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I quit my old job because my boss was bullying me so I got this new one doing web development with ReactJS. While my new boss and colleagues are a lot nicer and friendlier, the nature of the job and project are really stressing me out and I want to quit already.

  1. too many meetings like 5 hrs a week are getting in the way of me doing much
  2. new to ReactJS and the concept of it
  3. colleagues and boss didn't provide much guidance or anything about what is expected of me and where everything is
  4. the code base is a complete mess that requires a lot of re-factoring and I feel uncomfortable doing this/takes a long time as I am new to ReactJS
  5. because my tasks take a while to do because I'm new to the job and no expectations for speed were communicated to me I feel very uncomfortable
  6. the lead developer is kind of rude and curt sometimes

I feel very stressed out and under a lot of pressure. What could I do to improve the situation?

I would like to feel more competent and comfortable in the new technology.

closed as off-topic by gnat, scaaahu, Philip Kendall, Dawny33, Kilisi Oct 27 '15 at 9:31

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – gnat, scaaahu, Philip Kendall, Dawny33, Kilisi
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • stop stressing comes to mind, your new workplace is giving you leeway to find your feet, relax and work your way through it professionally. Stressing is non productive and bad for your health, but you can only be stressed if you allow yourself to be. – Kilisi Oct 25 '15 at 4:41
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    @JoeStrazzere it's possible that this career is not the right choice, but it's hard to improve as a professional when you eschew difficulty. Taking a job in a field that is not as demanding can be a step in the opposite direction, toward stagnation and boredom. – mcknz Oct 25 '15 at 17:35
  • I suppose I dislike having to DIY everything, every time. Why bother having to go to an office everyday if I have to do it all myself anyway? I dislike the lack of mentor ship and training. – Kerry Oct 25 '15 at 18:23
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    @Kerry for what it's worth, most people experience that in most professional roles. The idea of school like "teach me everything and get me 100% on board and ready to go" is not how most companies work. Most companies don't have great onboarding programs and if they do, they still expect employees to take initiative, learn, etc.. – enderland Oct 25 '15 at 20:08
  • @enderland I think you are right. I like computers and programming but I don't like how poorly I've been schooled and trained and it really shows in the real world. I feel like I never know what I am doing. Makes for a very stressful experience. – Kerry Oct 25 '15 at 20:40
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Welcome to the world of software development in corporations. I have been working in that world for more than 25 years and I can assure you that the chances of improving any of the conditions you describe are almost zero. However, you can gradually change your attitude and expectations so that you experience less and less misery in it.

I shall address your points in a different order from how you listed them to make the solutions easier to understand.

the code base is a complete mess that requires a lot of re-factoring

The code bases of almost all software developed in corporations are a mess. This is because human thinking process is not crisp and clear as it is usually considered to be, but it is quite muddled most of the time. The clarity of the thought process is easily degraded by emotions and moods distinct from the thinking process itself. For example, the code developed by someone after an argument with the boss will invariably be worse than the code s/he develops when in a good mood. The attitude of management and therefore the environment in most corporations is such that it puts the people who have the actual skills to develop any product in a bad mood a lot of the time. Thus most code is developed when in a not so good mood and so it is messy. In fact, as a software developer you can expect yourself to be stuck neck deep in messy code most of your time. Being a software engineer is not very different from being a sanitation engineer.

Do not start your day with the expectation of dealing with clean, sensible code. Repeat in your mind several times the following before you start your work day:

software engineer == sanitation engineer; I get paid for it.

Learn the code base in small chunks, that is, do not expect to be able to understand the entire code base in a short time. Try to understand small parts of it, such as all the code for a few relatively simple features of the application. This can be made easier by working on bug investigation and fixing for the first few weeks in a large project rather than jumping into developing new code right away. You may want to talk to your team lead or manager about this.

too many meetings like 5 hrs a week are getting in the way of me doing much.

This is a bad habit that is spread by management. Keep in mind that most managers do not have any skills needed to actually contribute to product development. However, they have the desire to maintain as much power and control over as many things as possible and also show to their own managers how crucial their contribution is. The brilliant solution that managers and executives have come up with is meetings. It is not really a solution, but in their minds it is and in corporations what a manager assumes, feels or thinks always overrides reality. After a few years, the meeting habit also spreads to developers. You can expect to waste a lot of time in meetings, especially when working in large corporations.

You must regard meetings the same way as you would regard commute problems in the city you live in. It is just something you have to live with. Keep in mind that you get paid to waste time in meetings unlike in commute.

the lead developer is kind of rude and curt sometimes

Team leads in software development in corporations are invariably like that. Team leads tend to be relatively young and therefore have not had the time to mature in their roles. They tend to be caught between the manager(s) and the other team members, and combined with their own ambition, their stress levels are high. They are effectively new to their roles and are in a condition very similar to your own.

