Author Topic: Career Change to Coding, While Trading Savings for Burnout - Help Me Prioritize!  (Read 818 times)

Fish Sweet

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For the last three years, ever since I found out about MMM, I'd planned to keep chugging along with my current job as an office manager for the next 8 years ago, riding on reliable (if average) income, a high saving rate and low spending into easy coast!FIRE.  About a month ago, I just-- snapped.  I was drowning in alternating waves of stress, boredom, and frantic panic at work, dealing with poor planning and ridiculous corporate policies.  And on a personal note, I was helping manage personal crisis after crisis among family members and friends, some of their own making, others out of sheer bad luck. Fuck this shit, it's too easy to never take risks. I wanted to pursue something better, and I wanted out-- out of my stagnant role that I'd already mastered, out of dealing with double-speaking management, out of this career track altogether.

My plan was to take the next six months keeping my nose to the grindstone at work, while:
- Saving every dollar I can, building up to ~10k or so (I currently have about 5k right on hand and ~1.6k going into a 401k every month, so this would be savings on top of 401k contributions)
- Bring in as much revenue for my small crafting business as I can (about 5k this year, up to 8-10k with some luck and dedication, and a LOT of time)
- Learning to code-- I'll be honest, I'm starting from scratch but I'm smart and organized and a fast learner, so I'm not too worried.  Planning on starting from free online lessons, graduating to either paid lesson plans or possibly attending a bootcamp after I give notice at work
- Trying to practice better self care, both physically and mentally, to recover from the deep burnout I'm currently in.  (Which yes, is at odds with everything else I'm planning on achieving above.)

After giving notice, the plan was to take some time off traveling (mostly visiting elderly grandparents, but also for personal enjoyment-- another reason to pad my savings) and detoxing from work, while really throwing myself into learning coding and building my business on the side.  Maybe sign up for a coding bootcamp, get good enough to land a job etc. make money, FIRE, live happily ever after.  Get some chickens.

So.  Back to that burnout.

I'm exhausted, all of the time.  Averaging maybe 5 hours of sleep a day, finding myself uncharacteristically irritable, starting to realize that my ~bad memory of late~ is probably stress making swiss cheese out of my brain, tension and stress headaches, heart palpitations, anxiety.  Every day/week/month I tell myself: surely the next [fill in the blank] will be better.  It's not.  It's more of the same.  My job is not that bad, really (I think?  I've heard of so many people in much worse situations making much less money), but I really am that dead inside, and I don't know if I'll last another 6 months.  I keep daydreaming of just handing in my notice and walking away, or just never showing up again.  I would never do that.

So much for taking risks- I want the additional 10k in my 401k, I want the extra padding in my savings cushion, I want to be secure in my learning and have my business in a good place and hey, throw in a Nintendo Switch and a deep cleaning for my house while I'm at it.  Something's gotta give in my neatly arranged path toward the future, but I'm too close to be able to figure out what.

[TL;DR PLEASE GIVE ME ADVICE/FACEPUNCHES/SUGGESTIONS FOR:]
- Surviving the next 6 months of teeth grinding, soul numbing work before I hand in my notice. Attitude checks or perspective changes, tools, tricks, tips, everything is welcome.
- Should I.... resign sooner?  I was planning on giving them 4 weeks notice in about 5 months, but maybe I should accelerate that timeline, even if it means leaving without as much money.
- What should I make a priority?  What should I drop?  What gives (if not my sanity first.)
- Making a career change-- Any free or paid coding courses that people might recommend?  There are a lot of resources out there, but it can be hard to tell what's reputable and worth the time/money, and what's not.  Any recommendations for reputable and intensive coding bootcamps in the LA area that don't cost an entire arm and leg?  Or even ones that do...  I am absolutely planning on doing my own research, and I have programmer friends that I can run things by, but they're all from traditional 4 years uni --> job backgrounds, and I'd love some direction on where to start.
- Any other thoughts, insights are welcome.  I really value the collective knowledge in these forums, and would love more input.

