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How to have a positive mindset in a job you no longer like?

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Software Engineer at Taro Community3 months ago

In this economy and the cost of living worldwide, having a safe and secure job is increasingly valuable - especially since all of the layoffs that are happening around tech.

In the last 9 months, I moved to another organization for better pay and new experiences, however, due to complete and utter dysfunction in my project I'm increasingly getting frustrated with this new organization.

I have started to shift to a different project that's more aligned with my skillset and is functionally better in the organization, but this will be a staggered release.

This is positive, but it's still going to be many months until this move has been finalized and I'm unsure if I can maintain my sanity for long enough.

I have already noticed a fall in my quality & speed of work due to this and I'm worried that this will continue in a downward trajectory.

I have other potential offers outside of this (nothing concrete) but have never been out of a job so unsure to take that risk as well.

Due to my situation, I have no dependents or ties, so my ability to take risks is theoretically higher as well.

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Discussion

(3 comments)
  • 16
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    Staff Software Engineer [L6] at Google
    2 months ago

    Doing work misaligned with your goals, values or principles can be jarring and is the top reason for burnout. What's great in your case is that you've recognized it pretty well, many engineers go without understanding this main root cause of burnouts. I myself have been in situations like these.

    There's many options in front of you that you can pursue (that are not mutually exclusive)

    • let's manage frustration in current project: debug a little further what's causing the frustration. Perhaps this "chaos is a ladder"? Or an opportunity to gain some new skillsets (like stakeholder management, "politics") that'll propel your career in the long term? Perhaps it's an opportunity to learn how to overcome interpersonal challenges? Perhaps you can sell these challenges to your manager and create a positive perception on your work? and so on. Bottomline: is there a silver lining in all this?
    • work with manager to fast track transition: articulate your frustration and pain to your manager. Explain why there's no synergy with your goals/skill sets. Any good manager will be able to recognize the stakes, and make it their problem. You don't have to be alone through this.
    • switch teams/orgs/companies: this can be a last resort, but any fast switches in orgs/companies that are visible on the resume might be a red flag to a hiring manager in the future. It's certainly explainable though, and might even be a great story that shows some of your qualities. There's also risk in the current job market, and it comes with a lot of stress too. This one depends on your appetite.

    Good luck!

  • 9
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    Software Engineer at Microsoft
    2 months ago

    From your question's title and description, it sounds to me that you're trying to find ways to cope with a situation while waiting for a transition, but you're certain that you need to make a transition. I think the best thing to do in this case is to see if you can transition quicker due to your mental health, but these kinds of situations can also help us grow, so I'd take advantage of that while waiting.

    You're right that the current economy can add more challenges to career moves, but you already mentioned you may have other offers, so it's not totally bad as it was one year ago. Still, it is important to assess how much risk making a change would be for you, but I also think it's valid to reflect on the risk of not changing. You mentioned your work's speed and quality decreased, do you see a short term solution for this or not?

    If not, I'd try to improve my performance as soon as possible, whether by improving my efficiency, removing myself from useless meetings and focusing on one thing at the time. Also remaining calm during stressful situations and working on your professional image/brand. If I were in such situation you described, I'd try my best to learn from it by improving the previous points while waiting for that much anticipated transition.

  • 14
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    So the best option here is probably to leave as others have alluded to, but that's easier said than done in this market obviously. But hey, if you have potential offers outside, you should follow up!

    If you're staying within this team though, my advice is to find the small moments of joy in your work life and expand on those. These small moments can manifest in many different ways:

    1. Working with a specific person
    2. Working on a specific product area
    3. Working with a specific tech stack
    4. Doing a certain type of behavior (debugging, mentorship, exercising product sense)

    I see a lot of engineers have this mentality where they believe that the quality of their work-life is entirely out of their control, being dependent on their manager and company. This is a very defeatist mentality where you are just a victim.

    It is pretty rare that you have literally 0% control of your current situation, so you should have the mentality of doing your best to sculpt your work-life to what you want it to be. What's probably going to happen is some moves to sculpt it won't work, but a couple here and there will. For example, if one of your moments of joy is working with a particular person on your team, you can try putting yourself on more projects with them or asking them for a recurring 1 on 1.

    Here's a good video I recommend on all of this: How To Discover Your Work Passions And Hatreds

    That being said, if you're doing this introspection is there is little 0 moments of joy, you should definitely leave.