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This all started before the global pandemic. At the time, I was working at our office location. I was completing my work, but I didn't feel like the job was fulfilling anymore. I just felt like I was putting in time and not really accomplishing anything. I began searching for a new job, and I was going through interview processes for multiple potential new employers. Then suddenly the global pandemic became very serious. All my interviewing processes halted. I was phoned by one of them and told that they'd love to offer me the job, but they are no longer hiring due to the pandemic. I felt like I was going to be trapped in my current job forever. Some other things in my personal life happened around this time involving health concerns of a loved one. Work from home orders were issued, and I began "working" from home. My life seemed like it was turned upside down.

I could never get my work machine to connect to my monitor at home. I tried everything. I think they're just incompatible. So trying to work on a tiny laptop screen with a huge monitor with my personal computer connected to it was very difficult. So I continued looking for jobs during the time I was supposed to be working. I figured that I'd have a new job soon enough, so I didn't bother getting too deep into my work, since I figured I'd just have to abandon it, and the company would just start it from scratch anyway. The problem is, it was suddenly very difficult to even get an interview. I got into a video game during my work time, and I became quite addicted, and wasted so much work time playing it. It's now been nearly half a year, and I've accomplished next to nothing at work. I feel terrible for what I've done, and if I could do it all over, I'd do my best to make sure I have a productive work environment at home, free from distraction. Unfortunately, it's been so long of doing nothing, that if I start now, there's no possible way that I could get enough work in before I am found out. I've shared my situation with my significant other, and they think that I should just try to put as much work in now as I can, and hope they don't notice. I think that there is no possible way that my employer won't notice. I think the only way is to come clean, and hope we can try to work things out. I am fairly certain that this will get me fired, and that it'll happen soon. I've still had no luck applying for jobs, so this isn't something I am ready for.

My question is more of a cry for help. I don't know what I should do. All I know is that I messed up, big time. I have no one to blame but myself, but I don't think it is possible to fix this on my own. I'd really appreciate any advice I can get. I hope readers won't be too upset with me for being such a colossal waste of an employee.

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    This question will likely be closed as off-topic. A bit of human advice first: Take a deep breath, there is nothing in your story that can't be fixed. You probably will lose your current job at some point but your life will go on. Find someone to review your resume, and just keep trying. You will find a job, maybe not your dream job, and if you do well at that job your life will start looking up too.
    – Ramon Snir
    Sep 5 '20 at 16:44
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    If your employer hasn't noticed for 6 months, what makes you think you won't have another 6 months to catch up?
    – Kaz
    Sep 5 '20 at 17:56
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    @joe sounds like their manager should be fired too
    – bharal
    Sep 5 '20 at 18:37
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    @bharal Perhaps they have their minds full of managing the situation. Many places have gone half-speed during these times. Sep 5 '20 at 18:42
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    @joe managers should talk with subordinates weekly, or every two weeks. if they're not doing that, they're not really managing. that someone can do... nothing... for 6 months means extraordinary failure in the part of management.
    – bharal
    Sep 5 '20 at 22:45
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Right now you are making poor decisions. However things are not hopeless. There is a lot you can do to fix this situation.

Tackle your problems one by one. First, resolve that you are going to spend 8 hours a day working and doing nothing else. Take all your distractions away, especially the games which are chewing up your time. Uninstall them and give them to your SO.

Get your SO to help you with your distractions. Maybe they can check on you every couple of hours to make sure you have been working. Maybe you can keep a log of what you have done.

Your first piece of work should be to tackle your technical issues. Buy whatever you need to get a good machine that will connect to work. Get your company to give you some help and advice. Maybe tell them your home machine failed and you need to buy more. Find out what setups work for other people. Now you are in a position to make real progress.

Don't worry about trying to catch up quickly. If you haven't been "found out " in six months it's unlikely to happen soon, especially if you start making real progress soon. Once you have a normal work schedule things will probably settle down soon, and a few extra hours each week will get you caught up.

If you try all of this and you still can't work a normal schedule, consider that you may be mildly depressed. That's not that unusual. Consulting a professional might help. Many companies have programs that allow this.

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    @bharal: A partner is not a nanny, yes. But why shouldn't she help OP? That's what partners do all the time (and what they should do). Would you also say that seeing a professional therapist is bs because somebody else looks after one's problems then?!
    – guest
    Sep 7 '20 at 7:27
  • @guest a partner is not a nanny. ur partner should help you, but they cannot help you make changes in your life. only you can do that. they can provide emotional support, and help you with plans. they should not be acting like your mother.
    – bharal
    Sep 7 '20 at 12:01
  • Minor note: the OP referred to their SO only as "they", here you say "she", we don't know if that's the case. Sep 7 '20 at 12:45
  • Oops, missed that. Sep 7 '20 at 14:09
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Who am I?

