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In my previous organization, the team I was on had to work with several other teams that left a bad taste in my mouth. Over the course of several years, upper leadership eventually took notice and began to take steps to rectify those teams, but by then I'd already become exhausted. I moved to a new organization in hopes that it'd be a clean slate that I could be more relaxed in. This mostly ended up being the case, but even in the new organization I've found I continue to have little patience for the fatal mistakes I encountered in my previous organization.

For instance, say some engineer with 10 years of experience one day pops in with some massive redesign of the company's architecture that they worked on alone for the past several months without telling anyone. I know how to constructively handle this. It's an easy conversation to have with leadership to make sure we're keeping better track of what's getting worked on, and put into place some forum to talk about architecture changes to encourage engineers to discuss changes they might want to make more openly. Despite this, I can't help but find myself distracted: "This rather senior engineer should know better, and our organization's performance matrix makes it very clear that even fairly junior engineers are expected to socialize their changes well in advance. Why do I have to deal with this?", and it often blows over into feeling burnt out in my personal time after work.

Normally I'm rather happy to help. I've gotten feedback from my peers & other teams in the organization that I'm outgoing & really appreciated for how much I offer to help others. If there is a new hire that doesn't understand part of our architecture, a junior engineer that is struggling with something above their level, or just day-to-day questions as people learn new things, I'm very happy to help them. When it comes to elementary expectations though, I can't help but feel some sort of PTSD from my previous organization. It's not necessarily impacting my engagements with others in the new organization, but it leaves me feeling exhausted every few weeks when something like this happens, which I don't enjoy.

How can I reduce or eliminate this exhaustion?

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    "I can't help but feel some sort of PTSD from my previous organization" Talk to a medical professional. Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 7:20
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    You will not be able to find an organisation without "stupid". The only way to cope, is to work on your reception of it. I would second the other comment: talk to a medical professional about it.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 7:31
  • Is everything else around you going okay? Home life? Family/kids/partner? Cost of living struggles? If I've got life happening outside of work, my patience tails off. Professional help might be needed as others have suggested. Are you generally happy in your role/field? It might be that moving to a position that has less responsibilities may be what you need. Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 8:02
  • Home life is all good. No cost of living struggles. It's just work. I'm rather happy in my role/field, aside from what I mentioned previously.
    – Drudge
    Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 8:18
  • If the company wants to pay me to undo a bunch of mistakes/inefficiencies other people created, or do some menial task because they won't invest in a better solution, I've learned to shrug my shoulders and be thankful for the steady job. Otherwise it's very easy to get bitter for no reason.
    – RC_23
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 4:53

3 Answers 3

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You go to work, you get paid.

Cut back on the overtime (if any).

If your boss wants to know how the business can be more efficient, you can highlight these things.

Even the best people sometimes misstep. They may have distractions in their own lives, or they may be overworked, or be getting hassled by their manager to do it a certain way.

At the end of the day, you'll never know why some people do some things. It's pointless to try, unless you are their manager and can work with them to change behaviour.

The only thing you can control is your reaction.

And this is just a reminder that no job is immune to bullshit. Cab drivers will get flat tires. Baristas will have abusive customers. Shop keepers will have thefts. This is just the specific type of bullshit you have to deal with in your job.

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I find the best way to relieve mental exhaustion quickly and effectively is to do something physical. Take up a sport, hit a bag... it doesn't really matter what it is. Anything requiring a bit of concentration and physical effort.

You're only having this issue intermittently, so it should be fairly easy to handle. Don't wait until it's every week and don't let the actions of others dictate your morale.

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For me what really helps is to remind myself that this is not my responsability.

I know it sounds kind of bad, but for me that feeling you described came from feeling like I was failing even if it was someone else screw up. I'd feel frustrated because even though I was giving my best, things would go bad.

So, remind yourself that it's not on you. Do your part and if someone else doesn't do theirs, then it's their problem.

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  • I'm not sure I'd completely agree that it's not my problem. Sure, it should probably be taken care of elsewhere, but if no one does anything about it, then I'm going to have even more work later. From the example in the original question, I had to take time out of my day away from things I enjoy working on and sit in meetings for over a month when the team got together to figure out how we were going to rectify the surprise to get it in. It's cheaper to play the role of glue & prevent this from repeating, but in both cases it is undesirable for me
    – Drudge
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 8:18
  • Germans have a phrase for it; "nicht meine Baustelle." Not my building site. One day I learnt to accept that there are things I can't change and don't need to change and it really is someone else's problem. Since then my life has been simpler.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 11:33
  • I totally understand where you are coming from. It's very difficult to not try to see wrong things and have the urge to fix them, specially when I know this is comingo to bite me in the ass later. But there's a saying that says you can either be happy or be right. My answer is definetely not about having a smooth business, is about being personally "not exhausted". So yeah, things will fail, projects will not be completed. Work will not be as efficient as possible. But at the end, that's the company problem. Not yours. Don't save their business at expense of your mental health Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 13:57
  • It's not an urge. I was told I had to be part of those meetings because I was part of the core team
    – Drudge
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 7:29

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