I find this article I found pretty interesting, partly because I am a project manager at a software company, but also because until recently I was on the verge of mental collapse and breakdown.
My time has been spent working due to unreasonable projects being handed to me, and after discussion with several others that is now being addressed. My workload is now being shared, efforts are being made to assist, but problems still remain, some of which are really unavoidable.
Within the last 2 weeks, 2 individuals who were on my team no longer are - one from being let go, the other due to a resignation. This brings the restructure of my team and another (new) project team being built off of mine to be in a rather precarious state in terms of the number of resources alongside the number of active projects, and a sales team who will not really care about that as they had made promises to the client and promised a launch date without even getting the scope of our projects nailed down... but that is nothing new. I digress.
Add to that, the late hours, the endless working... my fiancée can even see it wearing me down and has mentioned it to me on several occasions. I am taking a week off of work to attend DevTeach in Montréal in May, partly because I need a vacation but mostly because I want to attend. It's now something more for me than for anyone else. Is it a work activity? No. Will I take some of the knowledge I learn there back to my job? Most definitely.
There are many out there who criticize where I work. I will admit, it has its bad points, most definitely. But the company is no longer the company it was several years back. It has grown, there is now an executive management team that does not consist solely of the ownership of the company, and things are changing for the better, for the most part. Is there still a road ahead? Most definitely. Are some of the same obstacles there? Again, most definitely, and most of those are individuals (read again: sales) who are resistant to change unless it directly benefits them.
Is it any wonder that I can see myself in many of the cases in that article, not just one?
And yet I know this: people will ask "Why stay?" Because I honestly do like the people I work with and I enjoy the work itself. It is a good job, with interesting people and some challenges along the way, but there is still a long way to go before we can truly see the whole company as a team. There are certain teams that are solid - each development team, for example; the creative team; the tech support/network operations team. Those groups are a small, tight-knit, cohesive group that can build off of a similar skill set. Within other teams, though, and across teams, that is where some work still remains. So why do I stay? Because I know it is possible to achieve a stronger-knit team, and I would like to be part of forging that.
I have ideas. I express them. I don't just up and say "this sucks" for the sake of it or out of spite; if I think something sucks, I say it, and I justify it, unlike some others. My team change will have me overseeing a team who will be working on building a web application framework for number of our projects. Hopefully we will build it so it can be extensible across multiple projects and maybe even to other teams. I am starting with the domain knowledge that I currently have and will proceed from there, but I can definitely see some growth and changes as the company continues to grow. I am excited again about working on a project like this, and it has been a long time since I was actually excited to go into work (movie day last week notwithstanding).
But will that excitement remain? Time will tell. If it starts to wear off (and the last couple of days, it already has and we have not even begun yet), hopefully I can find a way to bring that level of excitement back up again. Take on some other framework-type projects to assist across the board. Anything that can help. But at least I am no longer dangling over the precipice of mental breakdown; now I am standing back a little ways and seeing if I feel like walking away from it or turning and running off the cliff at top speed.
Time will tell.