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Which part about your job/studies/etc. gives you the most anxiety?

Ben Halpern
A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.
・1 min read

Discussion (65)

keptoman profile image

Bugs in production.

Working directly in production.

Anything related to working on the live version of a website.

joehobot profile image
Joe Hobot

Those are big “Don’t do it”

tsimpson profile image
Travis Simpson

Currently: Picked up a call center tech support gig while looking for a developer role - tech support isn't unusual to me, but I hate being on calls.

In development: Getting anxious/nervous, particularly during interviews, causing me to freeze up and sound like I know absolutely nothing about development.

justsharkie profile image

100% yes on the interviews! I always end up freezing and it's awful.

It's why if there's ever a technical component, I ask if I can take it home with me. Because otherwise it's going to take me 2 hours and be riddled with mistakes because I'm just so nervous I can't think.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

All interviews should be done with access to searching the web, like you’d have in literally every other context in software development.

Thread Thread
justsharkie profile image

Exactly! I've had to make this case so many times in interviews - this is exactly what we're all doing while we're working, so why can't I do it now?

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I worked at a call center for a while when I was younger. I didn't like it, but I felt like it taught me some useful skills.

Definitely feel you on interviews 😄

metcoder95 profile image
Charlie Fuentes • Edited

Work with Ugly Legacy code.

I mean, it is not bad to work with legacy code, more if it is a legacy code that works in a good way. But, the things go messy when you're new at the company and all the code is:

  1. OOOOLD legacy code. For example, at work, they we're working with JS - ES3.
  2. NO CLUE of how the legacy code works or poor documentation about the code. The only documentation that we have is a Wiki that only explains the API of some internal libraries, but not how the BL works. Now, add the pain of trying to debug your code without any clue of the data flow and the only way to print something to stdout is running the entire app over and over again.

Please, if any CTO or lead dev is reading this ... DOCUMENT YOUR CODE, every new developer from experienced to juniors will appreciate 🙏

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

My job: entrepreneur.

I recall in college I was out having a drink with friends and I snuck a peak at my phone to check Google Analytics. I had this real moment of "Damn, am I going to be sneaking peaks at analytics for the rest of my career? Is this my life now?"

So far: Yes.

That's been the steady thing. Any period of downtime anxiety is probably 100x worse in the moment.

tamb profile image

Down time. Both if the server for the app I'm working on goes down or needs to go down, and if there isn't much work to do.
I constantly have anxiety over being replaced, even though I know I'm good enough for the job.

rpalo profile image
Ryan Palo

I'm going to use this opportunity to vent a little bit, because it'll be good for my mental health.

I'm going to start by saying that my job is pretty great. I love 3D CAD design, solving problems, doing math, coming up with solutions that are manufacturable, and especially teaching the newer engineers how to do the same things. There are only a few small areas of my job that are unpleasant.

The absolute worst part about my job is Quality Control. We are a small machining/molding company, and because we have a lot of medical customers, they require us to be ISO 9001 certified. It's a quality certification that basically says that your company can handle keeping track of metrics, continuous improvement, and track down root causes of issues when they come up. None of us had any experience with it, but as the only engineer, I was tasked with putting together the system, writing up the manual and procedures, and then handling all of the quality issues going forward.

The two main things this "handling" involves are getting audited several times a year by accreditation bodies and some of our customers and handling any quality issues that come up.

These two things spike my anxiety the second they come into my inbox.

Audits generally consist of someone who has been trained, gotten certifications, and made it their general career grilling me, untrained with only knowledge that I've gotten from being audited before (and some gracious mentorship from a couple of the nicer auditors). They pick through my system trying to find any flaws, and if (when) they find something, each thing is a ding on our record and a report that I have to write up.

Quality issues happen any time our parts aren't quite right. We send parts out (that I have no part in the actual manufacturing of), and if any of the dimensions on any of the parts is off by even .005 inches (~.12 mm), they generate what is known as a Nonconformance (with a very capital "N"). The parts get shipped back to us to fix it, and often I have to do a Root Cause Investigation to figure out why the parts weren't right. This involves finding out which person did what on which machine, what exactly wasn't right, why did that happen, and how can we definitely keep that from ever happening again. Again, someone who has spent their career looking for mistakes in reports like these will be looking at this and picking it apart for me once I have finished.

