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I work in a still very young but very lucrative consulting company. Within a short period of time my role has changed from technical consultant to developer/architect, which is what I wanted to do. However, there is far too much work for me alone at the moment. We have several technical colleagues, but none of them can code deeply or solve more complex architecture problems (e.g. developing APIs). They are more technical project managers or tool configurators. This is not my view of things either, but the result of our role concept.

My problem now is that I feel close to burnout. It's like my feet are already bleeding and I'm running an extra mile.

  1. The work is a lot and besides engineering I often spend 50% of my regular working time in meetings or customer contact. So I take the requirements, design a solution, develop it and then I get the complaints from the customers or have to manage their expectations.
  2. Often the project management commits unrealistic expectations or commits too short deadlines because of fear of customers. Even after several explanations, it is still not understood that writing code is one thing, but that it should also be tested, debugged and possibly dependent on suppliers, so we need a security surcharge on the time
  3. Some employees are living for work. After 9.5h I am often the first to leave, but I felt I did more because those who are there for a long time are often unorganized (inbox with >100 unread mails, no folder structures, ...). At the same time these are also the people who tried to reach me during my legal vacation and then react offended when I tell them that I wouldn't like to work during my first vacation since one year.
  4. I got a working student, who is not able to do frontend/backend coding but comes from the assembler/C++ area and has no idea about web. This causes more work for me than it brings and is seen by the management as a relief, because he supposedly built the same HTML design in 1/4 of my time. The background was a test task, but instead of styling all elements and creating them dynamically, he simply included many HTML elements as images. The reaction of the operative management was that if he learned this in such a short time, he also learns the "small" dynamic part quickly and can then support me. Summarized with point 2, they want a working student, who can't do frontend code, without Q&A directly on live systems of customers...

I think it is also related to the fact that we are growing very fast and almost all of us in the team are under 30 years old. There is a lack of experienced project managers and structures that can cope with this. I actually like the company, the pay is good and I get on well with the team. They also try to recruit new people, but we always just become project managers and more projects without becoming more devs.

I have already mentioned the problems and there is an understanding reaction, but nothing really changes.

How should I proceed further? My idea was, for example, to simply let it come to the point where a project comes to a halt because there is too much work to do. But I am always afraid that it will come back to me, even though everyone has a very good opinion of me and I am appreciated in the team

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  • A lot of great information in the post, but I'm not really sure what your question is. Could you provide a specific question that we could address? – Steve Aug 20 '20 at 18:54
  • I'm sorry, the question is hidden in the last paragraph. "How should I proceed further?". The question is whether I address the problem again or simply let it come down to the fact that projects are not finished or how I can do something for my personal feeling that I no longer feel so under pressure – 0x30 Aug 20 '20 at 20:25
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My problem now is that I feel close to burnout.

Stop working so much right now. If you don't and burnout it will be a bigger hit for the company (and you) than if you reduce your workload to a sustainable amount before it is too late. The company will learn how to cope with it (by hiring more devs, or managing expectations of the customers better or some other way), but if you keep making up for poor management from someone else, nothing will change until you are burnt out.

Go to your manager, address the situation and tell (not ask) that you will be working the contracted hours from now on, in order not to burn out.

After you made that step, you can start discussing together how to make most efficient use of your working hours which now officially are a limited resource.

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  • My concern is that if I can't really reduce the workload. I've set the bar high myself and secondly, we don't have fixed working hours. We are paid off tariff and all overtime is compensated by bonuses and salary. This means that if the work is not finished, I'll probably end up working longer or having a Saturday session just before the deadline – 0x30 Aug 22 '20 at 8:20
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    Then change jobs. "very lucrative consulting company" means a high productive high pressure environment. Can not handle the heat, do not work in the kitchen. THere are plenty of companies with less pressure. Working in a high end consulting company IS stressful. People do that normally for a time, then drop out into other company types. – TomTom Aug 23 '20 at 12:30
  • You're definitely right. However, we are a young company and I somehow have the claim that I would like to influence and change certain things before I just leave the ship. My plan is to stay with the company for another year and work on soft skills and some certifications in that time to continue my path towards Technical Architect. I can already tell from the offers I get from clients or headhunters that my supposed market value has increased significantly. Therefore, I hope to switch to a less stressful job with as no cut of salary as possible. – 0x30 Aug 25 '20 at 10:09

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