How to not suck at work?

I am posting this under a throwaway account but post on WSO semi frequently. I currently feel like I suck at my job. I keep forgetting things, keep doing things incorrectly, and am overall frustrated with it.

I wake up at 4:45AM to get to work by 7:30AM because I am sent all over the place in a major city. I get off work late (not IB late) and get home around 8:00PM. Just enough time to eat dinner, get ready for the next day, and spend an hour of my time to learn how to code. I don't move closer to work because I am sent all over the place and really do not have control of my situation. I have voiced concerns to management and gotten, "Yeah.. it's rough." and they increased the distance to another place they send me. Saturday traffic isn't as bad, but still isn't fun to wake up early all the time. Sleeping in is 6:00AM.

Additionally, I outright hate my job. It's not a personal thing against a specific person- I genuinely have as much interest in my job as watching paint dry. I am not a paint enthusiast. It's boring and I feel lost. I am unsure of the processes of my job most of the time and nobody has time to sit down with me. I have been proactive about this and asked for their input, guidance, how they prefer things labeled. I reference old documents but each specific manager likes things very differently. The files here are so screwed up that I never know which manager is in charge of what.

I thought they genuinely disliked me or were hazing me. I talked to the VP in charge of me for a performance review and he said I am doing great. No complaints other than lack of experience within the company. So I asked how I can improve. Nothing, doing great.

I look around and it seems like everyone is dealing with mostly what I am dealing with. They sacrifice their lives and health. Unlike IB, we don't get paid for it. I make about half of what a 1st year Analyst makes. I know people above me aren't making it rain either. It's not like a "hockey stick" pay structure. No commissions, just a base salary. Bonus is $3k PRE tax.

Am I really stupid? Do I suck? Or is this pretty unreasonable? I really am trying to learn to code my way out of being miserable. Maybe the grass is always greener? Just want to hear if I am missing something, work is just like this, or I am just in a bad spot right now.

Comments (26)

Oct 2, 2019

Where do you work? If you aren't paid really really well there's no reason to work more than 50 or so hours a week unless you enjoy it. There are a million places where you can be in at 9 and out at 5 and pay well.

If you're making let's put it at say 200-300k+ outside of an entry level position where you are "paying your dues" you are in the wrong industry.

Places include software engineering, sales in general, other types of engineering.

In comparison, guys I know in New York (including me) get up around 7:30-8 (how far from work are you?) and get home before 6 unless they go to Equinox after or something.

Array

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Oct 2, 2019

I appreciate your response. Thanks for the insight- I thought I was just being entitled for not wanting to work 60ish hours a week while making low money (especially for COL), on top of a ridiculous commute. I work in a T1-2 city (NYC, SF, Chicago, etc.) so the travel time is not great.

I am trying to learn code (and really enjoying it, really the only thing I am happy about apart from time with my fiancee, friends, and family) with the hopes of becoming a SWE. Even at a no name company I would improve my life and income. I am thinking of getting a Masters in Computer Science to switch to FAANG/ top firm.

For me it just felt weird because many in this company do not leave. Average tenure is 12 years. I am not being "picked on" or singled out. Everyone drudges through the day. I don't get why. I was wondering if I was missing something or if I'm the problem.

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Oct 2, 2019

I was actually umemployed and considered going to be a SWE.

I would just make a goal to move to SWE at this point, it sounds like you enjoy it. I don't know many SWE that work more than 40 hours a week unless they are making a ton of $$$ at Google or something.

Spend 3-6 months learning with a few projects and start applying!

Array

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Most Helpful
Oct 2, 2019

Agreed, OP you need a plan.

You don't mention what you do, so it's hard to say whether this is a temporary grind // there is a J-curve upwards if you get better at this or more senior, or if you have any direct exit options, etc. What was your educational background, and what's your current age?

What do you like about your job, about working in teams / solo, etc.? It may be helpful to take a skills assessment or something like Career Leader https://www.careerleader.com/ which can do a more thorough analysis of your strengths and weaknesses, and how those connect with potential careers.

My advice, depending on the above factors, would be to make a post-MBA plan to do something else. Very easy to go to a Top ~15-ish MBA program and do something else at a Fortune 500 company, consultancy, finance, entrepreneurship, etc. You just need a plan and to execute / grind probably for another few years. When you have something to look forward to, the grinding is much easier.

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Oct 2, 2019

I work in the RE industry. Keeping it vague intentionally. J Curve and hockey stick were what I was alluding to earlier, but that VP I spoke to makes good money compared to the rest of America but not all that great money. A top MBA grad would earn more in PE fresh out of school. The real money are the C suite, but I am not going to slave away to bank on that. I could switch companies and get a pay raise, but I am not that enthralled about the work.

