Lot of times I get requests to work on x thing during meetings or get answers to y questions. I have not done those before or studied those before.
Examples - come up with piece of sql code for doing A analytics work. Test out this module in Python program for B. Develop C API for D activity. Try out E architecture in AWS for checking F hypothesis and so on.
These requests are eating away my weekends. Communicating to manager is not helping as he himself is working on weekends and so are all other teammates. Discussing WLB just gets a pushback answer of "We should be lucky to even have a job in this economy".
Outcome of unable to scope am unable to follow my personal passion during the weekends because of it and it is making me irritable. And I don't like this feeling. This has been happening for past 3 months.
Any recommendations that Alex, Rahul and Community can give here?
That is certainly a miserable feeling and all jobs can have busy patches at one point or another. One thing that worries me is that they are working on weekends needlessly with no context whatsoever. That can happen even as we start to pick up new roles, but with the whole team doing it, it suggests they're really scared about the macroeconomic effects present in the current economy and may be overcompensating which isn't good and impacting their physical health which certainly isn't good. For you, you should have the option to handle employment as you see fit. If the current team isn't your cup of tea, consider making your own team. If you're going to be working the long hours, you might as well make more money doing something you love.
This definitely seems like a challenging situation.
In summary, if I'm understanding correctly:
The second one is an easier one to solve, but the first one is really adding to the pressure of working weekends; so let's start with that one.
To me, it seems like you'd really need your manager's support to not feel that pressure. You could just start not working the weekend, and that is totally a valid option. At that point, you can wait to see if your manager brings it up and if it starts to create other challenges.
But for now, I'll assume the goal is to get your manager to explicitly say to you: "Please do not work weekends."
In this case, you'll want to have another conversation with your manager. Here's how to approach it:
This is actually the exact 3-step approach in the article here: https://careercutler.substack.com/i/113691080/step-approach-to-success
Here it is copied and pasted in:
State what you have noticed from a factual perspective
Describe the impact on the mutual purpose
Ask their thoughts
“What are your thoughts?”
“I’d really like to hear your opinion on this.”
“Please let me know if you see it differently”
After you ask their thoughts, the hope is that they would be receptive. However, that might not be the case. They may say something like you previously mentioned of, "We should be lucky to even have a job in this economy." If they do, here's a sample of how you could keep pushing at it:
"Yeah, I get that. The economy is really tough right now. However, I can't help but feel like this will hurt us in the long run. I'd really like to talk through a solution with you."
Alternatively, if it seems like your manager won't budge, you should probably start looking for new positions--or just don't work weekends and see what happens. Your company isn't paying you for working on weekends so you really shouldn't be.
Lastly, since this is already pretty long, on estimates, check my LinkedIn explainer here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jordancutler1_softwareengineering-activity-7051234920660099072-cwyg?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop