Scott Hanselman has a great blog entry titled “The Programmers phases of Grief” (via The Daily Grind) to which I can totally relate! I’ve been there before… However, what struck me most was Scott’s opening sentences:

One’s mind should be pretty clear when programming. I’m a decent enough programmer, but I’m not a bad-ass programmer. At least not anymore.

Back in the day, before marriage, before diabetes, before babies, when I was sleeping a full 8 hours, I could code some nice stuff. Now it’s just a miracle it compiles. When it does.

And furthermore, I can so totally identify with the Depression stage:

I’m not a good programmer! I’ve been coasting on charm for at least the last three years. I remember what closures were in college, but I’ve been using .NET 1.1 for the last five years and it dulls the senses…I might as well just give up and become a nurse.

The man must have read my mind! I believe we all occasionally get plagued with self-doubt. What value am I providing my employer? When you’re in this stage, you tend to feel like you’re not doing enough, not providing enough value. I’m not a superstar programmer anymore! :-(

The reality is, if you have been with a company for any length of time, your value does not just lie in what you can produce right now, but also in the sum total of the knowledge you accumulated. This has recently been vividly illustrated at my employer when one of our Application Engineer moved away. He had been with us for 3 years, and during that time he became very proficient with our various product offerings, and a main part of his job was to provide technical support to customers. Alas, with his departure, we are left somewhat short handed. While we have new personnel on board, it will take a while for them to accumulate enough of the knowledge to be able to provide good support. This increases the pressure on the rest of us to pick up the slack. And unfortunately, this intrudes on our productive hours. Which feeds the feelings of inadequacy…

I’ll just have to pick myself up by my bootstraps and keep on plowing!