Depend less on the team lead and approach the other developers in your team as much as possible for help.

because my tasks take a while to do because I'm new to the job and no expectations for speed were communicated to me I feel very uncomfortable

Set your own pace. Do not worry about not meeting the expectations of your manager or colleagues. Work at a pace where you do not feel stressed out but at the same time you do not slack and waste time. This is something that comes with practice. Do not be afraid that sometime in the future you may get a feedback that your pace of work does not live up to their expectations, which they have not bothered to communicate to you. If and when that happens, tell your manager that no expectation was communicated to you before that time, you need more help with locating code and any other help you need.

Always follow the middle way between slacking off and stressing out when determining your pace of work. Following this middle way is much more important in the long run than any rewards you expect from working, such as praise, status, promotion, power or higher salary. Doing otherwise is like putting the cart in front of the horse; such a contraption will just become a problem for others on the road with their horses and carts in the right order.

new to ReactJS and the concept of it

As you change your approach in the way described for the previous point and your stress levels become lower, it will become easier to learn new technologies. Look for online resources about ReactJS or purchase some good books. Spend some time every day just on learning ReactJS rather than working on the project. You can also try working through some free tutorials. However, do not overwork or stay too late in the office for this. Again, do not expect to become an expert in a short time. Learning is a gradual process.

  • I want to work with nice happy people not a bunch of grouchy weirdos. I suppose I may look elsewhere. – Kerry Oct 26 '15 at 14:56
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It's going to take more than a month to come up to speed on a new project and toolset. Everyone understands that, and they aren't expecting you to become their top developer overnight. You need to give yourself the same respect and the same chance to grow into the job.

Meetings: talk to your boss about which ones you really need to attend and why. Some of them may be on the list because they'll give you useful background on the proect. Some may be things that will go away in another week or two. And many may be things you're welcome to attend when time permits but that are really optional. Understanding the priorities, what you can skip and what might be worth the time investment should make that less stressful. (My calendar has too many meetings on it, but most of them are things I can and should skip most of the time.)

Talking to your boss about expectations may also be useful, to confirm that you really are being too hard on yourself.

Deep breath. Let it out slowly. You can do this.

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  1. too many meetings like 5 hrs a week are getting in the way of me doing much

5 hours a week is borderline "a lot" for a non-manager, but if you're new it is a good way to get oriented. Is this a deal-breaker in long term? Perhaps if you get up to speed you'll be able to opt-out of some of these.

  1. new to ReactJS and the concept of it

You knew this going in, right? Being new to something and being paid to work on it is a privilege. It means they have trust in your abilities. There are people who can only work with tools they've learned a long time ago. The fact that you put yourself in this job communicates that you're not one of them, but if you are, then you're in for a bad time.

  1. colleagues and boss didn't provide much guidance or anything about what is expected of me and where everything is.

Because they want you to figure it out in your own way. And to support this they've also given you slack with time and expectations. This the way that a lot of people learn stuff and many also feel that others should learn the same way that they did.

IMHO, the software developer profession is, in general, TERRIBLE (the worst) at teaching and mentorship. You gotta DIY it.

  1. the code base is a complete mess that requires a lot of re-factoring and I feel uncomfortable doing this/takes a long time as I am new to ReactJS

Again, that's a privilege and they want YOU to make it work. That's why you're there and that's why you're paid.

  1. because my tasks take a while to do because I'm new to the job and no expectations for speed were communicated to me I feel very uncomfortable

You should be glad, for now, it is likely their way of allowing you to get up to speed.

  1. the lead developer is kind of rude and curt sometimes

It could be worse, right? Give it time.

  • @teego1967: To be paid is a privilege, privilege and again - privilege. And it could be worse. I am not sure: is that a serious answer or just a practical joke? – Nerevar Oct 25 '15 at 16:13
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    I guess that's why I'm so unhappy with my career choice - lack of mentor-ship and trailing. I find it stressful to have to figure EVERYTHING out for yourself when you have holes and gaps in your knowledge to begin with. – Kerry Oct 25 '15 at 18:25
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    Look at it this way, your co-workers and bosses might not even be able to help you. They might not know the platform well enough to teach it, nor have time to do so. You really should be glad that you have the freedom to explore it without someone on your case about deliverables right away. – teego1967 Oct 25 '15 at 19:06
  • @Nerevar, I have no idea what you're talking about. ?? – teego1967 Oct 25 '15 at 20:21

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