I will take that test- thank you for sharing! I am exploring coding to see if I like it (which I do at this point). If I like it for 3 months of practice then I will commit to a complete career shift.

Also, I am not opposing to working long hours. I ran my own business in college and it was hard as hell but a lot of fun. Gave it up to focus on school and reel my grades back up from the nose dive they were in.

Oct 2, 2019

Bud it sounds like your job sucks, not you.

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Oct 2, 2019

Thanks- that is reassuring.

Oct 2, 2019

It sounds like a combination of a shit company and personal burnout leading to possibly (but not guaranteed, since your review was fine) poor performance.

I'm not sure if you're moving from Tech to RE or RE to Tech, but the life you described would wear on anyone. Burnout is a serious problem for people who like their jobs, much less you.

If you can, take a week off and relax. Even if you don't have much money for a vacation, take a week off and stay at home, playing video games, a couple rounds of golf, working out - whatever you enjoy doing. You need to clear your mind so you can think about your situation objectively, brush up your resume, and reach out to some people in your network.

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Oct 2, 2019

Thanks, I probably am harder on myself than what others expect of me. I just don't like forgetting things frequently. But your explanation helps a lot, I feel burnt out with this role.

Trying to switch from RE to Tech. I have been intrigued by it but never picked up coding. Am doing it now and finding it fun.

That's a good idea. I wasn't sure if I should cash in my vacation days when I leave (it's in my employment agreement that if I quit with 2 weeks notice they would pay for my unused vacation days.. doubtful a company would not abide by that?) or just take a vacation to decompress.

Oct 2, 2019
TechCareerChanger:

I just don't like forgetting things frequently

I have an absurdly bad memory. It actually frightens me at times how bad it is. I counter that with writing everything down, creating checklists, and/or using a task management app on my phone like Things. I also leave every email I need to address unread so that I don't miss any of them because that little notification on my phone or in my inbox will drive me nuts until I clear it out.

TechCareerChanger:

That's a good idea. I wasn't sure if I should cash in my vacation days when I leave (it's in my employment agreement that if I quit with 2 weeks notice they would pay for my unused vacation days.. doubtful a company would not abide by that?) or just take a vacation to decompress.

You need a vacation. I'd say just take a long weekend but I've read some studies that show you don't decompress enough with long weekends.

Read this article. Burnout is a massive issue.

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Oct 3, 2019

If you really enjoy coding, it's a great job with a great lifestyle. I moved into a much more technical role (although not eng) at a FAANG post BB IBD internships, and really like my job.

If you enjoy coding, I'd consider the MSC Computer Science or a Bootcamp over an MBA for sure. A benefit within tech as well is that moving from no-name startup to top FAANG happens a lot more than the equivalent in banking (no name boutique -> GS TMT virtually never happens, half the SWE/SREs at my FAANG have worked at companies I've never heard of and I'm active in VC/tech in general).

Oct 3, 2019

Thanks, I appreciate the insight. I plan on going to a boot camp (researching which ones are better than others), getting the best job I can get, then probably going back to a Masters in CompSci. The MsCS is ridiculously cheaper than an MBA.

Do you mind sharing what your role is? Feel free to PM me if you want.

Oct 3, 2019

Don't bother with the MsCS unless it's to get a job or you like school. Technical managers want to know what you can actually make and do- masters is just going to get you the theories of Information and mathematics. It's why boot camps are so popular.

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Oct 3, 2019

KEEP LEARNING CODE. It is the most professionally liberating thing you can do these days. One way or another, be different from the other children. Then maybe your shit for brains VP will wake up and smell the roses (your underutilized willingness to take initiative).

  • $billy
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Oct 3, 2019

I will keep on coding. Thanks. At first I was skeptical because I didn't grow up coding from 12 years old.

To anyone else: that is a myth. I lot of successful people in tech started young, but not all. Many started later in life and really worked hard. Coding seems like modeling, it's important and understand the HOW and WHY matter. But doing things minutes faster than others is not the end all be all- soft skills will always matter.

Oct 3, 2019

I didn't start coding until a couple CC classes, and I even graduated as business major, but now I'm a full time SWE at a place that takes software seriously. I see plenty of people that have been coding since 12, and they can be good, but there are tons of roles in software that aren't just pumping out code.

Maybe startups care more about fast delivery, but you'll find the vast majority of positions are about optimizing business processes using coding as a method to accomplish it.

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Oct 3, 2019

At least you have a job, try to think about all those people waiting for an interview and be grateful on what you have.

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Oct 4, 2019
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