7

I have been working as a software developer for over 1.5 years now. Over this time I have changed jobs twice and I am currently in my 3rd job. The problem is that, in all of my jobs, I quickly start to develop negative mentality regarding work, bosses etc. I understand that no job is perfect, and in fields like IT there is always some pressure of deadlines, bugs etc. But still I start to focus too much on negatives and get demotivated, only to eventually quit and find another job, and the cycle goes on.

For instance, in my previous jobs, there have been some instances where my boss was not happy with my work and said something to me in passive aggressive tone, or he asked me to work on a weekend (paid) to fulfill some deadline when I was too tired. Such situations were not very common in my past companies but sometimes they did come up.

Whenever something like this happened, I started to develop negativity and lose motivation for my job, and start to feel like being exploited and eventually I quit. Though I understand that no job is perfect and such situations come up in every job, but I am not able to forget/ignore such things and suck it up to keep working like most people do.

One of the reason that I developed this mentality is that, since childhood, I have always lived in restrictive south Asian household. My parents have been controlling throughout my childhood and I didn't like it at all. Due to this reason, I associate the passive aggressive tone of boss and his demand to take some extra work, work on some weekend as someone trying to control and exploit me which I am not able to handle due to past experiences.

How to handle this internal fight in my mind, ignore work pressure of my jobs and bosses, and suck it up to keep working like most people do?

3
  • Deadlines exists. You are typically expected to meet those even with an extra effort. If you don't like having a boss, then you might want to consider freelancing or similar so you are your own boss. Apr 30 at 7:36
  • 8
    Paid weekend work hardly seems exploitive…seems like you haven‘t actually had a bad employer yet. Apr 30 at 10:56
  • Perhaps you need to find an alternative way of working, e.g. working as a consultant so you would essentially be working for yourself.
    – DaveG
    Apr 30 at 21:06

6 Answers 6

11

There's always going to be stuff to deal with on a job. That's why it's called "work". And people are flawed, so no matter where you go, there's going to be someone who gets under your skin.

The real question comes from what you are doing to cope with an unpleasant truth.

At work:

  • Take your breaks
  • Stand up at your desk, and stretch periodically
  • (use with caution) visit with a peer, and blow off steam
  • Leave on time
  • take your vacations
  • when you feel under the weather, actually use your sick time
  • limit your caffeine intake, because it will put you on edge

Outside:

  • commit to a workout, yoga, or other physical practice
  • eat healthy foods
  • drink enough water
  • adequate sleep at night
  • attend live comedy, stage, and music events to invigorate yourself
  • spend time in nature to ground yourself

Work doesn't love you back! A therapist can be a good sounding board, but ultimately we all have to have good coping habits for what life throws our way. Combined, the things I've listed here have the potential to change your brain chemistry and mood in a far less damaging way than any pill.

There are limits to how much to put up with on a job, but consider what you're bringing to the table. Your coping skills, or lack of them, will travel with you from job to job.

3
  • 2
    Limiting my caffeine in take would turn me into the grinch that stole christmas. No way I would perform in any real way without 4 - 6 cups of arabica in my system per day.
    – Neil Meyer
    May 1 at 15:31
  • 7
    @NeilMeyer Caffeine addiction might be socially acceptable but it is still an addiction. I assure you, you could perform without caffeine.
    – Roland
    May 2 at 10:21
  • I suffer from migrianes. Caffeine along with paracetomol is what most migriane mix consists of. Caffeine just simply agrees with me.
    – Neil Meyer
    May 3 at 7:56
7

My parents have been controlling throughout my childhood

The first thing to do is take ownership of your problem and stop blaming others and projecting old situations on to new ones. They are not in charge of you now and it's just work, not something you cannot walk away from.

Everyone has to do this at some point, it's a normal part of maturing. The longer it takes you to do, the longer it holds you back in life.

