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A wasted year?

And so, 2021 came and went by, and none of my goals could be fulfilled. Instead, here I am, feeling even more burned out than in my last article, back in September. Now what?

My goals for this year will just have to move to the next year, or the year after. More importantly, I will have to do everything I can to make a recovery. This is definitely more important than any file system research or Gemini support or what-have-you could ever be.

Feeling powerless

Let's talk about my case of burnout for a moment. Since my last article, I have grown more grumpy, more tired and at the same time more indifferent than before. Every day, I try hard to do my best, but then again, I feel powerless. I see things that absolutely have to be done, but no one but me seems to care.

We just had a grave example of this. I assume that log4shell is well known currently, but if you have not heard of it: It is the nickname of a 0-day remote code execution vulnerability in some versions of log4j, which is a popular logging framework for Java. Both the software we write at work and also third-party tools we use (e.g. Elasticsearch) use it.

This vulnerability was as bad as they come: Just trick the system into logging a specific string and you could get any code you want executed. It could not have been more critical.

So, naturally, when I first read of that vulnerability, I went into emergency mode and notified my team. I tried to learn as much as possible about the parameters and about possible fixes and mitigations. I shared my information as well as lists of next steps with my team. I asked for help for specific tasks.

My team did nothing. The first day went by without us doing anything that was not done by me.

It came as no surprise (at least to me) that some higher-ups, both in our company and at the customer's site, forced as to act at the beginning of the next work day. But we did not act because it was the right thing to do, but only because someone forced our hands.

Meanwhile, my colleagues thought and still think today that it was all just a overreaction (both mine and the customer's). They think that we just head to upgrade our dependencies because it allows the customer to feel safe again, not because he actually was unsafe. They also think that we were doing it just for the sake of doing things, because we still cannot know if our software is safe now. It blows my mind that fixing a now-known 0-day remote code execution in our software is thought to be useless, because there still might be more that are unknown! Such irresponsibility!

This is just one situation where I just felt like nothing I do matters at all, because my colleagues just don't understand or don't care ...

I don't feel like speaking up in meetings with things that should be done anymore, because I know that I am mostly the only one who thinks that way (otherwise, someone else surely would speak up about it).

Leaving the sinking ship

There are many ways to cope with such a situation. Feeling burned out, I naturally just want to do nothing, as I am just so damn tired of everything and just want my peace. But even so, it is not my style to just give up.

Since a few weeks, I am actively looking for a new job. I am not looking forward to tell my manager that I will be leaving, but I absolutely want to go. I want to leave everything that drags me down behind me.

As a software developer, I had no problem getting in contact with recruiters. Create a profile on a professional platform like LinkedIn and they will come for you. But I do not want to just change my job to more of the same. So, I will try to don't work with Java this time.

I want to leverage my C++ know-how to find a job working with that language. I am looking for a team that works with C++ because they want to and it helps them with their requirements, not because they have legacy code that they wish not to be in C++ but in Java instead. I am looking for developers that see programming as more than integrating some third-party dependencies.

The truth is: I just feel so bored. Nothing in my current project really interests me anymore. I know that there are interesting Java projects out there, but I believe that the mentality of C++ fits better to me and will help me find a job that I can enjoy once again.

But was this year wasted?

Not really. While I have not fulfilled any of my goals, while I feel more horrible than ever about my current job, I believe this year really helped me with learning more about myself. What do I value? What do I seek for myself? What pleasures me?

I do not know if the next year will be better. I do not know if I will find a job that is just perfect for me, but I will try hard. And I do not know if the new job will be better or even worse! But still, it is time to move on. Time to change something.

Once again, I thank you for reading some of my thoughts. I hope that I will have more articles in the next year, but I know that I am not in a constitution where I should promise such a thing.