a contractor I have a reasonable handle on the basics of OOP because I worked in so many different environments that I simply couldn’t avoid it. But I still don’t think I know it well enough.

These days there is so much learning material available that if you want to learn OOP in any popular language, you can do it pretty easily (and in many cases for free). See Udemy, Udacity, iTunesU, Coursera etc etc. Having said that, the new cool thing seems to be functional programming which is a totally different paradigm and eschews many tenets of OOP as far as I can tell. So maybe all my OOP knowledge is now totally useless (or is being scoffed at in corridors outside Functional programming meetups)

This may all sound like I am contradicting myself. I am and that’s because even though I know OOP reasonably well, there is always stuff that I don’t know. Once you know OOP, you start to hear more about Design Patterns and learn to use them (patterns for using objects to solve different types of problems). And then there will be some new cool design pattern you don’t know that all the cool kids are using. ARD, HMVM blah blah blah

I started out with PHP and have dabbled in a few other languages. There are so many new stacks and frameworks that its overwhelming to me and surely impossible to keep up with it all. I never know what to concentrate on and some days I just don’t care about any of it.

I’m sorry there wasn’t much point to all this. Writing it was as much for me as it was for you. I suppose I just wanted to say that OOP is probably not your problem. Its your mood / mental state and I’m gad to hear you have asked for some help. I know some OOP, have used that skill commercially, and I still think I am terrible at everything most days. I need to stop worrying about what I don’t know and focus on small steps towards goals which mean something to me. Perhaps you should too.

Oh and keep away from Doctrine if you just want to get stuff done. Its horribly complicated and yet another thing to learn.

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