2

Context: I work in a big tech company as a full stack developer. I changed the country in which I live, the language I use and basically everything in my life to get this job. I was expecting it to be in every single thing better than my previous job, which was already great and which I left just because my current one can be described as.. one of those offers that "you can't refuse to try out".

Now, I've worked here for 1 year and half and found myself getting more and more stressed. I don't enjoy my life anymore, I don't really have the desire to go to work in the morning, I feel overwhelmed and unable to keep doing what I do every day. I feel like I am failing and I had a couple of close-to-panic-attack moments. I believe work pressure (and work pace) is the one thing which is hitting me hard, when summed up with all the other things, but I don't really know.

I took one week of vacation in August and was really detached from work, then when I got back it felt like four times worse.

One day that I was extremely sad and depressed, I started looking for new job opportunities and was offered a different position back in my home country, with my previous company, with my previous team. I worked there for years, I know how the work is, the people are, I know that it worked great for me before and I believe it should work great for me again. They use an amazing stack of technologies and really have very little stress and pressure, except the normal amount expected from any job.

But I also have this feeling of.. am I failing? Accepting a huge pay cut (home country) and maybe going back to what worked before for me, while instead I should try to make things different here, adapt and evolve? Am I the problem in this situation?

I don't value money, except that it should be enough to live a happy life.. so I am searching for a job which can help me live a happy life, as I could have all the money of the world but if I am trapped in a job with which in the morning I don't want to step out of the bed.. I feel it would be pointless.

I hope I phrased this in a correct way for a question, and I apologize if it just feels like a sequence of thoughts on my current situation.

1
  • 1
    There's no possible way we can answer this. We don't know details about you, we don't know details about your situation. I'd suggest finding someone local to talk this through with at length. If you don't have someone whose insights you trust, it may be worth talking to a psychiatrist, since some of this sounds like it could be depression and that may be treatable.
    – keshlam
    Sep 27, 2023 at 20:36

3 Answers 3

11

I'm torn to answer this - on the one hand - the question as asked really comes down to personal choice (which we can't answer).

But this topic is rather important and I think there are some aspects of your question we can answer (or perhaps more correctly - we can raise the questions you need to ask yourself in order to arrive at the answer that is right for you).

The first thing I'm going to say is this:

There are some people who will work 60/70/80 hours a week, not because of the Money, but because that is just who they are.
There are some people who will work the same house - and that is purely because they are motivated by success.
There are some people who have the capacity to work that sort of schedule, but choose not to because they place different priorities on different values.

There is no right or wrong answer in this regard as it is up to the individual to decide what works for them

Before you make any decisions - I will add this: From what you've described 'offer you can't refuse' type jobs - I'm suspecting a Big corporation with deep pockets - it means that likely they will have some form of employee counselling service available (or it may be called something different) - Before you do anything - find out what services your company offers and leverage them to the fullest.

Now - onto the work:

When you ask "Am I the problem?" - I don't know the answer to that - but there's a number of things you've mentioned in your question that could (obligatory - not a therapist) be contributing to your mental health state that are not directly work related:

  • Living in a different country. I grew up in the UK, I now live in NZ - Moving Countries is hard. When you are a young man, it starts out as a new adventure and everything is exciting and different and exotic and new. Then as time goes on, you start to see the cracks in society, you see the potholes in the road, you see the beggars on the street - you realise that the new country you thought was so much better than your old country is really much the same with the same sorts of problems.

  • Speaking a different language. I haven't personally been through this - but Language is so inextricably linked to our sense of who we are. I'm English, I speak English, I think English, I make English references all the time (Dont Mention Ze Var!) - fortunately for me, NZ is a former English Colony so there's a lot to make me feel comfortable. Feeling like you are no longer the person you think you are is distressing - especially if you don't necessarily like who you are becoming.

  • You've changed everything about your life and now you feel lost in the middle of an ocean, with nothing to keep you grounded, yes? That's not unheard of. If you haven't taken care to maintain something that keeps you grounded, then this can happen. Could be a romantic relationship, Could be a relationship with your family back home, Could be a Hobby that you did in your home country that you've brought through to your new country - but you need something to keep you grounded.

