High Paying Job Drains all my Time

nicksaiz65

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Shoutout to @BPH for pointing out this issue. It’s finally happening, and I needed to make a thread to see if there is anything I could do.

I’ve told this story over and over, but I’m a software engineer, and I recently got a new job that pays me $120,000 per year. This is definitely helping me reach my financial goals.

The issue is, this job drains all of my time away. It’s programming, and they want their work done lightning quick. So I often have to bring my work home with me so I can stay caught up. On top of that, I have to study the tech stack that the job uses in my personal time. After all of this, the job is eating up a significant portion of my time. I barely have any time left over for me.

At this point, going out say once a week, MAYBE twice a week(that’s really pushing it) is realistic. I’m feeling the situation of golden handcuffs here. I need this job to pay the bills, but it takes so much of my time. I feel like I have none left over, for anything really.

I had to cancel a date to stay caught up on my work today. I know it’s the right choice because I need the IT job to stay financially stable, but it’s annoying how it drains so much of my time.

I needed to get some thoughts on this and see how I could handle it over the short term, as in this year. Do I just live with going out like 1x per week or so? Wanted to open this topic up and get some thoughts.

SPOILER ALERT:
I’m thinking the answer is to work several evenings to get ahead of their deadlines, and don’t even waste a single second so that I still have time to do what I want.
 
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EyeBRollin

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More money, more problems. This is life my friend. Your reward for competency is higher pay and less time. That is why it is called “compensation.”

Oh yes, your days of going out multiple times a week are long gone, sir.
 

BackInTheGame78

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Any company that demands work to be done "quick" where they are willing to sacrifice quality is not somewhere you want to be working long-term. I'd start putting out feelers for other places.

I mean if they are wanting work done that quickly do they even write unit tests?

I'm slightly above that and I work maybe 30-35 hours a week. Find a better place to work.
 

SW15

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SPOILER ALERT:
I’m thinking the answer is to work several evenings to get ahead of their deadlines, and don’t even waste a single second so that I still have time to do what I want.
This is probably your answer. You might be having a time management for now.

At this point, going out say once a week, MAYBE twice a week(that’s really pushing it) is realistic.
Longer term, this isn't very sustainable if you want to have more than one night stands/casual sex. If you were to get into some sort of extended relationship with a woman, you'd be seeing her at least 2-3 times per week. You also want time for your own non-seduction hobbies, like exercise.

Don't be afraid to establish reasonable boundaries with your employer OP
This is generally good advice.
 

BackInTheGame78

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This is probably your answer. You might be having a time management for now.



Longer term, this isn't very sustainable if you want to have more than one night stands/casual sex. If you were to get into some sort of extended relationship with a woman, you'd be seeing her at least 2-3 times per week. You also want time for your own non-seduction hobbies, like exercise.



This is generally good advice.
Definitely do not want to get in the habit of working extra hours, it's hard to break, causes lots of extra stress and eventually burnout.

OP needs to answer this tho:

Are the expectations actually realistic and he is not yet at that level of ability yet to do what they expect, or are they unrealistic?
 

SW15

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Are the expectations actually realistic and he is not yet at that level of ability yet to do what they expect, or are they unrealistic?
That's a very good question to ask. If the first part is true, it would mean he's going to have to rise to the occasion. He's capable of doing so but that would mean he'd be sacrificing his personal life in the short term.
 

FlirtLife

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The hours are longer when you start a new software engineering job. I'd give a few suggestions, and you should feel free to tell me why these don't apply:
  • Are you saying yes to every project and deadline? Do you remind your boss of your other tasks?
  • In the first few months of a new job, the job might be more important than dating. Once you make a good first impression at work, you should have more time to make good first impressions outside work.
  • Do you view this job like a test? That would explain studying the technology stack on your own every night, at home. The job is like a team sport. Each person gets some area of the code or tech stack, and other members of the team can rely on them. You're not alone taking a final exam, you're on a team of people who can help you understand the code and tech stack. Later, they hope you'll find something to focus on, so that they can rely on you.
 
