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The Work Thing

Midlife crisis? Work-related crisis? Life-related crisis? Whatever the crisis my vice is: thinking too much about this.

I can't keep work off my mind even during the weekends lately, and I wonder if that has to do with working from home so much, and not differentiating between locations for free time and work time. It's not ideal, but driving to the office everyday's not ideal either. Not for finances, nor for time, nor for the potential health detriments that might come with all too much mobility in these crazy times...

But the problem isn't really that work's always on my mind. The problem's the work. I'm not working with something I enjoy, and somehow I seem to have moved further and further from the realm of optimal creative design, and more monotone but acceptable regular IT work and administration, to the realm of server administration, command-line, and digging through code and trying to figure out how it works as to solve company problems I'm not really qualified to deal with... it's taking a toll. And dues pile. I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere, and that I'm being underappreciated for what I do manage to do considering the overwhelming complexity of all the more of an effort I make to actually keep up with it.

I have years worth of education within the field of design and basic programming languages linked to web-related ditto. I'm self-taught initially. I honed my skills with further university level learning. I love design. And content. I love tinkering with sites like this. I tried a C++ course once and realized that wasn't my thing, yet the gap between design and code these days seems to be shrinking. Not only do the same agencies deal with both - with combined efforts from programmer/designer side - but plenty of talented individuals really delve as deep into one side of the business as the other one. The old cliche that programmers focus only on the functional aspects of something - and how the design always comes second and ends up looking like shit - doesn't seem to apply anymore.

Maybe for some. I don't see it though. Everyone's hella talented these days.

I've never considered the opposite as much. That those who consider themselves primarily designers might focus all too much on the visual, and that their work instead ends up lacking in functionality. Does that apply? I feel like functionality's a part of design too. Interface design is a thing. It just might be my specialty. Though implementing desired interface functionality in code if it isn't there already, if you don't have a programmer to help you with it, is another beast entirely.

Maybe I'm just not cut out for this kind of work.

Computer work. I doubt by the burdens that pile, and observe for a while, it's so verdant outside, as I curl in denial, always bursting with rhymes, never searching to fly, only biding my time while the vultures come circle. A circle of jerks.

I'm a worldly observer.

But really though. Stressed out.

Don't want to let the company down, but can't keep going like this all too long either. Energy depletes, focus becomes a challenge, getting up in the morning's difficult, I try all sorts of self-affirmation tricks but no serious meditation yet. Momentary experimentation only goes so far. D-vitamin no longer seems to be the cure-all for my winter depression... cause this no longer has much to do with winter does it? No darkness is due. Our weather's beautiful. Both sun and snow for three weeks now. It's incredible. I should be so uplifted.

Nor do the cold showers kickstart me as they initially used to. Nor does coffee work as a viable replacement for that kick - it just gives me a headache if I skip a cup, and deep-breathing, music, writing, all this shizzle... it's not enough! Not when I'm not actually doing something about my great hurdle; keep on letting it grow to unsustainable proportions. Some day it's gonna fall.

My job. Such a central part in life. Whether it's me or them - or a combination thereof - I need to either regain a sense of purpose and peace or get the fuck out of here. Find something that truly matters. That gets me where I want to be. That lets me feel free. Or more so just: let's me feel.

Something good. Something real. Something that syncs with my ideals.

For now though: venting. This work thing. Lamenting. I'm searching. But spending. Still maybe a bit too much time on other things... but some of those are grueling too. Overload. The usual cue. No true solution, so do I brood. Hopefully, slowly, moving through. Work.

Comments

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  1. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    Sounds like we're the opposite :P

    I shy away from design oriented tasks. Please don't ask me to build GUIs. I was loaned virtual reality and augmented reality equipment but couldn't be bothered to make the most of it because I find graphic development/coding less inspiring. I prefer the command line stuff, it's straightforward and has low overhead, less buggy. Give me the scripting/automation, analysis, debugging, lower level stuff. Software design, refactoring, and configuration management/version control. Linux. The less glamorous stuff.

    I can kinda relate. The past couple months I've been doing more meetings, email, administrative stuff than actual development, but those are the kind of duties you get with more experience.

    Surely you've heard the terms front and back end design. Full stack developers do both. And true, people are crazy talented these days. Doesn't matter if I work harder than the new young programmers, they can cide circles around me. I guess I was in the right place at the right time to land a tech job.

    The gap between design and code has indeed shrunk, at least from the front end side. This is natural, as people who develop at high level (front end) must have a better grasp of how the overall system works, and such systems are evolving to incorporate complex responsive, interactive, and security requirements. As a back-end coder, one can code a bunch of widgets and design interfaces, and the onus moreso lies on the designer to get it to function with their implementation.

    Seems like you were hired on as a designer primarily, and your role has expanded to handle the more technical efforts. I wouldn't take that as being underappreciated, rather they think that you are sharp enough that you can fix such problems, and they don't have to hire someone else.

    What kind of code are you dealing with? Is it made by someone previously at the company or something on the web? I'd give it a few more months and see what becomes of it. Such work is hardest and more boring at first. The deeper you delve into the complexities of a system, the more irreplaceable you become, and the more leverage you have when making requests. If you still feel the same or worse some time from now, detail these thoughts to your boss. About how your new tasking is less enjoyable, and possibly outside of your realm of expertise. They may be willing to accommodate or hire on a specialist.

  2. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    comment pending approval wtf...stop the design and dig deep into the logs and fix this

  3. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    Not sure if it went through the first time: luckily I copied it so here's a repost for safety:

    Sounds like we're the opposite :P

    I shy away from design oriented tasks. Please don't ask me to build GUIs. I was loaned virtual reality and augmented reality equipment but couldn't be bothered to make the most of it because I find graphic development/coding less inspiring. I prefer the command line stuff, it's straightforward and has low overhead, less buggy. Give me the scripting/automation, analysis, debugging, lower level stuff. Software design, refactoring, and configuration management/version control. Linux. The less glamorous stuff.

    I can kinda relate. The past couple months I've been doing more meetings, email, administrative stuff than actual development, but those are the kind of duties you get with more experience.

    Surely you've heard the terms front and back end design. Full stack developers do both. And true, people are crazy talented these days. Doesn't matter if I work harder than the new young programmers, they can cide circles around me. I guess I was in the right place at the right time to land a tech job.

    The gap between design and code has indeed shrunk, at least from the front end side. This is natural, as people who develop at high level (front end) must have a better grasp of how the overall system works, and such systems are evolving to incorporate complex responsive, interactive, and security requirements. As a back-end coder, one can code a bunch of widgets and design interfaces, and the onus moreso lies on the designer to get it to function with their implementation.

    Seems like you were hired on as a designer primarily, and your role has expanded to handle the more technical efforts. I wouldn't take that as being underappreciated, rather they think that you are sharp enough that you can fix such problems, and they don't have to hire someone else.

    What kind of code are you dealing with? Is it made by someone previously at the company or something on the web? I'd give it a few more months and see what becomes of it. Such work is hardest and more boring at first. The deeper you delve into the complexities of a system, the more irreplaceable you become, and the more leverage you have when making requests. If you still feel the same or worse some time from now, detail these thoughts to your boss. About how your new tasking is less enjoyable, and possibly outside of your realm of expertise. They may be willing to accommodate or hire on a specialist.

  4. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    interesting, don't see my original post any longer, pending or otherwise. 2nd post isn't pending approval, but my repost is. Wonder what that's all about and if my fourth comment will suffer the same fate.

  5. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    WTF! Now my repost is gone. Gonna spam this a couple more times and see what happens...and save it locally just to be safe.

    Sounds like we're the opposite :P

    I shy away from design oriented tasks. Please don't ask me to build GUIs. I was loaned virtual reality and augmented reality equipment but couldn't be bothered to make the most of it because I find graphic development/coding less inspiring. I prefer the command line stuff, it's straightforward and has low overhead, less buggy. Give me the scripting/automation, analysis, debugging, lower level stuff. Software design, refactoring, and configuration management/version control. Linux. The less glamorous stuff.

    I can kinda relate. The past couple months I've been doing more meetings, email, administrative stuff than actual development, but those are the kind of duties you get with more experience.

    Surely you've heard the terms front and back end design. Full stack developers do both. And true, people are crazy talented these days. Doesn't matter if I work harder than the new young programmers, they can cide circles around me. I guess I was in the right place at the right time to land a tech job.

    The gap between design and code has indeed shrunk, at least from the front end side. This is natural, as people who develop at high level (front end) must have a better grasp of how the overall system works, and such systems are evolving to incorporate complex responsive, interactive, and security requirements. As a back-end coder, one can code a bunch of widgets and design interfaces, and the onus moreso lies on the designer to get it to function with their implementation.

    Seems like you were hired on as a designer primarily, and your role has expanded to handle the more technical efforts. I wouldn't take that as being underappreciated, rather they think that you are sharp enough that you can fix such problems, and they don't have to hire someone else.

    What kind of code are you dealing with? Is it made by someone previously at the company or something on the web? I'd give it a few more months and see what becomes of it. Such work is hardest and more boring at first. The deeper you delve into the complexities of a system, the more irreplaceable you become, and the more leverage you have when making requests. If you still feel the same or worse some time from now, detail these thoughts to your boss. About how your new tasking is less enjoyable, and possibly outside of your realm of expertise. They may be willing to accommodate or hire on a specialist.

  6. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    3rd repost is there...will it disappear after my 4th one? I wonder if it gets flagged due to similarity. Only one way to find out (this time with an edit of my non-pending post)

    Sounds like we're the opposite :P

    I shy away from design oriented tasks. Please don't ask me to build GUIs. I was loaned virtual reality and augmented reality equipment but couldn't be bothered to make the most of it because I find graphic development/coding less inspiring. I prefer the command line stuff, it's straightforward and has low overhead, less buggy. Give me the scripting/automation, analysis, debugging, lower level stuff. Software design, refactoring, and configuration management/version control. Linux. The less glamorous stuff.

    I can kinda relate. The past couple months I've been doing more meetings, email, administrative stuff than actual development, but those are the kind of duties you get with more experience.

    Surely you've heard the terms front and back end design. Full stack developers do both. And true, people are crazy talented these days. Doesn't matter if I work harder than the new young programmers, they can cide circles around me. I guess I was in the right place at the right time to land a tech job.

    The gap between design and code has indeed shrunk, at least from the front end side. This is natural, as people who develop at high level (front end) must have a better grasp of how the overall system works, and such systems are evolving to incorporate complex responsive, interactive, and security requirements. As a back-end coder, one can code a bunch of widgets and design interfaces, and the onus moreso lies on the designer to get it to function with their implementation.

    Seems like you were hired on as a designer primarily, and your role has expanded to handle the more technical efforts. I wouldn't take that as being underappreciated, rather they think that you are sharp enough that you can fix such problems, and they don't have to hire someone else.

    What kind of code are you dealing with? Is it made by someone previously at the company or something on the web? I'd give it a few more months and see what becomes of it. Such work is hardest and more boring at first. The deeper you delve into the complexities of a system, the more irreplaceable you become, and the more leverage you have when making requests. If you still feel the same or worse some time from now, detail these thoughts to your boss. About how your new tasking is less enjoyable, and possibly outside of your realm of expertise. They may be willing to accommodate or hire on a specialist.

  7. S3C
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    WTF! Edited the non-pending post with my original comment and the entire post disappeared. lol

  8. Cyber
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    lmao. XD Thanks for brightening up my day with them repost posts! Not sure if that's a firewall rule or an issue with one of the plugins involved, shall get the root of it when I've a bit more time and peace of mind.

    Mmm it may be less glamorous but the back-end stuff really is the work that matters most. That which makes it all run. Indeed, I tried my hand at that part of it but the design's way more straightforward to me. :) The psychological aspects of an interface. The perfect arrangement as to lead people where they want to go, or showcase whatever's most important to you. I like that kind of challenge. Though most of all just having fun and experimenting with different visuals. Haven't had time to do that here in a while now either.

    Full stack, finally know what that term really means. XD Seen it used a lot but figured it was just outside my realm of expertise. Doesn't bode well for the future hmm, I mean not for us, then again I feel like if you go freelance there's a bigger opportunity to reach those without the same understanding of tech and/or the ability to reach those who really are best suited to work with them; to niche yourself; specialize in what you're good at and have a good job more so thanks to marketing and experience than skill. But of course preferably with ever-increasing ditto too. Can't stay too stagnant either way if you're in this field...

    Mmm, if you ever want to go freelance maybe we could be a pretty good team!

