Trying to stay positive

25 here, software engineer mostly for web applications.

I’m currently working at a digital agency and I hate it. I’m supposed to be a full stack engineer, but most of my day is spent writing HTML and sass. I’ve been looking out for other opportunities and working on my side projects, but I still feel so behind in terms of my stack knowledge. I’ve been applying to jobs recently but I’ve gotten nothing back so far. The work I do is totally uninteresting and I feel like I’m going backwards everyday that I’m here.

I’ve noticed this take over my life in other ways recently - I’ve withdrawn from my friends, I don’t really go out much, and I sleep a lot when I’m not working. I came from a great school with a cs degree and I’m ashamed to be around all of my friends whose jobs are significantly more technical than mine.

For anyone who has been in my place, how do you keep your head up? I’m trying really hard to but I feel like I’m sinking into a bigger depression everyday that I stay here.

I know these feels. I moved from job to job for a while, and every job I managed to get, six months or so down the line, led me to feeling this way.

What I’ve kinda learned is that most jobs are just that - They’re jobs. I’m being paid because it’s something someone else doesn’t want to do. I’ve decided to start approaching my current job with this mindset, and, while my job is still boring and unfulfilling, understanding that has helped me to cope. I feel like you might find yourself in this sad state regardless of what job you end up with, because, like me, you want something more for yourself.

The best advice I can give you, if you’re making decent money, is to suck it up and stay with this job for a little bit. If you’re getting paid well and it’s easy, there’s no reason to not build up some good work history here. Just make damn sure that your out of work time is spent productively. Make sure that you’re really working on fun, involved stuff in your spare time. My job may be boring, but I make up for it by working on a game in my spare time. At least I’m able to work on something I really do enjoy while having a sense of security.

Hope that helps.

I can relate, even if I quit my last (and first) job after just two weeks of soul-crushing grind of patching up themes broken by someone else and churning out ‘features’ composed of horrible jQuery spaghetti code. I have to admit, I would have stayed for longer if not for also extremely bad terms and conditions that in no way I would sign up for as well. Maybe that’s enough for a gist of it, though.

The feeling of being unappreciated and doing someone else’s work without any real novelty or meaning surely is a downer.

Now, if they pay you well, I’m agreeing with the previous advice - you might want to stick to it for a while at least, but if it’s possible, remove yourself from it a bit emotional/personal involvement-wise. Job is just a single aspect of your life and definitely does not equal your worth as a person or a programmer. As long as you do get the job done… it should be OK.

In the grand scheme of things though, I recommend building up some capital - spend your time on meaningful things that either grow your monetary funds or knowledge and expertise capital. Eventually there’s going to be enough critical mass to continue upwards.

There’s an advice that says every job and everything you do should help you accomplish some goal - whether that’s personal happiness, paying up a debt, or getting you enough money to get by while you reach critical mass toward something better. The last one’s important too.