I've worked at my current place of employment for three years now and have progressed from mid level to 'lead' developer. It's primarily a PHP/Laravel based position.
The reason I say 'Lead' developer is because I feel the position far overstretches what would traditionally be included in the role. To briefly summarise what I do;
- I lead and oversee over ten projects varying in size between small internal tools to large scalable business critical applications.
- I lead two teams, a total of 7 developers, one team is remote in another country.
- I'm solely responsible for architecture of all new projects, features, database maintenance and release deployments.
- I'm also responsible for maintenance of the AWS infrastructure.
- I'm the initial point of contact for all new developments, bug triage and day to day queries.
- Responsible for recruitment of new developers.
I took this position nearly a year ago as realistically, I was the only one in the company with enough experience to take the role after the previous developer left.
When I first started at the company just before covid, it was a very different environment to what it is now, much more appealing. For context, the company and I are based in the UK and I earn just under £48,000 p.a. while this was a significant increase from my previous salary, I think average wages have increased significantly during the last few years and my salary has not followed this trend even with the new role. I'm also aware I'm being paid much less than the previous lead developer, circa 20,000 less. Again, for context, I have 12 years experience in software development, primarily PHP. From looking at job adverts, I feel I could earn roughly what I do now in a senior developer position.
Additionally, the benefits package is not good. The holiday entitlement is the bare minimum required by law with no requests for additional holidays entertained. Flexible working is not officially recognised. I have regularly worked unpaid overtime, sometimes 80 hours a week for extended periods and when informed of this, my line manager has stated that he never asked me to do this. I have since stopped doing this and this has meant that things are slipping and increasing my level of anxiety.
A year on and I'm feeling burnt out, my mental health has declined and I'm significantly less happy than I was beforehand which has had a significant impact on my personal life. My performance has been decreasing which has added to the anxiety I have started experiencing late this year.
I have tried to express several times that things need changing, the codebase and infrastructure of our leading project needs significant updates which I do not have time to do and keeps getting pushed back despite reiterating this. I have tried to explain that there would usually be other members of a team to take some of this work such as DevOps and product owners, I have been told that there wouldn't be enough work for them to do full time so they will not be hiring them, instead I can hire more developers in the remote team in another country.
When I have expressed that the stress is causing detrimental expects to my health, I have been told to 'just don't stress it man'. Which was entirely unhelpful.
I have also expressed that there is difficulty in utilising the remote team effectively as there is a clear communication and language barrier. The previous developer was native to the country so spoke to them in their native language. This now causes issues in understanding for me and them.
This has got me to the point where I know I must go as I don't believe things will improve. I've thought about it a lot over the festive period. However I can not shake the guilt over leaving and I am also experiencing thoughts of whether I am good enough because of my self perceived decline in performance since later November. Most of the guilt stems from the fact that the only logical person in the company who can replace me is a member of the UK team who is still on probation as he's a recent new hire.
I actually had a breakdown around October caused by over working, stress and some additional family issues. I had to continue working as taking time off wasn't an option.
My question is; does my situation as I've described it sound correct? Is my workload too high and unmaintainable or should I just suck it up and carry on?
If I am thinking correctly, why am I feeling guilty for wanting to move on?
Also, how do I combat the feelings of not being good enough which have come about this year?