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Well... I was hired because I did not take a comp-sci or engineering course, however I was really good at coding. My job is doing the heterodox stuff when needed... You know, the guy that sometimes has to use a goto, or invent some bizarre technology.

When I started my job, I blasted though stuff I needed to do, then I got slower and slower until I almost got fired.

Now I am more or less stable, but I am noticing I am slowing down again. I plainly open my source code, look at it, and have no idea what I have to do, sometimes I do not know even what I was doing.

I think this is related to my lifestyle. My work is a two hour commute (meaning I lose 4 hours daily), and I have not completed university yet (so I need to do some university work at home), and on weekends I spend time with my significant other.

Does anyone know what to do in a situation like this? I am depressed that I cannot write code like I could when I started, or when someone would throw some oddball problem at me and I would spit out a solution instantly. Now I am having trouble typing even 10 lines of code in a day, because I spend the entire day trying to figure what to do.

In fact, I can't even procrastinate when I want to procrastinate, I open the browser, and I have no idea of what web page to open. It is really annoying :(

I feel like my IQ dropped from its measured levels to something like 80...

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closed as off topic by Oded, ChrisF Oct 4 '11 at 14:10

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4 hours a day: either look for another job closer to home or ask to work from home for a couple of days a week. –  Sardathrion Oct 4 '11 at 14:02
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To topic closers: It cannot be salvaged? (and why it was closed anyway?) –  speeder Oct 4 '11 at 14:22
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Do'h. I spent all that time making this English readable and it's closed now. –  Incognito Oct 4 '11 at 14:26
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Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise at least once a week, eat at regular hours and do something creative and fun once a week. Try to study or sleep during commute. Try wearing large headphones with noise cancellation. –  Danny Varod Oct 4 '11 at 14:46
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Ah, I think I've spotted what the problem is. That pesky SO of yours. It's commonly accepted that you can't have a life and be a great coder at the same time, so just get rid of the SO and free up all of those precious weekend hours for honing your skills with an open source project or six. If you want real guru status though, you'll need to find a few hours for high intensity relaxation, like extreme sports. If you're creative you could combine this with your commute home every evening... –  Mark Booth Oct 4 '11 at 16:08

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You sound like you're tired really, you're doing a lot of stuff and that 4 hours of travelling is a killer (I do 3 a day so I can feel your pain). I'd recommend getting to sleep earlier, try take some time off work if you have any holidays available and rest and relax.

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Yup, sounds like exhaustion to me. Sleep, exercise and "me time" are usually the antidotes for such a condition. –  Adam Crossland Oct 4 '11 at 14:10
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Agreed. If you're sleeping less than 7 hours a night this is pretty much guaranteed to be the reason for "slacking". –  Joeri Sebrechts Oct 4 '11 at 14:13
    
I am sleeping 5:30 hours (usually) at my bed and then 1:30 hours at the bus in the morning (ie: I sleep at 00:00, wake up 5:30, board the bus 6:30, sleep, wake up again 8:00, exit the bus). But since many yimes I end sleeping past 0:00 or something else... I think you are right. –  speeder Oct 4 '11 at 14:33
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The 5:30 will be whats getting you, I've heard of people successfully doing power naps but get 7+ hours straight and your brain will thank you. –  Nicholas Smith Oct 4 '11 at 14:39
    
Hey! You was right :P I got fired from that job... Now I am a genius again, but this time making sure I am sleeping properly, and living a 15 minute walk from office :) –  speeder Sep 4 '12 at 22:33

Either lack of motivation or burnout issue (too much coding). Retrospect yourself. Are you happy at your job? Do you really like doing what you are doing right now? Talk to your friends and they may be able to point out what they see wrong with your attitude towards things.

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I love my job... I would prefer to be doing games, not what I am doing now, but I still love it :) My job is basically my dream job (invent stuff, code it, show to boss... invent more stuff, code it, show to boss... repeat as long I find it fun). –  speeder Oct 4 '11 at 14:13

Sounds like you're in over your head. Here are some things you need to decide:

  • Whether your four-hour commute is worth your time or if you should rather be working somewhere closer to home.
  • Whether completing your university education is more important than working full-time.
  • Whether the type of work you are doing is right for you. You may have simply lost interest in working at your current job, so moving on will be better for you and your current employer.

You basically need to prioritize what is most important for you and let that guide your decision-making process.

Good luck!

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I right now live with my parents again (results of a housing bubble here...), and they told me if I did not took a full-time job at whatever I wanted, I would work as cashier in the supermarket full-time. (and I need money to pay university loans anyway... the debt is in my name, not my parents name, and it is quite big... and they do not have money to pay it either...) –  speeder Oct 4 '11 at 14:15
    
@speeder, time to take a break from your studies so you can concentrate on earning enough money. Then when you have the surplus again, then consider continueing your education. –  user1249 Oct 4 '11 at 14:50
    
I wish I could do that, but if I do not finish them right now, I will be banned from university and will have to start over (Brazil has some silly education system) –  speeder Oct 4 '11 at 16:13

What gave you the idea that you're "really good at coding"? Especially when you use the expression "have to throw a goto around".

It sounds like you're describing yourself as a hacker, who knows how to write code, but doesn't understand the features of different coding styles, and hence writes spaghetti code all around, and then can't figure out what it's (or he's) doing anymore.

That's no surprise. It happens to a lot of programmers.

If I analyzed the situation correctly, what you need to do is get an immediate grip on life, take some courses, read more books about programming philosophy (programming tutorials won't help you any bit in this case).

I recommend you find yourself some nice books by Robert C. Martin, AKA Uncle Bob. Even watch some lectures of his on YouTube. He's like the clean code missionary. He does his job well.

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The Dunning-Kruger effect also comes to mind here.. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect –  c_maker Oct 4 '11 at 14:21
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For continuing the old discussion, if everyone could move it to Programmers Chat, that'd be great. Thanks! –  Anna Lear Oct 4 '11 at 17:14

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