IT projects are difficult, long and arduous. Requirements change, budgets are tight, and deadlines loom like a dark cloud. Sometimes it feels like you are moving mountains to ship the project. It can be quite a grind. For people like us that care about the quality and craft of our work, this can become quite the pressure cooker.
We are very much invested in the success of the project and the success of the business as a whole. To the point where we sacrifice personal/family time and relationships.
Generally the technology nuts and bolts do not present the biggest obstacle. Accumulating context is the real money pit. A lot of time is spent understanding the customer's business process and how technology can help to streamline that process.
The problem here is that when the project is over ... poof you are gone. Onto the next, without anything but some addition XP (epic set?!?) to show for it.
When the next project starts you will need to build this business context all over again. Again, venturing into unknown territory to discover the next dragon to be eviscerated. What a grind. Just when you get things figured out, you move on.
There are a couple of things that I have found which help:
- Don't get to high or too low. When things go bad on the current project, form a copping mechanism. For me, I like to work out at the gym. You might try reading, cleaning or hanging out with friends. Make sure it's something that takes you mind off of work.
- Don't get too invested. This can be a tough one especially for younger people. Try to realize that you are playing the long game. It's a marathon not a sprint. By avoiding living and dying with current project, you will be able to adapt to the next project much more easily.
- Specialize in an industry vertical. By specializing you can build reusable knowledge and context which can be transferred to the next project.