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BackInTheGame78

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The hours are longer when you start a new software engineering job. I'd give a few suggestions, and you should feel free to tell me why these don't apply:
  • Are you saying yes to every project and deadline? Do you remind your boss of your other tasks?
  • In the first few months of a new job, the job might be more important than dating. Once you make a good first impression at work, you should have more time to make good first impressions outside work.
  • Do you view this job like a test? That would explain studying the technology stack on your own every night, at home. The job is like a team sport. Each person gets some area of the code or tech stack, and other members of the team can rely on them. You're not alone taking a final exam, you're on a team of people who can help you understand the code and tech stack. Later, they hope you'll find something to focus on, so that they can rely on you.
Unless the teams are very poorly organized, which is a distinct possibility, he should only be working on one task at a time, ie, having one "card" or "issue" assigned to him.

In fact on our team, the rule is there should be at least one less active card than active devs, meaning they strongly prefer pair programming. It usually ends up being more efficient than single person programming. Teams that shun it are only hurting themselves in the long run.

If they aren't using some sort of tracking like JIRA or AzureDevOps then he has a bigger problem than what he is or isn't doing...the actual problem is where he works is run by people who are incompetent.

Is this a new technology stack versus what you are used to using? If so, then yeah, I could see that taking longer to become accustomed to. However, it normally takes someone at least 6 months to get really comfortable with new applications in terms of exactly how they work, what they do and how they are used on a day to day basis and that can only be done by working on many different parts of the code...at least for any major applications, like ones that contain over 500K lines of code.

Them expecting him to be up to speed and know things the way they do is simply not realistic, unless he is being given guidance on what he needs to do and even then there is a certain level of having to "figure things out" that is normal.

Also, if they are so hell bent on getting things done quickly, how much quality are they sacrificing to do it? Typically you end up spending triple the time in bug fixes than you would if you simply took longer and wrote good, solid, unit tested code by rushing code out the door.

Anyone who has had to rewrite spaghetti code from applications that have been outsourced knows this all too well. Many times they are Fubar 'ed so badly that the only thing that can be done is to build it over again from scratch.
 

Barrister

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Generally, jobs that pay really well require a lot of work. This isn't exactly an epiphany. There are some exceptions, sure. But most of us don't just luck into knowing a rich guy who offers a cushy job that pays six figures + while only working 35-40 hours a week.

I am also currently doing extremely well financially. But I have noticed my hours have been dipping up and up the past year or so on average each week. I am probably around 50-55 hours right now and I would like to cut that down to at least 45-50. I don't mind some extra time, but like anything when you give more to something it takes it away from others. It all is a matter of perspective and what is most important to you. Some people are workaholics and need to be putting in this type of hours to actually feel at peace and be happy. Others are OK making less but having more free time and less stress.
 

Bible_Belt

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It all is a matter of perspective and what is most important to you. Some people are workaholics and need to be putting in this type of hours to actually feel at peace and be happy. Others are OK making less but having more free time and less stress
Agreed.
 

BackInTheGame78

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Generally, jobs that pay really well require a lot of work. This isn't exactly an epiphany. There are some exceptions, sure. But most of us don't just luck into knowing a rich guy who offers a cushy job that pays six figures + while only working 35-40 hours a week.

I am also currently doing extremely well financially. But I have noticed my hours have been dipping up and up the past year or so on average each week. I am probably around 50-55 hours right now and I would like to cut that down to at least 45-50. I don't mind some extra time, but like anything when you give more to something it takes it away from others. It all is a matter of perspective and what is most important to you. Some people are workaholics and need to be putting in this type of hours to actually feel at peace and be happy. Others are OK making less but having more free time and less stress.
Count me in fo the guy making 6 figures plus while working 35-40 hours. Sometimes even less than that.

When you become a really good software engineer, you can do a lot of work in a short amount of time, then coast since it was expected to take you 2-3x longer than it actually did.

Basically comes down to efficiency. If I can do the work of a normal 40 hour employee in 30, why would I choose extra work to do in those 10 hours?

