I've been with my company for three years now. I've been the only developer on a major project with a major client for the previous year and a half. For much of that time I was fine with this arrangement, even as responsibilities increased and the project went into production, as there would often be several weeks of downtime between sprints, for testing, planning, and to allow other teams to build on what I had created.
About two months ago, we suffered several systemic failures of the software in a very short period of time, all but two of which were from outside influences which we could not have anticipated (and, in fairness, I immediately owned up to the ones caused by my code or work). I was removed from responsibility on all other projects to go into full-blown triage mode. I spent the better part of a month finding the depth of the issues and fixing the underlying data in coordination with the client and the rest of the team.
Now we're finding that more and more design decisions we made a year and a half ago are coming back to haunt us. I've implemented and thrown away fixes because we realized they weren't sufficient. We also know there are more issues outstanding which we haven't begun to analyze. On top of this, we need to implement changes requested by the client, and are likely to miss the client's deadline for the second time in a row because my focus has been directed on the more urgent issues. We also know we have more to implement for our internal users, which was agreed before all the issues started coming up, and subsequently put onto the backburner.
Basically, I don't see an end in sight to this project within the next few months. I'm not sure it will transition to maintenance mode within any reasonable time frame. I'm less and less motivated to work on it every day, especially as it seems that every few days a new issue will crop up just as I'm finishing fixing the last one. I fear that if nothing is done, I'll continue in this Groundhog Day-esque cycle of implementing ad-hoc, insufficient fixes, with no promise they'll ever see the light of day. I feel pressure (admittedly of my own creation) to do everything I can to make us look good to the client. It feels like it keeps compounding, and I'm taking longer and longer to work on basic tasks because I just can't convince myself it's worthwhile. I identify strongly with the coworker discussed in this question.
My therapist has suggested that I do two things:
Take a few days off to refresh. Not a bad idea, but I find it difficult to believe that a vacation will motivate me to keep working on this perpetual project. I'll just be back into the grinder when I return.
Sit down with my boss and explain that I feel unmotivated to work. I don't know if there's much he can do, though. I'm not sure any other developer in the company has the resources to take on my role for this project (and I'd feel like a real jerk for pushing this responsibility onto them). But, perhaps something surprising will happen, and a solution could be reached.
I do like the company and position - good culture, pay is fair, and I believe they're well-positioned for the future. But at the same time, it's alluring to change jobs entirely and not have to deal with this any longer, if an internal reassignment isn't possible. I've started talking to recruiters and sending out applications. But I'm concerned that if I do tell my boss how I'm feeling, and then start frequently taking time off (for interviews), he'll realize I'm interviewing and become distrustful of me. I don't want to burn any bridges. I also don't want to look like I'm just running away from responsibilities.
So, my question is: is it unprofessional to seek a new job as a solution to feeling burned out, if other solutions may exist?