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getting re-motivated...

I've been lurking for ages on here, finally I have something to contribute (well, a question to ask anyway...)

I have been a web developer since 1997 (ASP / SQL), I had a great job for the first 4 years, loved every minute of it, learned almost everything I know now while there, put in long hours and worked my ass off.  Then, the company went into a downspiral like so many at the time and I left.  I went to a company where it transpired there was little actual work to do, and what there was was very, very  easy for someone with my background.  Soon I started to get out of the hard-work ethic and became more laid-back... spent far too much time surfing and not enough time coding, but because of the lack of things to do, no-one noticed...

Now I find myself unemployed cos of another company "restructuring", but with the possibility of a position at a very large company doing what I enjoyed most at the first job.  I have the skillset and experience they want, but I'm worried I won't be able to motivate myself back into a productive mindset, as during my few weeks at home I've been unable to motivate myself to do any coding or try to learn any new stuff...

Help, basically... anyone ever been in this position?  How did you get the flow back?  I really want to love my job as I did before, but if I can't even get motivated during this down time it's making me nervous and I'm losing confidence in my abilities.

surreal
Friday, April 25, 2003

There's a world of difference between having to "manufacture" work for yourself in your own time and having real work to do on an employer's time. Nobody can be motivated and productive 24/7 - it's not healthy. You've suddenly had a lot of time on your hands recently and it's only natural that you've started to question your own abilities. When you're at work, you don't generally have time to do that - you just get on with it.

I'm sure that you'll easily get back into the swing of things once you have tasks to put your mind to again. Don't worry about it. You know that you can do what they're going to be asking of you.

John Topley
Friday, April 25, 2003

My advice is 'enjoy it while it lasts'. Doing development stuff when you don't need to is really hard. If you really want to learn something computer-related, try something creative like music, video or photoshopping - assuming you really want to sit at a PC all day. They're all useful things and actually enjoyable.

You may be feeling a bit odd about being lazy, but believe me you'll soon fall back into the work ethic once you start your new job - assuming, of course, your new employers have enough clue to keep you busy from day one... If not, I'd have grave doubts about staying there for too long as they're probably in a downspin too.

slumming IT
Friday, April 25, 2003

The other bit to not worry about is the anxiety you may feel about skills or knowledge you haven't applied for a while.  That anxiety is normal as well and will disappear when you realise that the more you do the easier it is to pick up the threads again.

Simon Lucy
Friday, April 25, 2003

thanks for that...

actually it was true that I was pretty burned out from the 4 year job and getting into the easy job was a relief, but having a couple of years of doing very little seems to have softened me up, so I don't think it is so much the unemployment that has had a bad effect, cos I kind of lost the urge during the "easy work" phase....

Having said that, I think that the fact that the last job wasn't a challenge might have had something to do with it so getting into a challenging job will hopefully kickstart things again...

cheers

surreal
Friday, April 25, 2003

I hope it works out.  I'm also underemployed, burnt out, and have waaay too much time on my hands.  I haven't had a 'real' project in a year.

Sounds odd, but I don't know if I hate coding, or if I just hate my job. 


Friday, April 25, 2003

My recommendation would be to take a long vacation away from anything resembling a keyboard or mouse.  At least for a few weeks....

At the end of the few weeks, all of sudden you'll get this "coding itch" and will need to satisfy your thirst for code again.  Welcome back! :)

Everyone gets burned out every once in a while and just need to do something non work related for a while.  If you can't afford to take a vacation then work on another non-computer related hobby or help out at a non-profit like the Salvation Army or YMCA for a while. 

Good luck!

HeyMacarana
Friday, April 25, 2003

When I was at college I was involved with almost a dozen activities and my dayplanner was just packed.  I was entirely too productive for my own good.  Then came graduation and the summer malaise while I searched for a job - I slowly lost my overeager ambition.

Then I landed a job - a great job that I'm just thrilled to have now, but I had the same concern as you.  How does one get back into that groove of packing everything into a day and being absolutely productive?  My answer was to ramp up before the job and really focus on a few things and be really productive at them.

So I went out and bought some polishes and waxes and cleaners for my car - its now in supurb shape.  The methodology of cleaning a car - the steps one has to walk through, the timing, the patience, and the time involved in manual labor made me focus on what I was doing.

I also went out and got some guitar books, picked up my old guitar and set goals for myself.  I practiced hard while waiting for a compound to set on the car or in the evening, and now I'm actually not painful to the ears (a marked improvement).

Basically I found things that engaged me and set a schedule of activities and goals that motivated me and made myself accomplish them.  By doing this I rekindled that motivation inside and when I came to my job I was entirely motivated to learn and produce.  Inside of a week I felt like I had accomplished more than most others in the same program I'm in and received some praise for how highly productive I was.

Its all about forcing yourself to get the groove back.  Pick up a book and create your own program if that's what does it for you - but set goals and a schedule.  Or get some waxes and set a goal for your car - or get a bike and set goals for miles in a day.  Do whatever makes you happy, but set a schedule and a goal and you'll find that old groove quicker than you think.

Lou
Friday, April 25, 2003

Regarding vacations, it can have the opposite effect as well: I was heavily motivated and involved in a project, but then went to Italy for two weeks. When I came back my project seemed so irrelevant, and so tangental to happiness in life, etc, that suddenly I found it very hard to get back involved. It took many months to get any concern at all about the work back.

Having said that, there are a lot of unmotivated people who worked or work in software development who really should question why they are doing it: Perhaps it was "the thing to do" in the late 90s, but if you're not happy then no amount of pay is enough to make it worthwhile.


Friday, April 25, 2003

I was in a similar situation as surreal. I have found that an interesting job and a good team tend to get you motivated fast.

I was with a dot-com that was going nowhere and spent last few months doing very little work. When that miserable experience ended and I had a new opportunity, I was concerned that I've lost the edge. But as soon as I started the new job and got involved in the project I was back to my old motivated self.

So my advice is to take the job, get involved, and things will take care of themselves.

igor
Friday, April 25, 2003

thanks for all the advice - just gotta get the job now!

cheers

surreal
Friday, April 25, 2003

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