6
  • 3
    Unless you're a trained and certified mental health professional, I'd refrain from giving advice such as "take ownership of your problem and stop blaming others and projecting old situations". Unresolved issues from one's childhood can cause some serious trauma, that should only be tackled with the help of a certified expert. This "suck it up, buttercup" internet tough guy attitude surely isn't going to help.
    – mrodo
    May 3 at 8:00
  • 4
    There is a difference between blaming a negative situation on other people (and giving up agency) and acknowledging that your history and previous relationships have shaped you into who you are today. Understanding the sources and workings your distressing thought patterns can be helpful to find coping strategies. Unfortunately, it can also be unproductive brooding. Consulting a mental health professional is the best route, but it is okay to try to understand yourself. May 3 at 8:32
  • 1
    It's a common issue, we can't all afford the time and money for mental health professionals of dubious value.
    – Kilisi
    May 3 at 10:17
  • 1
    @TheHowlingHoaschd thats a fair enough comment, people are all different.
    – Kilisi
    May 9 at 13:16
  • 1
    I think the important bit for OP would be: You can blame others as much as you like, but that doesn't help you.
    – gnasher729
    May 17 at 0:03
6

I see two potential issues here.

here have been some instances where my boss was not happy with my work and said something to me in passive aggressive tone

Use of passive-aggressive tone is a no-go for a healthy work environment. Unfortunately depending on the size of the company, the question is not if this unprofessional behaviour exists, but if it's the exception or the norm. From what you say, in your case it seems to be the exception, so that is already a good thing. If it was the exception, the solution on working on a toxic work environment would be to learn to ask the right questions in job interviews, so you can filter out the toxic workplaces. Another property of a healthy work environment is that they avoid having people work overtime (on weekend or more than 10 hours/day). This can be done by analyzing what led to that situation when this happens, and what can be done to avoid it.

On the second issue about how to "toughten up". From what you say you need some professional help. A good therapist will help you process your childhood and other issues you might have, so it doesn't affect you anymore as it does now. A good professional will also help you deal with toxic behaviour in a way that fits you most. The right way to deal with difficult people or with bad situations is very individual, and we can't give you concrete advice on how to deal with it.

In short term, for the motivation you can focus on positive things, even if they seem small. For example: did you get something done, even if it was small? Could you help someone? Was someone nice to you?

5

Seek some professional help.

If you feel like you have some unresolved issues due to your past (you mentioned your upbrining in your question), that hinder you in your job and daily life, the best thing you can do for yourself is seeking the help of a certified mental health professional (I.E. psychologist).

When it comes to mental health, you'd be better off not listening to random suggestion from strangers on the internet, but to a trained professional who can actually help you solve your issues.

2

You being too tired is the red flag to me. This indicates burnout to me. Are you not just simply pushing yourself too hard?

Very few people in IT management truly understand how exhausting prolonged coding sessions can be. This is high level thinking and it takes real mental effort to do. Just because you do computer work does not mean you are not working REALLY! hard.

The problem is often compounded by critical technical workers being given project lead jobs that they are not qualified to do simply because they hope the bump in pay and title will keep them around.

Try limiting your pure coding time to 5 hours a day. Anything more and mental fatigue throws the quality of your work off a cliff.

Find other ways to be productive for the other 4 hours of your work day but do realise there is a cap to what a person is capable of in a day.

0

That sounds a lot like resentment to me. And it sounds like you feel you are not in control. What is it exactly that they do to trigger the resentment?

If you feel you are not in control you might blame others and resent them. Own your choices - someone asks you to work on the weekend - they can't force you. Remember that it is your choice and then live with the consequences. Either decide to work on the weekend but then own your choice or do not.

I am afraid there is not enough information given and every person is a bit different, so it is difficult to give general advice. It might be a problem with your attitude, but it might also be a work environment, which sucks life and soul out of you. All I can say is - this sounds very familiar and I have found myself in a similar pattern.

What did I do to break out? It is a constant process - but one of the things might be to focus on the joy - what can you do yourself to bring more joy to your workplace and be more in control? It can be little things - start with the little things - they are important.

Another thing that always helped for me was talking with people. Just regularly talking with the people I resented (didn't matter about what) magically made the resentment go away.

Also, being a cog in the machine might not be for you. Explore other possibilities like being self-employed or moving to a management position - where you have more control over what you do.

Last, but not least - appreciate what you do have. This is an acquired skill. You can start journaling every day - what was good, what did I enjoy, what made me happy, what am I grateful for?

Seeking a mental health professional or therapy was suggested - might be helpful. You might also go for coaching - this is often more practical and - in my experience - more focused on a solution. Also, it will not label you as "needing help" which some people have a problem with. You are just seeking a professional, just like you do to get your windows cleaned or your car maintained.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .