Four Stages in a Programmer’s Job

In any job one goes through four stages, The Anxious Stage, Excitement, SSDD (Same Shit Different Day) and finally The Bail Out.

Job Stages

Stage One ‘The Anxious Stage’, you have just started off in a new job and not too sure if you did the right thing. You are surrounded by new and strange people, a ton of new abbreviations that make no sense and of course there is no documentation. You miss the familiarity of the old job and your old colleagues. This usually last about 2-3 weeks.

Stage Two ‘The Excitement’, by now you have well settled into your new place and have all the logins and access to all the systems. You have already started facing challenges and providing great solutions, you wake up everyday looking forward to go to work, you think off great ideas in your shower to impress colleagues and bosses, everything makes sense, you are completely connected into the matrix. You are spitting out code in your sleep and fixing bugs faster than you can say Katmandu. 24 hours are barely enough in a day. Simply put, Life could not get any better.

Stage Three ‘Same Shit Different Day’ also know as SSDD or S2D2, well you have proved yourself yet again and now you are getting more work than you can handle, manager is in lala land, some members of your team are pulling there weight, estimates are a joke that you quietly accept cause there is no point arguing and deadlines come and go, you know there are a ton of places in the code that needs to be fixed but you have no time to fix it. You are just trying to keep your head above water. Every Sunday night you are depressed and think ‘I have to go back to school tomorrow, wait! did I just say school ? ‘. This is a dangerous stage, cause it leads to the next stage, this is the stage where the idea of ‘greener pastures‘ comes into the mind and as many books have suggested once that idea comes in, everything else just affirms it, a smart boss will immediately recognize this stage and try and ratify it before it is too late.

Stage Four ‘The Bail Out’, months have passed by in stage three and now you know there is no hope, it is time to brush the dust off that old resume and get in touch with your old contacts. One can easily recognize people in this stage, they will never go anywhere without there Cell phones and jump every time it rings. They run out off the room with the cell phone or you hear phases like can I call you back in a few minutes. And thus the cycle begins.

So this brings us to this Question : Which stage are you in ?

3 thoughts on “Four Stages in a Programmer’s Job

  1. I offer the idea that you have some control over the stage you are in by the thoughts you process. If you continue to think (SSDD), then it will continue to be so. If you can find something to improve about yourself or your development process, you can continue to grow with a slightly different perspective.

    I agree there are lulls in the excitement of jobs especially when you have been doing if for awhile, but I contend that it can be simply a plateau that allows you to solidify what you have learned. When you realize that you aren’t learning, it’s a cue to look deeper. Analyze where you are , what you’ve done, and where you should be going next.

    If you have truly outgrown a position or organization, I think you should still talk to your manager (if this makes a difference) to see if there are new challenges available.

    Keep in mind that your thoughts can be creating the stage, instead of the stage dictating the thoughts.

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