Why so many programmers lose hope in their work from time to time

📅 01 November, 2020 written by Daniel Uhlmann

Have you ever wondered why a colleague of yours is annoyed or burnt out?

Have you ever had a conversation with a colleague where he got upset about the current situation in his/her project? Or do you even know colleagues who seem completely burnt out and therefore often only see negative things in the current situation? Well, anyone can behave like this once in a while. But why is that the case? Does this behavior only come from stress and huge loads of tasks, or are there other factors that can lead to such a behavior?

I think there are other factors that can affect this

In the next few lines, I want to take a look at some possible factors. Of course, one of the better-known problems is the huge stack of tasks that never seems to shrink. But besides this problem, which is probably a general problem in office jobs, some problems seem more IT-specific to me. For example, take a look at developers fighting with their managers, because they plan milestones for a project far away from any realistic time estimation. Or look at how often sustainable work is not possible, because you have to rush for best practices to reach the original deadlines. By the way, the point with sustainable work is one of the most important points for me personally, because I do not understand why other people do not understand that I want to deliver high quality and reusable work. It is always a struggle between project planning and my own quality standards. Another thing is that some developers learned helplessness over the years. This means that we for ourselves have lost hope just because people around us are already acting hopelessly through the experiences mentioned above which they have had to make for themselves over the years.

But how do you get your hope back?

Well first things first: Say no, politely. That means that you have to be firm and nice in refusing to compromise the quality of your work, but in a way that helps others see you care about it. If you look at it that way you can show ways how the time saved by bad code will cause problems later in production and then you will need more time in the end because you have to fix technical debts. Another thing you should do is ask for help earlier no matter what your job title is. I mean what happens if you get lost in a problem? You are frustrated because you can't find the solution by yourself. However, it is absolutely no shame to ask for help if you get stuck. The third thing I want to mention is that you need to develop empathy for other developers and how they approach their work. By this, I do not mean that it is not okay to discuss different things or also to express your own opinion about topics but you have to get away from the thought that people have to think, work and act as you do. Treat people like individuals and they will do the same with you. The last point I want to address is one of the most important points for me personally. Surround yourself with positive devs. For myself, there is hardly any other indicator that gives me new motivation and hope than people who see the current situation in a positive light and want to change the situation in the future. You will be accepted more quickly by the masses if you just go with the flow and accept things as they are, but by doing so you will not gain any of your hope back. Of course, the positive developers have certainly been in a negative mood at one time or another and perhaps for a long time too, but look at how they act now and ask yourself how you can get to this point.

A conclusion

If you recognize yourself in the lines above and you feel like you are trapped in a rabbit hole then think for your own and ask yourself what of the above you can do for you to get out of this specific hole. As written above it is absolutely no shame to ask for help if you get stuck. Stay healthy during these quarantine days and rock on.