If I get an ulcer, I'm naming him Nonconformance.

Anyways, I'm trying to train a replacement so I can get out from under this accidental responsibility, but I've been audited 4 times in the last month, and had several Nonconformances all come through (most of which while I was on paternity leave), so I needed to let some of that out.

I love my job. I love to teach. I love to solve problems. Quality Control is important, but I do not have the mental makeup to enjoy it. Nonconformances can jump in a lake. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. :)

christopherkade profile image
Christopher Kade • Edited

Talks & presentations in front of crowds. And yet I do it again and again.
I have this weird relationship with public speaking, where I feel like I want to die before doing it but end up having an amazing time and want to do it all over again.

nprimak profile image
Nadya Primak

Two things, first being that I am working with a legacy framework at my current job and worrying about playing catch up and falling behind on all the new front end stuff. Second being that I job hop a lot and that at some point in an interview I will be rejected for it.

rixcy profile image
Rick Booth

SEO and single page applications. Whilst there's currently quite a bit of tooling available for frameworks like Vue like Chris Fritz' prerendering plugin, it's still quite a challenge to get good SEO rankings, especially with dynamic content. You either have static pages hosted on CDN's like cloudfront and pay next to nothing, or have server side rendering which out of the box gives way better SEO with less hassle, but have to pay for server costs, which vary depending on how much traffic you're expecting to receive. Sometimes you're not given the choice and have to make do with what you have available which can be challenging especially when you feel like you're not getting anywhere, but could be if you had a server available.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

Oh god I have so much SEO anxiety in general.

rixcy profile image
Rick Booth

I think the worst part is, as developers we're used to things happening quickly, having hot reloading during development and seeing things update in the blink of an eye. With SEO, you can try as many different things as you like, but you often won't get a solid answer for a good few weeks or months even, and it's still a bit of a guessing game even then.

ggallynn profile image
lynn • Edited

Estimating points for a user story.

My job: full-stack developer on a DevOps team in a non-tech, too-large-for-its-own-good conglomerate

In my company, upper management uses the amount of points completed in a sprint to measure progress. If I don't complete a user story, my whole team gets ding'd. I get extremely anxious about committing to a story at the beginning of a sprint, especially since much of my work is new to the organization (we're the first true DevOps team).

We've expressed many times that using points as a metric is NOT the purpose of Agile. Unfortunately, communication between technology and business does not seem to ever go as planned....

joumpierrez profile image
Joaquin Umpierrez

I live in a small city, and not being able to get a job as junior developer generates anxiety every day

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

That’s tough. Have you explored remote possibilities?

twigman08 profile image
Chad Smith

In general, the unknown.

How this relates to work is being in client meetings and knowing very little about the actual project. I get very anxious and nervous if I don't think I know the answer to something right off the top of my head or even a solution to something off the top of my head.

Sadly my current work atmosphere hasn't made this better. Tend to make it worse.

lmolivera profile image
Lucas Olivera

Definitely calls. Since very young I have hated having phone calls, and after having a job which would call me on my free time to go to work again it only got worse :(

murtezayesil profile image
Ali Mürteza Yeşil

I get butterflies in my stomach right before the exam. I am scared that I may not be able to put my knowledge on a good use due to stress and probably I cause the stress that I am scared off having.
This is probably student version of how others are feeling about interviews.

Thinking that it is not the end of the world if I can't pass the exam helps a little but this method may probably not work for interviews. After all, there probably is a family counting on you for survival.
Sorry for adding to your anxiety 😥️

healeycodes profile image
Andrew Healey • Edited

I worry about the areas I choose to dive deep in. I have no problem sitting down and studying. I worry whether I’ve chosen the right languages, the right area of CS, and the right position on the tech stack.

I worry that writing tech blogs is a form of procrastination for me. Even though I learn so much while researching, coding, and putting them together.

However, providing value to the community is very rewarding and can’t really be measured 😊

takakd profile image
Takahiro Kudo

I'm software engineer.

