I am a back-end(PHP/Symfony) developer in a company. At the moment, I have a drop in my motivation that results in procrastinating during my work hours, getting anxious and having a low morale. Stress starts to take over with physical symptoms such as stomach ache, fatigue, etc.

Background: I switched career paths. I was a pastry cook before and I passed exams and studied hard for a 6 months course + 3 months of volunteering/intern to become a Symfony Dev. With this, I found a job in a company that places devs in other companies for a mission that spans minimum 3 months.

I spent 3 months working alone on a project that my other colleagues thought "difficult" and "not enjoyable". I worked hard to understand the project(mission) and often worked late. My mission boss was happy with my performance and extended my mission for 3 more months. This is the 4th month.

After reflecting about why my morale was low, this is what I have concluded:

  • "I do not enjoy back end dev" I have a long artisanal experience of manual work. And I have a long experience using Photoshop. I like creativity and drawing, and I made this re-conversion because after many years with Photoshop, I wanted to try CSS and HTML. And I liked it.

  • "I work alone and I feel lost" I am in an environment with 3 senior developers, and 1 junior developer will soon join the team. I mainly learn alone as the senior developers are busy. I ask them for guidance once in a while when I'm really stuck and they are keen to help me out. But I do not like asking always as I feel it will not help my confidence in the long run.

I talked to my mission boss about my dropping motivation and told them that I had more enjoyment and confidence when they had assigned me front-end work earlier(HTML/CSS) in my role. He acknowledged that and replied with nothing more except than it was because I'm a junior.

I then sought a rendezvous with my company boss, and told her that I have spoken to my mission boss about dropping the back-end role. She acknowledged that and told me that there is a possibility to move to a front-end role. I felt that this idea was perfect and that would suit me better.

2 weeks later, nothing seems to have changed about my status. I feel like doing nothing at my current role. I'd rather get fired than just waiting at my desk.

I have no quarrel with my peers or management. The ambience is okay, and the workplace is not stressful.

How can I best manage the situation so that I can move to a front-end role, and until then, deal with my dropping morale?


Get a diary. At the morning of each day, you write into the diary what you want to achieve on this day. And then you start doing the things in your diary that you want to do on that day, and in the evening you check. That helps overcoming procrastination. Just make your goals for each day achievable.

Consider that your boss and your senior co-workers aren't actually unhappy with your performance so far. They don't judge you negatively, and they should know better than yourself.

  • I will apply your method right away – chicken burger Dec 29 '17 at 11:24
  • And at a finer level of procrastination control I'd also add the method of setting a 1 hour timer during the day and working until the timer goes off. As even when you have daily goals it may seem hard to actually work on them for an entire work day. But anyone can work for an hour on something. Once the timer is up then just repeat as many time as necessary. (When using this method I sometimes end up cursing the timer for going off too soon) – Peter M Dec 29 '17 at 12:17

Remember when you were a pastry chef? Did you start with the parts of it that you really wanted? Or were there parts of the job you didn't really like, but had to do because you were the junior? I know a savoury chef who spent day after day prepping vegetables. I saw the internship diary: "sliced the beets for the tasting menu" it said every day, along with some other things that weren't very much more exciting.

You've told people you prefer front end to back end. They've said they will take that into account. This is all going well until you say "it's been two weeks" as though somehow you expected that you would be immediately pulled off your project and given front end work to do. What made you think that? Your project needs to get finished, and if you don't finish it, who will?

The best way to be sure you get the kind of work you want when this project is finished is to finish this project, and finish it well. I am puzzled by all this talking of "waiting" and of "doing nothing". You have a project to finish. Your reward for finishing it will be that you don't have to work on it any more, and will have a chance to move to what you want. So think of it as the kind of junior cooking work that just has to get done, and do it. Work hard. People will notice that you got yourself through this motivation slump. As they told you, it's normal. But that doesn't mean you get to stop working.

  • I don't understand the down vote on this answer. This is solid advise for this situation.... – Neo Dec 29 '17 at 16:57

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