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I ask this, because after two weeks of intense labor with no off-time (eat, sleep, program) I cracked today and went into a rage. Afterwards I fell into a mild depression for a couple of hours before I could finally compose myself and finish my project goals for the day.

This is my first project and I took great care in designing a good solution that met all the requirements. The deadline was set very, very tight (less than a week to develop the entire frontend application) and I coded well into the night. This was ok for me, I didn't mind doing so if I knew that 1) I made the system flexible enough to adapt to new change and 2) this is the first project I'm developing on my own and I wanted to make a good impression.

What really got me was the lack of communication forcing me to throw out large sections of my code. This needless rework left me without a night's sleep, which is admissable if it didn't happen again. What DID happen was that, on the day the backend people wanted to see some results on the frontend they HAD CHANGED THE SPECS WITHOUT TELLING ME. And then grew annoyed when I grew annoyed at the change!

So not only did I have to rework my code because of a miscommunication, I had to rework my code because changes happened that I wans't even informed of! People acting as if it's my fault for missing something like that just tipped me over the edge. I blew up, decided to call it quits and take a walk.

I talked to my boss about this, and although he's sympathetic, says that things like requirement changes, overtime, looming deadlines and miscommunication occasionally happen and that I should just take it with a little more ease. (He thinks I'm taking my job way too seriously and should just relax a bit.)

I'm just a college student and this is my first job, so I would like to ask this as broadly as possible. What I have described here is the backstory for a hopefully general question:

How resilient should I be to these kinds of stressors? Is two weeks too short? Is this common and I really am making a big deal out of it? Should I expect my work life to be filled with these kinds of mishaps and something I will have to deal with if I want to make a living as a programmer?

PS: While I can imagine some people (like my professor) advising me to find a new job, this is not in the spirit of the question. I am not asking for career advice- I can tell how badly this is affecting my health and needs to change.

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closed as off topic by Mark Trapp, Karl Bielefeldt, Yannis Rizos Mar 16 '12 at 2:02

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You basically ask "how much should I endure?", but instead, perhaps try "how to avoid it?". Speaking is sometimes more important than coding. Ensure you are on the same wavelength, that what you are undertaking is actually what they want. Talk to them about it, adapt, understand their needs, and it'll easier for both parties. Also, you are not a milk cow, tell them how much time is required and that it is not a realistic deadline, as well as which feature costs how much time so that they may cut on something to make it. Else, a burnout is around the corner. Make communication your priority. ;) –  arnaud Mar 16 '12 at 9:20

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

While this whole situation may have caused you all kinds of stress, anger, and frustration, you probably learned a whole list of valuable lessons if you think about it. You definitely learned how important good communication is in a development team whose members depend on each other.

If I were you, I would make a list of all the things that happened that frustrated you and write or think about what you will do in the future to prevent yourself from causing someone else this stress. I think you'll find that you grew as a developer, which can happen by learning what to do as well as what NOT to do.

And for the record, no, that type of miscommunication is NOT common amongst efficient development teams and is not at all acceptable. However, since you've been there such a short time, it would be wise to calmly approach your teammates and apologize for your reaction, then inform them of their actions that frustrated you and just politely ask them to communicate more next time.

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