In short - it could be that there are external factors at work here (that are big and major) that could be sapping your energies, making work even worse.

Consider this - let's say you can handle a maximum of 50 stress points on any given day - and work is normally about 20-30 stress points (completely arbitrary and made-up) - if everything else in life is going swimmingly, then it's easy to get through. But life in general has stresses involved - so let's say a baseline of just existing is 10 stress points - we are getting close to the limit, but still have breathing room. Now let's assume that these existential questions are giving you 15-20 stress points for a given day - you are now hitting or exceeding your maximum, leaving you feeling the way you do. So it might be a case these outside factors are the straw that is breaking the camels back.

That said - it could also be work itself - in the above example I gave work a high stress points value. Some marquee Employers are notorious for offering the best and demanding the best - and it's no shame in saying that the work pace in such a high-performance environment is too much for you and you want to take it down a couple of notches - see above the point about questions we can't answer, because they are fundamentally only for the individual to decide.

It could be that it's not the work pace that's the issue but organizational problems or management problems or any of the other myriad of problems that can occur in a company - in which case, you could sit down and make a list of what are the things that are affecting you and what can you do to help make them better. As an Example here - Jocko Willink (Ex Navy Seal and allround Unit) does a discussion on Toxic work environments - such as how to deal with a Micromanager and his view is that you can take actions within yourself to work with someone like that - such as being overly forthcoming with information so that a Micromanager feels like they have the full picture and can then start to trust a little.

In short - this isn't an answer to the question per se - and I nearly closed it because it's so close to the line as to what we can answer - but I feel the topic is too important - and here's my best attempt to give you what you need to think about in order to make the decision as to what is best for you.

6
  • 2
    I'm puzzled why anyone would downvote this answer ... so I upvoted it. If I could do it, I would upvote it twice. Sep 27, 2023 at 22:11
  • 2
    @Sharpenologist Well thank you internet Stranger. I suspect it's because I haven't 'answered' the question and said it is unanswerable - but eh, it's the internet, I'm a tough cookie. Sep 27, 2023 at 22:12
  • 1
    Good that you're a tough cookie [I'll take your word for it]. And while you didn't specifically answer the OP's question, your answer does contain valuable perspectives on some of the 'real' issues behind the question [of course we can't know exactly what is going on in the OP's head ... but a person with a good amount of work experience, and a healthy dose of empathy can make some VERY good guesses]. It's simply a good and thoughtful answer. Now I must mount my trusty steed and ride off in to the sunset ... or something like that. Cheers! Sep 27, 2023 at 22:24
  • 3
    Pretty enormous difference from moving from one English speaking country to another with all the same laws basically and most everything else. Than moving to another country with a totally different culture and language.
    – Kilisi
    Sep 27, 2023 at 22:25
  • 2
    @Kilisi - Oh definitely, I mean even to NZ it was a big culture shock - despite so much shared history. Sep 27, 2023 at 22:25
5

There's a lot going on in this question, but let me give you my perspective on it.

  1. We all have limitations. We all aren't capable of performing every job known to mankind. Knowing what you can and can't do and accepting that reality will help you. I know that in my current profession there are many things that I don't know and many jobs that I can't do. I also know what I am good at and so I focus on those areas. I strive to learn more and to be and do better, but I don't beat myself up over the things that I lack.

  2. Everyone has a place where they "fit". Not everyone fits every place. It sounds like you don't quite fit at this new job but you fit almost perfectly at your previous job. I'd be happier earning less money at a place where I fit then trying to make myself fit somewhere I don't.

  3. I'll take personal satisfaction and happiness over money every day of the week. If you're miserable in your current job, and it sounds like you are, no amount of money will change that.

1

The job is both too stressful for you, and you are the problem.

Your issue is a very common one, it's called culture shock and you're feeling it the most in the exact timeframe most people feel it the most.

If you stick through it it gets better, to the point where it's basically your country in some ways. If you don't, that's fine as well, you've had an adventure and been exposed to new and wonderful things which is more than most get to do in their lives. Most foreigners in my locale don't last 2 years. They never developed the strategies to deal with the local people, situations, climate and everything else.

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