Four years ago, I was working as a technical lead. I was part of a great team, I enjoyed the work, and it left plenty of room for working on side projects and some freelancing. We were a close-knit team and we worked, lived and partied together.
My bosses were happy with my work and my team looked upon me as the “God of Code”. I loved coding and more so, writing code which adds value to the team as a whole.
Then about a year back, my immediate boss resigned. A vacuum was created and I was promoted as a manager to fill up that critical role. I was elated to climb up the ladder so soon in my career.
Then the troubles started. My role now changed completely from coding to “managing” the team. I began to soon spend more and more time in activities like project management, client management, and resource management and less on things I enjoyed doing before.
Slowly — enough that I never noticed — I stopped creating code. Because it wasn’t helping me build my career, I felt it wasn’t important. I stopped working on side projects, I stopped freelancing, and instead, I spent all my energy managing and building my team.
Everything began to come on me ultimately. I became a single point of contact for every damn issue.
Resource attrition? Contact Ravi
Client demo? Contact Ravi
Midnight batch job failed? Contact Ravi
I was overwhelmed. I was being pulled in all directions and I began to feel like a rudderless boat with no escape in sight. My teammates started avoiding me as I began venting my frustration on them. They started shrinking responsibilities and left me alone to fight all fires.
I became the favorite punching bag for all; my colleagues, my bosses, and my clients.
I tried to compensate the only way I knew how — by working harder — but that only made things worse. Over the course of a few months, I went from highly productive and motivated, to feeling exhausted and doubting every decision I made.
Things eventually became so bad that I couldn’t make myself care about work, and struggled to motivate myself to do anything. I couldn’t even face my colleagues, so I found the only place I could be alone — my cubicle — and I cried.
I knew something was deeply wrong, but I had no idea what it was, or how to fix it.