    Well I was hired primarily to manage the site, though when I started I did get to do plenty of overhauls design-wise, and that was always fun. The site was easier to manage back then though. GUI mainly. The server was a part of the platform, no need to handle that aspect of it at all. I did mostly product imports and page updates. Time-consuming but in essence very simple things compared to now. Just the imports have evolved so much, from column-based ones with data you'd understand the implications of at a glance, one column per piece of data, to complex structural imports where you need multiple lines per product for different aspects of the site, and export files went from around 10-20 columns depending on what you were working with to 50-60, where some data just doesn't import without the proper set of columns, or the proper order, or the proper encoding, never mind getting into the CLI of it all and managing caches and indexes and all that shizzle so updates actually update and exports actually happen. You'd think they'd design software for ease of use but it really doesn't seem to be the case anymore...

    The thing is I work at a very small company, and the business side of things isn't going too well lately. We're three people + accountant/temporary driver, and I'm in the one in charge of the IT side entirely, which as the complexity of the platforms/services we use has increased I'm feeling all the more lost and overloaded with. I'm learning a fair share for sure, but there's no time to educate myself enough as to really tackle everything, my boss doesn't seem to understand the breadth of knowledge required to manage our current surplus of systems even if I explain it, and it feels like my potential 'leverage' in having a few years of settling into the systems we use (or used to use) has turned into more so a reliance that makes it difficult for them to hire anyone else in my place and ditto for me to just opt out of the job should I want to. The environment probably isn't one that'd lure in the best talents, yet I do appreciate the benefits I do have with this job that I'm not sure I'd get elsewhere, mainly a flexible working schedule where contract-wise I'm only obligated to work three days a week, and the ability to take out extra vacation time on any overtime I do, but it's clear the boss would rather I do work on a set schedule instead, and keep vacations short, so each free day or stay away comes with a case of bad conscience/unhappy boss/extra work when I get back. I suppose the benefits no longer feel like benefits that way. Trapped with insurmountable burden. That's the feeling. Of course I could jump ship at any time but that wouldn't be very kind of me at the moment, and five years worth of potential merit would be wasted; good relations potentially severed. Suppose I really have to have a real talk with the boss about all of this eventually though, again, we had one earlier and the pressure leveled a little... then it picked up. I'm pretty sure he just doesn't see the amount of work involved with the work at hand, or understands the complexity of our new platforms. We're currently using Magento 2 btw, with a base theme modified by a third party - badly optimized, hired via another party we formed somewhat of an alliance with as to build a common database for car information that we can both use, though it seems they're attempting to make a profit off of us at the same time, and any attempts to fix bugs or update software turns into pricey negation...

    Apart from stress and frustrating discrepancies in communication/understanding: I don't really see a future with the company anymore. We've become reliant on a mutual agreement that forces us to downscale instead of expand, as the database we mutually use is not built for as large an assortment of products as we initially had, and in the face of increasing competition within our field the choice to cut down on less lucrative products as to save on work/space and speed up the site will leave us with an assortment of just the most expensive ones. I don't see it as a very good business model to only offer the most expensive parts, if you can't keep down the prices of said products, and there are competitors out there continually increasing their capacity and selling not just our products at lesser price but selling all related products that might be relevant to the customer. Our new business-model has somehow become all too reliant on the platform we now use and work on maintaining and troubleshooting ditto feels not only overly time-consuming and aggravatingly complicated but also meaningless. We've had that talk too. I don't agree with the new model but there's not much we can do. To have the functionality we need to compete at all is ironically the same functionality that to me seems to be limiting our ability to truly be a competitor at all. I'm currently working on a guest checkout solution together with our mutual partner, which doesn't seem ideally designed either, but we're stuck with them just like the company's stuck with me. Tis a sticky situation...

    Hmm. Don't really see a good solution at the moment. Maybe stress levels level out a bit and I can keep motivating myself with it being an income-bringing job, never mind company future, but the ideal would probably be to find something I can see some purpose with; maybe they'll get a replacement that shares their vision and the required skills to bring it to fruition... I've been thinking all last year that even more ideally we'd actually manage to improve the platform, and the relation to the business partner we're so dependent on, and things would start looking up enough that I'd be at peace with whatever path I chose to take, be it to stay at the same place and keep evolving there or find something else I'd possibly be happier with, but time's a strafing away; the latter doesn't seem so probable at this point.

  9. Cyber
    Sunday Feb/14/2021

    As for the pending approval thing, you'll usually only see your own comment until you refresh the page, at which point the page is shown as it is to everyone else, maybe a cookie's cleared there, maybe there's no cookie to begin with and thus such result... something to look into too huh.

    Always good to have a local copy though, you never know...



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