My anxiety is coding skills.
I have been using PHP for about five years at our company. I’m studying ruby and python, but there are no chances to use them in projects.
And recently, I only design a software architecture and do negotiations with customers.
No coding😢

vgrovestine profile image
Vincent Grovestine

// begin vent

The assumption that since I work with computers, I also fix computers.

Surely, I can explain away the horrors of a stuck Windows 10 update, or a Skype for Business call gone awry, or magically make SharePoint easier to use... No. Just no! I wrangle data and write a bit of code; I'm not qualified to be IT support! *headdesk*

// end vent

grantbennett profile image
Grant Bennett


I always seem to overrun! Must be good at procrastinating 😂

themattyg profile image
Matt Graham • Edited

The interview process. I don’t know everything all the time. In fact, I take big swings in technology stacks on what seems to be an annual basis. So when a contract role comes up that I’ve used the tech requirements before, but not in months or even years, I have to retrain my brain for that stack, and it never goes well when I cram for an interview in less than 48 hours, or even a week.

maxwell_dev profile image
Max Antonucci

My job: front-end developer.

My anxieties come mostly from seeing how much further others are getting and worrying I'm falling behind. I know that's irrational and a one-way ticket to pulling myself down, but the same feelings keep popping up. I think it's a sign I need to immerse myself in more work I find more meaningful since the stuff I'm focusing on now apparently isn't cutting it.

buphmin profile image

I don't really have work anxiety per se, but I do get dejected sometimes. Specifically when a decision is made against the recommendation of everyone else involved.

For instance one higher up made the decision to remove a column from a sql table that joined to another for a composite primary key because it "looked funny". So now the foreign key consists of only half the primary key of its reference. Now you can only access that table properly by joining another table that is not needed in most cases.

yashsway profile image
Yash Kadaru • Edited

My biggest would be those 2-3 months right as you start a new job: I'm always hypersensitive about how well I'm performing, always doubting myself, having substantial imposter syndrome and being just super anxious about every meeting – even chats with co-workers.

When in fact... everything is completely fine. I remember my manager calling me into setup a meeting once, a couple of months after I started, and I was so anxious.... turned out to be a raise cause I was fitting in and contributing so well!

Calls are sometimes a funny one as well, as Travis mentioned in the comments.

aturingmachine profile image

Team Rotations.

Currently I pair program 8 hours a day (give or take). Having team members rotated among the 5 Dev teams we have means losing the bonds I formed, and possibly having to work closely with people I may not pair well with. It's that fear of the unknown about new pairs and if those sprints will be enjoyable or absolutely terrible.

karlredman profile image
Karl N. Redman

all of it. but that's the fun.

The entire process of development is messy and disgusting and rought with anxiety ridden feelings at each stage. Every success is followed by many other things left undone. One is never finished when one has invented.

With that said, I'd say, it's the middle. That place where you have built something, you committed, and you, even for a moment, lose sight of the end.

siddude2016 profile image

Basically, In our company, we have a list of tasks to do and we have the choice to pick them I become very anxious about picking a task that would give me excitement and boost my confidence.

But at the same time, if I pick tasks that are hard to do I am putting myself

out of my comfort zone, I do not whether that is a good or a bad thing.

cdvillard profile image
Charles D. Villard

Studies. Keeping up with everything I need to learn, on top of what I want to learn, is rarely one-on-one and can often be overwhelming when looked at as a whole. I've recently started going to therapy to help bolster my coping mechanisms when it comes to stress, and the best advice I got from my last session was that, whether I've learned or accomplished everything I wanted to up to this point or not, I'm showing up, and for that, I'm enough.

stefandorresteijn profile image
Stefan Dorresteijn

Not having a monthly paycheck as a freelancer, and thus having complete control over my income is the scariest thing ever. If I get sick, or my ADHD becomes more of an issue (like it has done over the last 6 months), I just make no/less money and it's pretty scary

tomasmuzas profile image
Tomas Mūžas

I am currently doing both studies and work. This time of the year, is particularly stressful. I have to manage multiple contexts (work, teaching C# at work, scientific course work and group project).

It takes a lot of brain power to switch between them.

