Feeling exhausted, overworked and tired

I started my career as a junior SQL DBA. I was very excited and I was working very hard with a lot of passion. As I was learning new things, I really enjoyed getting more and more work from my senior DBAs and TL. I was always tried to deliver on time as per schedule. I often spent a lot of weekend and off work hours learning new things. I setup a lab at my home and I almost implemented everything withing the scope of my technology at my home lab. I also completed required certification and became certificated DBA. Within about couple of years, I became an excellent problem solver and well respected individual within our organization. I got promoted as a senior DBA after about three years of joining. I was very excited and happy that time. We used to be five DBAs that time to support about 2000 databases within our organization.

But then in 2008, our work got outsourced to a big IT service provider company which I will not name here. They laid off two DBAs and other two DBAs changed their job voluntarily. So after about a year, I was the only one DBA on site supporting our client. The rest of team members were in another country and they were also supporting other clients. They didn’t hire any onsite replacement for those talented DBAs who left our organization. They made me Team lead and I was the main point of contact to client. I started getting shitload of work(please excuse me words here but it is true.) and I started spending a lot of my personal time outside working hours to resolve issues and to implement new projects. I started getting depressed feeling because of work pressure and because of my inability to spend much time with my family and friends. Even I was not getting enough time to learn new things and to keep myself up-to-date with current technology. I tried to stay away from people from client side as much as I can because they were giving me more and more work without worrying about my capacity, health and decreased performance due to workload. They somehow started taking me granted. I took vacations in order to overcome this feeling but it didn’t help. After coming back from vacation, I used to have thousands of emails and tens of projects waiting for me or my guidance. Because I was not able to deliver on time, my credibility and respect with client started going south. I started realizing that it is not my fault but it is because of my employer’s tactics to save money by getting rid of talented people onsite and hiring fresher level people offshore. Offshore team was there but they were not good at taking decisions and taking initiative to get the work done.
I then gave up and resigned from my job. I gave notice of five weeks with the hope that my employer will hire more people to replace me but unfortunately I didn’t get anyone to do knowledge transfer. I did KT to my offshore team lead.

I got another job right away(my current job) and but I am facing same issue here too. There is no offshore tem and client-employer relationship here but we are very much understaffed here. I started getting overwhelmed with work and getting thoughts again about changing job but I am worried that I will feel the same on my next job too. Also due to workload and lack of time, I feel like my knowledge is not very much current with my technology. I am feeling very much down in spite of a lot of hard work and dedication towards my work in last 8 years or so. I am feeling like a loser because I am not happy with my work and at the other end I am not able to provide much time to my family. Also my health is going south due to stress and tension.

Anyone else felt this way or feeling this way? How did you overcome this situation? Any advice will be helpful. Please respond...

P.S. – I know that this is mainly a technical forum but I still posted this question here because I am certain that I am not alone with this feeling and surely someone else with same background felt this way.

First and foremost, you are definitely NOT a loser. From your description of what you've done and how you've gone well beyond expectations without being asked, any company should be happy to have you.

And, you're correct. A lot of companies take DBAs for granted until they need something yesterday. Part of that is because a lot of C-Level people don't actually know what a good and dedicated DBA actually does. Talk with them. Let them know. Especially if you're the only DBA in the company.

Just, whatever you do, don't take it out on yourself. Yes, it's great to meet schedules but some schedules are absolutely ridiculous and one person cannot do the job of two for very long without getting burned out. Vacations are nice but they don't fix anything. Give the company a good, honest 8 or 9 hours a day and then go home to your family. When the company asks what's going on, explain that you how you are doing the work of two and that you needed to step back and do the job of one.

And, keep looking. Dream jobs do exist even in this crazy profession. And remember, your dedication to the company is a good thing but you have to learn to control it so it doesn't kill you. Talk with the people you work for.

I concur with the above posting. Don't take it personal. Unfortunately, a lot of management treat IT people with profound disdain because they are unable to see the value they bring to the company. IT has been viewed as a "cost" associated with business for a long time. People are now recognizing that it can bring value and even make money (depending on the business of course). Further, it will cost a lot more money if something bad happens like a corrupt database, poor performance, security breach, etc. In short, IT people are abused and taken for granted until a painful event helps to focus the importance in the eyes of management.

I think you are similar to a lot of other IT people I encounter. You want to do a good job, take pride in what you do, and know when shortcuts are taken and the negative results that will happen. All you can do is voice your opinion and present your thoughts on it in a dispassionate manner. The decision is then in the hands of management and how they act is their responsibility. That can be hard because we are often called on to clean up the mess from their bad decisions.

When you are at work, do the best you can. When you leave, it should stay at work. I would by lying if I said that I can do that all the time. It has taken me years to be able to leave things at the office when I go home. Not doing so has caused me a lot of pain over the years. It is something you need to work on and it doesn't take away from you being a good person or a hard worker. Lots of "studies" are recognizing that employees are more focused and productive if they have a defined work/life balance. Only you can do that. Your employer will ALWAYS try to get as much out of you that they can.

There are jobs that will make you happy. Find them. The challenge is trying to let your current employer know you are unhappy without them getting upset and getting rid of you. It's a balancing act.

Good luck.