Caitlin BaileyFront End Developer

I made the decision at the beginning of last year to stop hating my projects.

I was not happy at work. It had little to do with my company and a lot to do with the fact that I was just frustrated all the time. I was not enjoying anything. Almost every project ended up the same - I started off excited about the possibilities and learning opportunities and then by the time the project was coming to a close I was bitter, always had something I didn't like about the site, and generally was relieved to get it off my plate so I could work on something else.

This frustration combined with my lack of confidence with respect to my work was taking a toll on me. I told my husband that I was going to give front end development one more year, and if I still was struggling and not feeling happy, I was going to spend some time figuring out what I wanted to do next. Even when I said that, I felt awful - I really felt that I loved front end development, so if it was getting to the point where I was seriously considering quitting, where would that leave me?

It was a little while later, sitting in the car on the way home an complaining to Chris about yet another project, that I realized something obvious - some of this was my own damn fault. Our teams are very small; typically they consist of one project coordinator/manager, one designer, one back end dev, and one front end dev. So how was it that with so many projects, I felt like things were getting away from me? Why do I hate something that I helped to build so much... and what can I do about it?

So right then I decided that I'm not going to hate my projects anymore. Of course I can't avoid frustrations and of course some projects are still going to suck - but there's some that should be a joy to work on from start to finish. I started giving more input to the designers when I recognized areas where we could make small changes that would save tons of development time or make the site more mobile-friendly - especially helpful considering we need to be conscious of both budgets and deadlines. I identified areas where I could use flexbox or other newer features in modern browsers to make a section work perfectly with minimal effort, and then do some other css to make it still look good in older ones. I was able to save time so I could spend extra time where it mattered.

One year later, I feel like that choice has really improved not only how I feel on a daily basis but has also improved the quality of work I do. I've been much happier at work and I love what I do again. I never expected that I could literally just choose to stop hating projects, but that's pretty much what happened. Have they all been great? Of course not. But I know that choosing to be more positive about my work and choosing to take a more active role has made all of my projects better.