Another downside is that you almost dont have free time and all you think about is code 😀

malithmcr profile image
Malith Priyashan

Dealing with opinionated code reviewers.

khalyomede profile image

Can relate 😂 so exhausting...

malithmcr profile image
Malith Priyashan

I know right? :D

gklijs profile image
Gerard Klijs

Interviews can get unpleasant and sometimes really feel like an interrogation. But I think I've had enough of them to not care about it to much. As a consultant I'm often for some months to about two years with the same client. When one assignment end and there isn't another one yet I'm getting anxies. I feel kind of stupid about it, cause my salary is fixed anyway. But it's mostly not knowing where I need to be at that time, and the possibility to maybe have to do some work on internal projects, which can be nice, but are often a bit disorganized. Also during such a time there are off course interviews contributing to the anxiety.

ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

That so much of my effort is spent doing either of:

  • Fighting fires - usually resultant of someone else's poor implementation or design or failure to adequately understand the underlying technologies they chose to use
  • Writing ARRs and "how tos" (that seemingly nobody reads) to try "educate" people so that they don't cause the aforementioned firefighting

Rather than having time to tackle new problems, create new or improve existing architectures/deployments/strategies.

Building things – particularly ones you can point at, with pride, and demonstrate "here's how you can do in a way that is resilient, scalable and sustainable" – is infinitely more satisfying than playing tech-janitor. Conversely, the inability to partake in enough such positive endeavors causes real "am I stagnating" anxiety.

alexisbenamar profile image
Alexis Benamar

Definitely the recruitment process. The whole "not knowing if you did good or bad, not knowing when the company will respond" situation.

lauragift21 profile image
Gift Egwuenu

Anything related to deadlines gives me anxiety be it my job or studies.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern Author

I feel that!

yashints profile image
Yaser Adel Mehraban

My job is all around designing a product these days and the pressure to have a robust, multi tenant, scalable, cloud native app is just overwhelming most times

conw_y profile image
Jonathan • Edited

Tooling constantly letting me down and blocking my progress!!!

On a positive note... finally got a 'Build Succeeded' out of React Native.

olegthelilfix profile image
Oleg Aleksandrov

My current English skills. I'm not a native speaker, my knowledge is not well and I have many problems with it cuz for me easier to use my native language than English.

stephanie profile image
Stephanie Handsteiner

Having to work on the customer's live system!

equinusocio profile image
Mattia Astorino

Working with people who don't want to learn and improve themselves

programazing profile image
Christopher C. Johnson

Being buried in bugs from one or two sprints ago because we have too few testers.

So that just piles up and I get behind meaning I have to put in an extra few hours a week that I don't get paid for.

joeberetta profile image
Joe Beretta

Session in the university. Last 2 days didn't have time to sleep. And it's just beginning...

abdulkareembarghouthi profile image
Abdulkareem Barghouthi

Mistakenly pushing to the master branch

fardinhakimi profile image
Fardin Hakimi

hmmm, for me it has to be dealing with people who rub me the wrong way.

mdor profile image
Marco Antonio Dominguez

Work with IE, it causes too many issues and unnecessary development time.

katieadamsdev profile image
Katie Adams

Applying for jobs. I consider myself quite... slow and, as a result, I worry that I will not interview well when asked technical questions on the spot.

misnina profile image

Being a self-studier, the anxiety that I might be missing out on critical information and having to come up with my own good projects.

treevs profile image
Treevs • Edited

The non-dev stuff. Making sure certs, servers, and software are updated, something always breaks and I just trial and error my way through it since I'm not good at that side of IT.

adampb profile image
Adam Piechocki-Brown

The biggest pain is unnecessary ambiguity. I'm comfortable with not knowing "all of the things" but deliberate obscurity and information hoarding makes me sad.

andreirusu_ profile image
Andrei Rusu • Edited

When I am faced with banal tasks/projects and I don't see the possibility to be innovative/creative or build something useful.

Also meeting rooms with no windows.

xieweizhi profile image
Weizhi Xie

My Job Currently: Not much feedback from the supervisor about my performance.

iamshadmirza profile image
Shad Mirza

Impractical deadlines