I used to be addicted to games myself. Games became my outlet to achieve "accomplishments" I was unable to achieve otherwise. This instant gratification became my self-esteem. It was not worth the time and money. To come to this conclusion took a few years and thousands.

And I was let go during a downsizing in one company when I was very addicted to gaming because my performance sucked and that was noticed for months already. If you only admit it to yourself now that you have not done the work the company intended for you do not worry. Someone else has noticed already and is quiet about it (or covers you).

I am still addicted to smoking after having stopped three times and failed three times. Last attempt I was off and clean after over six months. And I started again when my marriage started failing and smoking became my outlet to have social company.

So I have been in some holes a few times and managed to "crawl" out of some. What helped me?

Handle the addiction

First off: Congratulations having made the first step by admitting you have an addiction! Now that you are aware of this, follow the advice from DJClayworth and uninstall the game(s). This is hard. Make it an accomplishment (see next part) of "Not playing games". Make it a daily, weekly, monthly accomplishment that you can tick off and be proud of. If you re-install or spend time on other games reset your accomplishment. This will suck and feel bad.

Getting rid of an addiction takes time and effort.

Make a plan of accomplishments

Your company wants work done. Make a list of what you have to do. Break it down into dailies, weeklies and monthlies. Then get those done. Add every new objective as it comes along.

You want things done. Make another list to do. Again break it down. Then get those done.

There are two psychological things you can accomplish with this list.

  • a) You know what you (and your company) want. At start it will be overwhelming.
  • b) Gradually over time as you accomplish objectives it will make you feel better.

You will see what you can do. You will learn where you expect too much from yourself and in turn build more realistic expectation of yourself. This will make you feel better over time again. Plus it makes you a more valuable employee.

Tools

For the list: Any way to write and store information will do. Good old fashioned paper, a file on a computer or more arcane methods like stone carving will do.

For references: TedX talks have a lot of options about themes like addiction and other psychological effects. Not all of them good - most are decent, some are brilliant. Do not make it a new addiction! Find some that work for and help you. For me it was Chris Voss and negotiating tactics that helped me.

Final

Being human means that sometimes we fail. Some never notice, some like you admit it. What you do next is what counts.

Good luck!

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You did nothing for half a year, and no one noticed or complained about it? Not wanting to depress you further, but it seems no one is actually waiting/depending on the work you normally do. Maybe you have one those bullshit jobs the lately deceased David Graeber told us about.

However this is no excuse to play video games 40 hours a week during work hours. I think if you get your act together now and concentrate on getting done something you can show in case your manager actually starts managing, there is a good chance your long period of slacking won't get noticed. No need to suddenly make 100+ hours workweeks, normal 40 hours workweeks will suffice.

On top of that maybe you can, with managerial approval, see if you can contribute something more useful to the company. That way you will get a more fulfilling worklife.

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Resolve to do better.

Habits (perhaps even addictions) are difficult to change, but not impossible. You have identified in yourself a bad habit of not working, choosing instead to play games - having identified the problem, you can change it.

Don't beat yourself up.

"I hope readers won't be too upset with me for being such a colossal waste of an employee" - you're talking about yourself as though you are a failure. That puts you in a mindset to fail in however you try to fix it, too. You are not a failure. You may have been failing recently, but that is a behaviour, not an inherent part of who you inescapably are.

Seek professional help.

Describing this as a "cry for help" suggests there may be more going on here than is on the surface. Consult a medical professional.

Accept your significant other's help.

They presumably know you well, and they presumably have your best interests at heart. You may consider that following their advice might not solve the problem, but at this point, you can't be sure what will, and anything will be a step in the right direction. Discuss with them what you intend to do, and how they might be able to support you.

It will be you that needs to fix this.

Neither your significant other nor anyone else can fix it for you, even if they can give advice and support. Do not depend on them to make you do anything. Discuss with them what to do, and do whatever is agreed - without expecting them to push you into it or check up on you or measure you.

Change your work environment.

Ideally, not just working in a different room from your gaming PC, but a completely different building e.g. going back to your work office, if local lockdown rules allow. As an aside, I think a potential silver lining of the lockdown is that more people will have more opportunities to work from home if it suits them, for example it might really benefit single parents or carers who can take on well-paid highly-skilled jobs and do them from home... but, me personally? I hate working from home. I'm rubbish at it. I get distracted far too easily. It sounds like you do too. You are not the only one to struggle with it, but you must change things so you can manage it.

Keep looking for a new job.

There's a fair chance you might need one soon, whether you want one or not. Practice displaying a positive representation of yourself to the outside world, such as potential new employers - and try to believe in that positive representation yourself.

Do your current job.

I don't think 100 hour weeks will help - you may or may not catch up, but you'll certainly exhaust yourself to the point of destruction. Just do your job, full time, as you're supposed to.

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