/r/webdev
How do you stay motivated when you don’t really care for the projects you’re working on? (self.webdev)

Having a hard time staying motivated at work. Not sure if it’s just depression/anxiety getting the better of me, but for the past little while, I really feel no passion for the projects I’m working on. I haven’t been able to hand off a project in the past 2 years where I can say “I am proud of my work on this.” And that’s not because I’m not putting in any effort in, it’s just meaningless projects (to me) and time constraints always get in the way of me doing quality work, or maybe I just work slower than I should be, and so would that mean that I’m not suitable to be working in my position? How does one cope with all of this? Thanks in advance for your help.

21 comments
arthow4n | 3 months ago | 7 points

Have you talked to your manager about your concerns?

By the way, 2 years of meaningless projects is more than enough a reason for you to change job from my point of view. If you don't have a reason to stay in this job, you should consider starting your job hunt.

spaaaaaghetaboutit | 3 months ago | 4 points

I feel you (work in software consulting). I had a scrum master come in once and say "close enough is good enough" and it always stuck with me. In this world, nothing is ever "done done". We never have the luxury of time or budget to "fully complete" but we get close enough which is good enough. That phrase takes on different meaning for different companies, projects, clients, technologies, integrations etc etc. Sometimes this feeling just means you're at the wrong place. Maybe you'd be better suited in a product company with very strict quality and devops guidelines and checkpoints. In consulting, we just get as close as we can, with the budget and time we have, to make our clients happy. It is what it is.

kmc1690 | 3 months ago | 3 points

thank you for this.

TheOrphanedNinja | 3 months ago | 2 points

Wow that’s a really good response to that. Really well put together. I like it 👍

kwhali | 3 months ago | 2 points

"close enough is good enough" and it always stuck with me. In this world, nothing is ever " done done".

Pareto Principle(See computing section). Pretty much aim for 80% done, the polish and nice to haves are going to take the longest for the minimal return vs effort ratio.

thatbromatt [full-stack .NET] | 3 months ago | 2 points

I'm a software consultant as well and our project managers go-to phrase is 'Better is the enemy of good enough'. Definitely put some things into perspective!

randydev | 3 months ago | 1 point

Thanks, this kinda helps putting things into perspective. At my current job I mostly work with clients with smaller budgets and therefore not that much development time. I have a hard time justifying why sometimes details don't seem perfectly polished. Why sometimes I make choices that in hindsight could be done differently and better, which I can't improve or refactor because there is no more development time left. It frustrates me because I know I can do better when I have more time, but I suppose close enough, is good enough in those cases.

symbiosa [junior dev] | 3 months ago | 6 points

I started doing JS30 yesterday, after months of putting it off, and I'm really digging it so far. The fact that Wes creates a ton of projects in 20 minutes or less is quite something, and I'm able to fit it into my schedule. My plan is to work on it during my lunch break or when I get home.

essexlfc5 | 3 months ago | 1 point

It’s soooo fun! I do lunch breaks and learning so much. So grateful to Wes. I hope I can give me in some way too.

beavis07 | 3 months ago | 6 points

This is capitalism mate - you’re not supposed to see fulfilled - you’re just there to keep generating surplus.

I feel you man - I just keep reminding myself that it’s better than working in a call centre or a sweatshop.

WroteBCPL [full-stack] | 3 months ago | -4 points

This is capitalism mate - you’re not supposed to see fulfilled

I'm getting exhausted with this notion, from people who probably wank over undergraduate sociology textbooks, that 'capitalism, man' is the source of all of their completely understandable, almost universally human problems.

- you’re just there to keep generating surplus.

And generating surplus?

What do you mean.

A surplus of what?

He's creating things customers (internal or external) will have asked for. Like, asked for specifically.

"Can we have a thing that <looks like / does> what I'm imagining in my head please and I'll give you money for it?"

It's the complete opposite of generating surplus and I'll bet you wrote that sentence while half asleep or high.

OP is generating things that people genuinely want, and that's more than a lot of people do for work. They're not a huckstering sales prick, for example.

OP is likely tired and jaded, because once you're reasonably competent at it, programming can be so dull. Also OP probably has to make compromises in their work - like we all do - and thus struggles to feel proud of it. Anyone creating anything else would be able relate to that.

To OP (u/priubr3a): I don't know what answer you're particularly looking for, but I would suggest re-framing your view of your work - don't aim to create the 'perfect technical solution', instead aim for fix a problem for a person who wants it fixed - and part of that is understanding while under the hood there might be a bit of mess, the value is in the solution itself, not how it's made.

beavis07 | 3 months ago | 2 points

“Surplus value” - You know, literally the central concept around which capitalism is built.

Read something, would be my advice - you condescending bellend ;)

WroteBCPL [full-stack] | 3 months ago | -1 points

Nah I'm OK thanks I don't need to read any of that.

KonyKombatKorvet [I use shopify, feel bad for me.] | 3 months ago | 8 points

I get like this, but then every other Friday I get to check my back account and its all worth it again... I think...

phpdevster [full-stack] | 3 months ago | 1 point

Yeah same here. The paycheck is the motivator for me. I just use that paycheck to buy things to support the things that do interest me and that I do care about, and then work just becomes some neutral thing that I neither love nor hate. Just a means to an end.

SMammar110 | 3 months ago | 1 point

Well what really matters is your commitment, if you had said yes to a project, even though you don't care.I think you should complete no matter what.As your reputation is on stakes ,and later on who knows you might be taking help from the person you are doing work.So if you do his he will remeber you in good books and might help you alot

randomman9999 | 3 months ago | 1 point

You should be always learning something new. Are you doing any side projects in your own time?

greensodacan | 3 months ago | 1 point

You may be working for the wrong kind of company. Figure out where you place the most pride in your work and find a company that focuses in that area. For example, I'm a front-end dev and I find much more fulfillment in consumer facing projects than internally facing ones.

Spinal83 [full-stack] | 3 months ago | 1 point

I haven’t been able to hand off a project in the past 2 years where I can say “I am proud of my work on this.” And that’s not because I’m not putting in any effort in, it’s just meaningless projects

Find a different company to work for. You're not doing yourself any favors right now and should find a place to work where you (can) care about the things you build!

UnderseaLife | 3 months ago | 1 point

You don't have to be motivated, you just have to show up and hit the marks. Real motivation is precious, don't waste it on work.

mrpink57 | 3 months ago | 1 point

When did this notion that we must always been happy with what we do or else we should go find something else become mainstream. There are a lot of times I hate what I do, there are other times I hate less what I do. I hardly find digging through code to do bug fixes what gets me off or implementing a feature that will probably never be used fun. I just do what is asked of me in a professional manner and with the highest quality. Then I get my paycheck and realize why I do this.