You’re Not the Problem, the Work Is

“Despite all this every time I sit down to code my brain turns to mush, somehow, and nothing gets done. I can always give my managers an intelligent explanation of why progress is so slow…”

Oh, so this happens at work…This exact same thing has happened to me many times and here is what I figured out…

The problem is NOT with you, it’s with the work.

Like you I have scored excellently on interviews and tests and have written code so cool I even surprised myself. So we have to believe that we are as good as we think we are. That belief is what enables us to take on the hard projects. That belief is also what turns our brains to mush when our work is too many levels below our capabilities.

Sure, we all do work below our level every once in a while; we have to, that’s the nature of the beast. But when you’re doing low level work for too long (like at many jobs), you lose energy from the lack of stimulation. We then mistake that lack of energy for many other things: our skill, our commitment, even our health.

Here’s what I’ve done in situations like yours: build something cool on your own time. It will get your juices flowing and you’ll be your old self in no time. Of course, you’ll want to work on your own project instead of your employer’s, but that’s another problem.