What Do I Like About Working?

The other day I had a one on one with my grand boss. I talked with her about the various struggles I’d been going through that have been making my job feel impossible. I laid out the things I need to do my job well: actual staffing on my projects instead of begging and pleading for an hour here and there of developer time, not having the founders promise the sun and the moon to new customers for things that fall on my shoulders erstwhile shifting all the people time to other areas. I cried; I’ve been doing that a lot more lately because I feel just too broken to keep it together anymore. Apparently a lot of my colleagues have been crying to her lately too, so, that’s comforting to know it’s a culture of overwork and not just me.

My grand boss gave me some advice: Make connections that can help back me up in these hard situations. The founders do actually want to hear my feedback. Stay positive and think about what I actually enjoy about my job and take pleasure in that.

It is my reflex to scoff at these well-intentioned words. All the people who would help “back me up” are constantly busy and have multiple times gotten sick of fighting with the founders on the points that have given us the most concern. And every time I’ve given feedback that I need more resources I hear Bob has more important things to work on and Don’t worry, we’ll get it done. Except, it’s on me to get it done. So, *shrugs*.

But I want to try and keep it together, so if focusing on the positives on my job will help me have fewer anxiety attacks and get me through the next few months then that’s what I’m going to try to do. So what do I actually like about my job?

  • Good pay.
  • Interesting technical and business problems.
  • Diversity in the types of work I’m doing day-to-day.
  • Most of my colleagues are nice people, even if I find them difficult to work with.
  • Yummy, free snacks.
  • I’ve learned a lot about how successful startups operate and where they fall down. I am a lot more open to the prospect of starting my own company someday with the knowledge I have now.

What do you like about your job?



Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease

Another entry in the never-ending saga of YAPFB baffled by working in corporate America.

Today my boss, chatting with me in our normal weekly one on ones, told me he had some good news. I was getting a surprise $10k bonus, in part because the company hit a big milestone that I had absolutely nothing to do with and in part because the senior management had asked that some people to get extra cash based on performance. Note this is the second time this has happened since I started work here, the first being when I got a surprise $10k raise toward the end of the year, six months into my tenure.

On the one hand, I am very grateful that management has demonstrated that they appreciate what I am contributing in the universally understood language of more money please. Plus my job has gotten a lot more enjoyable in the past couple weeks after I moved a lot of the projects I dislike off my plate. On the other hand, I am still looking for other jobs, though I’ll admit the recent changes have made the urgency… less.

It reminds me a bit of a moment in my last company. We were acquired by a larger entity and within a few months everyone’s pay (including mine) got cut 10-15%. I remember complaining to the new management about it, but they were adamant that that’s the way it’d be– sorry, kid. Fast forward a few months and I just kept getting bonuses and raises, for my “performance” nominally, but mostly I think because (1) I had a lot of useful institutional knowledge and (2) because I had complained. I know the latter was important because there were others just as important to the organization as me who got none of the same benefits. It’s like I was getting paid to complain. Is that what self-advocacy is supposed to mean?

So, yeah, I think it was a good call for me to negotiate hard on my initial offer with this group. I think it set the tone of what I wanted (i.e. money) and it’s just kind of come on its own since? I don’t know. The politics of working are weird.

Are you a squeaky wheel at work? Has that been beneficial to you?

Staying At A Job For Less Than A Year

I’ve been at my job a little more than six months. I tried something new, somewhere new. I worked really hard, putting in 50-60 hour weeks on the regular. I got a nice raise for my performance. I did my best.

And now I’m looking for something new.

There are a lot of reasons for me not to quit. In the abstract, this position is my dream job. I get to work on interesting problems with smart, motivated people. A lot of what I do I really really love. And based on my not-so-expert opinion of the company’s trajectory, I would be well-positioned financially if I stayed, even just long enough to hit my one year cliff. Let alone the three-month paid maternity leave.

But I just can’t do it anymore.

There were things that I was uncertain about when I started this position, that I now see as clear as day. Yes, that coworker that I have to interact with as part of my role does think I’m incompetent, is mansplaining and negging me on the regular, and generally being a jerk. Yes, when the founder said “I have no tolerance for politics” I should have seen it as a red flag that there are a lot of politics because the higher ups have failed to create any sort of process. Yes, the enterprise has been severely understaffed and there’s a lot of fun technical debt nobody has been dealing with. Yes, they are penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to hiring.

I have been a really bad partner lately and a really bad friend. I haven’t been making time for the people and things that are most important to me. Every night all I think about is work. When I dream all I dream about is work. Today I got home and all I could do was squat on a half empty shoebox, rest my weary face in my palms, and stare blankly at the lines on my hand. Because I’ve given all my energy, patience, and care into something that’s never going to give anything back.

I feel a blinding rage on the daily. I have started burning bridges out of anger and burnout. Not to most, but to some (really just the aforementioned coworker). The people I like and would want to work with in the future would understand if I left why I left. On an emotional level, it’d be nothing but wins.

I’ve brushed up my resume, putting in some stuff that I’ve worked on in this role. (I also helped a lot with hiring the past few months. True fact: resumes are terrible and useless indicators of applicant quality.) Writing it down I realized I was doing the jobs of three people. I am partly proud, partly anxious at being that person who quits at the drop of a hat, but mostly very exhausted.

I’m reaching out again into my network. I’ve gotten a few recruiter emails, but the roles haven’t been a good fit. I need to move somewhere I can stick with for a long while.

Wish me luck.

Have you ever quit a job you’ve worked at for less than a year? How do you deal when you have to work with someone who is constantly disrespectful towards you?