I used to do that but at the end of the day, it usually doesn't pay off in terms of pay raises or compensation/promotion benefits. Now I am far more in it for myself to some degree after seeing how companies treat people like cattle for decades.
 

Dr.Suave

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I recently got a new job that pays me $120,000 per year. This is definitely helping me reach my financial goals.

The issue is, this job drains all of my time away. It’s programming, and they want their work done lightning quick.
Most things in life are about balance. Im not sure there is a point in having a high paying job if you dont have free time to enjoy the money.
 

FlirtLife

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Unless the teams are very poorly organized, which is a distinct possibility, he should only be working on one task at a time, ie, having one "card" or "issue" assigned to him.

In fact on our team, the rule is there should be at least one less active card than active devs, meaning they strongly prefer pair programming. It usually ends up being more efficient than single person programming. Teams that shun it are only hurting themselves in the long run.

If they aren't using some sort of tracking like JIRA or AzureDevOps then he has a bigger problem than what he is or isn't doing...the actual problem is where he works is run by people who are incompetent.
Sometimes my most important task requires waiting on someone else. I will switch to a less important task while I wait. I prefer to have that task lined up, so I don't spend time asking what task is next.

I believe there's multiple approaches that can work, so I generally adapt to the team I'm on. Most companies where I've worked rely on code reviews. I have not worked in a team where pair programming was standard practice.

@nicksaiz65 can you clarify if you are assigned more than one task at a time? Does your company uses tracking software? Does your group prefer pair programming?
 
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nicksaiz65

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More money, more problems. This is life my friend. Your reward for competency is higher pay and less time. That is why it is called “compensation.”

Oh yes, your days of going out multiple times a week are long gone, sir.
Yeah, it seems that in the short term, this is really just going to come down to time management and living out of my calendar.

Like you said, over time my skills will increase. They'll increase by just naturally doing the job, and taking courses. This will allow me to get the same(or even more) work done in less time.
 

nicksaiz65

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Any company that demands work to be done "quick" where they are willing to sacrifice quality is not somewhere you want to be working long-term. I'd start putting out feelers for other places.

I mean if they are wanting work done that quickly do they even write unit tests?

I'm slightly above that and I work maybe 30-35 hours a week. Find a better place to work.
I think I could have done a better job clarifying in the OP, and the work situation I'm in. We definitely do write unit tests. In JUnit and Mockito specifically. I'm familiar with JUnit, but not Mockito. Synopsis, I think it's just a factor of my skill level being slightly too low right now, due to my low YOE. I'll elaborate more in your next posts.
 

nicksaiz65

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OP, be careful of loosing time, like years, thinking it's something you'll deal with later.

I lost a few years in a high paying job like that, sixty hour weeks, etc. Time flies.

Gone before you know it.
What job were you doing if you don't mind me asking? I'm assuming that this was a salaried corporate job.

I'm actually not opposed to working really long hours. Last year, I was consistently working 65-70 hour weeks on top of getting several certifications to get myself out of a financial jam that I had put myself in. I was really happy with my work ethic there, and I was able to get out of that jam that I put myself in due to working that much.

I just want to make sure that I have enough time to still do the things that I enjoy while still working hard. After sleeping on it, I think it's really going to be time management(living out of the calendar) and that's about it.
 

nicksaiz65

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This is probably your answer. You might be having a time management for now.



Longer term, this isn't very sustainable if you want to have more than one night stands/casual sex. If you were to get into some sort of extended relationship with a woman, you'd be seeing her at least 2-3 times per week. You also want time for your own non-seduction hobbies, like exercise.



This is generally good advice.
I agree with all of these statements. Essentially, my time management is going to have to be insane, i.e. living out of the calendar. In the future, it is possible to use my money(that I accumulate from working the job) to buy back my time so that I don't have to work quite as many hours. But for now, I think the answer to my question is just the standard "time management/calendars/timers."

That being said, even if I am using all hours of the day effectively, I still do need an hour of "free time" to myself each day to play my instrument or whatever. I've found that this goes an extremely long way in me not burning out.
 
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