July 10, 2021

I obviosuly don’t know who you are or what you do for living so just so we are on the same page, let me tell you this: development can be quite stressful. There are multiple factors that can be combined, but here are some examples so you understand what I mean by “stressful”:

  • Deadlines: you have to deliver something tomorrow and you still don’t know if you will make it.
  • Lack of confidence: you were assigned a task you don’t know about and there is no help around to assist you.
  • Toxic environment: your teammates are not willing to help you, or they may even think that they need to be better than you to keep their jobs.
  • Legacy code: you know how to do things right but the codebase is so old that it will take forever to do it.
  • etc.

These are just some examples you can find on a development environment. With this I don’t mean all the jobs are like that or that these problems are exclusive to software development. I just wanted to show some examples of bad situations you may find. Also, take into account that some of the examples I mentioned may not even be issues for some people (deadlines can keep you focused, lack of confidence can challenge you to learn more, etc), but in general I’d say that if you start experiencing some of this points, you probably should consider doing something about it.

During your career you will suffer some (or even all) of these problems, and you need to be ready to face them in one way or another. With “facing” we are not necesarily meaning to fix them, and what better way to explain myself than with some tips I came up with to help you dealing with some of these situations:

  • First of all, assess the situation: somestimes you may feel you are on a very stressful situation but the reality may be that something else is affecting negatively the way you perceive things at work. I had a situation in the past where I felt super uncomfortable at work and thought I needed a change and I ended up realizing I just needed to improve my personal habits.
  • Now that I just mentioned it, I’ll talk about it. Out-of-work habits can be game-changing when it comes to personal well-being. Doing exercise, take power naps, eating and sleeping properly, meditation… all these things can impact significantly your vision of your working environment.
  • If you feel you don’t know what’s going on or you just need to talk with somebody, use a psychologists. They are a great tool to express your feelings and find out what’s going on. It can feel awkward at the beginning if you never visited one, but it’s an incredible way to know yourself.
  • Be pragmatic: we developers love to see clean, well structured code, but sometimes now is not the best time and maybe what you want will take a lot of time. If that’s something you really want to do, work on a plan instead of a solution. I usually struggled to get this done as I was very code-oriented but trust me, dumping all your ideas on a small document explaining what you want to achieve and asking for feedback from your peeps is much more satisfying than spending 2 weeks trying to fix something that hasn’t been fixed in years.
  • Trust in yourself. You were hired for your skills and for what you can provide to the company. Once you are in, you are asked to do your best to get things done, but if at some point you feel it’s too much work or stress, talk with your manager and arrange a solution.
  • Just leave. It sounds rough but sometimes the best solution for both parts is just to move on. Your career path needs to match with what your company can provide and if that doesn’t happen you may feel frustrated, which turns into not doing your work properly, which turns into stress. We are a very lucky profession in the sense that there are plenty of opportunities out there and I’m sure there is a company that will be more than welcome to help you growing on your new challenges.

I’m obviosuly missing a lot of suggestions and great ideas, but there are plenty of books out there written by smarter people than me that cover most of these things, so if you think I’m lacking some information here, you are probably right.

And with this, I’s like to finish the post with a final advice: when something is wrong at the office, take a deep breath, take all the frustration away from you for a second and try to understand what’s going on. If you achieve that, you will be one step closer to be happier at work.

Profile picture

Written by Ivan Company, a guy who likes to code Follow me on Twitter