Am I burning out? / WTF is wrong with me?

Disclaimer: These are my semi-incoherent ramblings, and despite what is set out below I do still overall enjoy working for my employer. I just haven’t mentioned this to them yet, as I’m not even sure what to say. Perhaps this is why I’m writing this? So I can sort it out? Who knows, but this post shouldn’t be taken as a criticism of work in any way.

I think I might be getting burnt out. Or atleast beginning to.

I’ve been on Placement now for about just over 6 months (over half way!), and generally I have really enjoyed it.

But ever since the ~3 weeks that I took off for XMas, my heart hasn’t been in it. Not fully anyway. Occasionally I’ll throw myself into something – and I seriously hope that happens tomorrow; but overall my productivity has, I feel, nosedived. I used to take just a couple of breaks away from the screen to rest my eyes, and I feel like I’m taking more breaks, more frequently and for longer.

I realise 6 months is nothing, but given that this is really my first real demanding job, could it be that I’m not used to it? Or perhaps that a 9-5 job isn’t my thing. Or perhaps a career in programming isn’t my thing? Perhaps this is what they meant when they said that Placements often tell you what you don’t want to do, rather than what you do want to do. I don’t know, it’s odd, I do still get some satisfaction when I complete a task, it just seems to be taking me far longer than it should. this probably isn’t helped by the fact that my afternoons seem to have about 2 hours of meetings happening more regularly. It’s not like we just have the 30 minute scrum call anymore. That’s another thing actually, I don’t think it’s worth starting anything if there is just 30-40 minutes left before another scheduled interruption.

When I get back to my Southampton house after work, I essentially die. I browse the internet (mostly refreshing Twitter, Facebook, HackerNews and Reddit), I watch TV. I can’t even be bothered to read at the moment – despite having several books on my shelf that I am looking forward to reading. I just don’t have the energy anymore. When I get in the car now , either to or from work, I often jsut want to drive. Whether it’s up the M3, missing the exit to work; or down to.. well I don’t know. I don’t tend to think of a particular destination. Sometimes it’s Home, in Norfolk, sometimes Stevenage although there is nothing there for me anymore; mostly it’s just anywhere except where I’m meant to be going.

I don’t even want to think about Final Year. I’m dreading it. I think that’s because I know that the concept of ‘Free Time’ doesn’t exist with a Uni schedule, particularly in Final year. It’s something I’ve got used to whilst being on Placement, but then again I’m not exactly doing anything with it, am I? Even at weekends I either vegetate, or head into town and window shop.

I don’t think the subreddits I browse help me much. They tend to give me the travel bug for some of the amazing pictures they have. Combine that with me searching for blog posts of people going on around the world backpack holidays and I think I’ve given myself a recipe for disaster. Except that I can’t help it. Even before I applied to Uni I toyed with the idea of taking a gap year. I didn’t on the advice of my college tutors who said that Uni’s don’t like those oging into Science subjects tkaing a year out. Something about Maths skills degrading. I regret taking their advice. In second year the itch wasn’t too bad. But now, when I can’t do anything about it for atleast 18 months…

I don’t even know why. My pseudo-internal-psychologist tells me that I want to escape from whatever the root cause of this is, but I don’t know if it would help in any way. Let me be clear, when I say travel I don’t mean staying in Hotels in the touristy parts. I mean me + backpack + camera. Everyone agrees that it totally changes your perspective, which perhaps is what I need afterall. But then, that’s my Wish-I’d-Taken-Psych self talking. As if I have a fucking clue about it.

That’s another thing actually, I’m starting to wish I’d done a US Uni degree thing – simply so I could branch out. I feel too stifled in this rigid box called comp sci. Or perhaps that’s just me rationalising a reason for my poor performance to date. Seriously, at this rate I think I’ll be lucky to get a 2:1. And to think I arrived with hopes of a 1st. Hah!

I don’t know, perhaps I am a jack-of-all-trades. My interests are too many to list them all. Off the top of my head I’m facinated with Psychology, Software Dev,

Actually that truely was off the top of my head, and Psych popped out before anything related to my degree. Does that say anything? I have no fucking clue. Only that, perhaps, I shouldn’t bother trying to get anything more than a BSc.

Anyway, I’m not sure. I know I should probably jsut make some fucking decision about anything. Work, Degree whatever, but I can’t. Currently I’m already counting down the days until my easter holiday that I’m going to book off when the holiday system lets me.

Speaking of counting the days, getting rid of leap seconds? what a fucking crazy idea.

Addendum: Perhaps browsing HackerNews has changed my expectations about doing programming for a job? Surely not every day should result in a new website launch / UX revelation / [Insert spurious personal wellbeing story that may involve polyphasic sleep. Actually perhaps I should submit this, under a title of ‘Did HN do this to me?’

And that was me trying, again, to find someone other than me to blame for this. I’m going to shove Mr ‘I’m going to BS about Psych like I do it for a Living’ into a box for now.

 

One comment on “Am I burning out? / WTF is wrong with me?

  1. Sam M. Finnigan says:

    No, it’s not just you.

    I’m also having real problems at the moment and I think the root cause of it all is I’m just sick of having to stare at a screen from 9-5. There are several projects I have going, but finding the motivation to crack on with them has thusfar been completely elusive. I get home at the end of the day and am invariably completely drained, despite (much like yourself) my productivity having completely bottomed out.

    I find myself getting frustrated with meaningless things, like the speed at which I can interface with the computer (aren’t GUI’s hilariously inefficient?!), and I’m feeling the pressure of the various things I need to get done despite not having one iota of acutuation to get on with them. I was talking to one of my housemates and he’s feeling the same.

    Is it that I’m not being challenged enough? Certainly at Uni the programming projects were far more in-depth and engaging, but you’re right that “Free Time” is an unknown luxury. I’m not looking forward to my final year (and disertation) for that very reason. I do feel though that even if the challenge existed, I wouldn’t (at the present time) have much drive to be up for it.

    Speaking of which, fuck it, I’m going to bed.

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