Someone else's story as a consultant


#1

It’s titled “I might be done. Just done. Maybe it’s time to look for another job.”: https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions/comments/3lr41t/rant_i_might_be_done_just_done_maybe_its_time_to/

Software consultant for nearly 3 years, and you may have even seen me brag about where I work.
I’m behind on my hours again. Just looked at recent changes to our code base. “They’re fricken crazy.” is all I can think.

No idea how our new guy, who has SQL development experience, was able to figure out how to write high quality, effective web application code in this short a time period. It’s maybe been a couple weeks.
Meanwhile, the task I’ve been given to make our image uploads work on every platform has taken me over 30 hours and for some reason fails on our test server.

I’ve lost.

I no longer have the ability to look at a code base and connect all the dots in my head. At least, I can’t do this enough to program full-time. I start thinking about my code and at some point it turns into a ball of fluff and disappears.

I think it’s time for me to quit and find another job. Use the experience I have consulting to work at some boring company where I can actually get away with being sick or not feeling up to speed for a while. If I could get over the urge to fall asleep during meetings, or not to jump out a window during slow periods where I’m forced to look busy, maybe I can survive a little longer.

But right now, it feels like death.

Things have been this way for a while. I don’t know why my employer is trying so hard to keep me. I feel like maybe I’m a decent programmer, and they see some value in me. I just can’t imagine what. I’d rather leave companies than get fired. We’re just not financially prepared for me to be fired suddenly.
This upcoming pay period, I’m going to get half of my paycheck again. Why? Because I did only 50% of the hours we agreed I should be doing. I’ve been out of PTO for a while. My pay gets docked. That’s barely enough to pay my rent.

I go through this a lot now. Feeling like I just can’t keep up with what it takes to be a consultant. I used to be one of their guys who worked 16 hours / day for 2 weeks straight to make sure we launched a product. But I don’t have the level of support at home to even make that kind of sacrifice any more.
I have to do everything myself. And it’s hard.
I can’t say I regret it. I just wish that when things came to an end, they didn’t crash and burn. I feel like I’m riding on worn out tires. There’s no telling when they’ll blow and I’ll find myself derailed.

I want to actually enjoy programming. I want to be able to comprehend our code base. I want to be excited about the potential to refactor or patternize code. It’s just not there. The work I do is so demanding, I’m not sure it’s even remotely possible for me to function here with that being the case. There is no “easy” work for me to do. We have pretty straightforward billing. And a straightforward work philosophy. We get stuff done. You pay us.

I’m sorry to anyone who read this entire thing.

Reposted because I want to point out that as software developers we should not be putting up with this and that we need to be very careful about the amount of hours we’re working and try to avoid feeling like imposters.

You don’t have to work more than 40hrs/week to be a fantastic programmer. You don’t have to destroy your body to enrich someone else.

I wish there was an easier way to reach out to others and help them out in these difficult moments of self-doubt and depression.


#2

Depressing and familiar.