Personal Info:
Age: 28
Current Salary: 55k
Side Business: 5-10k a year? I have no real expectation of making big $$$ out of it, but it's an enjoyable side hustle
NW: 190k, about 75k in retirement accounts
Yearly Spend: ~22k, including travel.  Can probably get it down to 18k once I cut out gas (commute) and expensive car insurance (commute again, damn!)
Personal:  I have an SO, we currently live together (and so share housing expenses.)  No children, mortgages, or joint accounts (and no plans to acquire any of these things in the future.)

seattlecyclone

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Where did you get this six months milestone from? Do you get some extra pay if you stick it out that long, or what?

As to coding, I have no particular bootcamp to suggest. What makes you interested in coding? Have you done it at all before? Do you have any idea what you're getting into? While it does tend to pay better than office manager work, I can't really suggest that most coding jobs will be any more intrinsically interesting or fulfilling.

Fish Sweet

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Where did you get this six months milestone from? Do you get some extra pay if you stick it out that long, or what?

As to coding, I have no particular bootcamp to suggest. What makes you interested in coding? Have you done it at all before? Do you have any idea what you're getting into? While it does tend to pay better than office manager work, I can't really suggest that most coding jobs will be any more intrinsically interesting or fulfilling.
The 6 months was relatively arbitrary-- that's about how long I figured it would take to grow my savings account into enough to go for another 6 months without tapping into investments, I'd max out my 401k for the year and start fresh in 2020.  It'd also be after the holiday season (busy time for my side hustle) so I could focus taking courses rather than dividing my attention.

To be honest, I only have a general idea of what to expect, based on (still cursory) googling and what programming friends have told me about their work.  The extent of my coding beforehand was modifying html for some social media site or another for aesthetic purposes.  That said, I do think it's something I'm capable of learning and doing well, and I'm not really looking for fulfillment or a deep connection with my job, just money and growth, both in a new career and also as a person stretching my mind to acquire new knowledge.  I expect to be able to FIRE within 7-10 years anyway, even if my income stays the same as it is right now.

AccidentialMustache

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I don't know that software dev is going to solve your problems. It means better pay sure but it also often means you have on-call rotations (and you will get called). Plus you have not just standard office politics but also code/architecture politics.

Your post kinda sounds like you need to learn to say no. Its a skill you need as a software developer, too. Product folks always want more -- you need to know when and how to tell them no -- and how to negotiate that no when they say they really need that feature. Managers/product want to cut corners (testing, docs, refactoring, tech debt payoff) to deliver features faster.

Fish Sweet

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I don't know that software dev is going to solve your problems. It means better pay sure but it also often means you have on-call rotations (and you will get called). Plus you have not just standard office politics but also code/architecture politics.

Your post kinda sounds like you need to learn to say no. Its a skill you need as a software developer, too. Product folks always want more -- you need to know when and how to tell them no -- and how to negotiate that no when they say they really need that feature. Managers/product want to cut corners (testing, docs, refactoring, tech debt payoff) to deliver features faster.
Hmm, that's good to know, thank you.  I've worked on call shifts before (a long time ago though) so I'm familiar with needing to be available 24/7 for a job, but I hadn't realized that might be part of software dev as well.

I think... you're probably not wrong.  One of my frustrations with my current job is that I feel like I can never say no, that the people in my role are expected to just roll over for anything that comes from higher up, and that any kind of pushback gets interpreted as being unreasonable or insubordinate.  IMO I'm pretty good at navigating office politics and negotiating outcomes, but saying no?  Definitely a skill that needs polishing.

pbkmaine

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Until and unless you learn to say no, you will never be happy at work. What’s the worst they can do - fire you?

AccidentialMustache

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If yes is easier than no, you can work on your yes-but.

Product comes in with a new feature or scope creep or such. Can we do this? "Yes, but it'll take this much work, so what can we deprioritize that's an equal size?" Or "Yes, but we'll need to spend some time refactoring existing code to work that in."

Closely related to no-but. "No, we can't do that feature but it seems like you're really getting at X, and we could do Y which is close to X -- it solves 70% of the problem. Is that good enough and/or really what you want?"

Good product people of course expect that exact conversation, because they know "its easy" is never the truth, I'm not specifically throwing shade at them. They're just a convenient foil since we're talking about coding anyway.