I recently discovered that a colleague is being made redundant. I do not speak often with this person but I have always felt sympathy because he is the sole developer on a different technology stack, which noone else knows - including our boss. So he has had no real support.

My colleague works as a PHP developer, but most of our software is C# ASP.NET MVC. The product he has been working on does not make money, so there's a business case to be made for the redundancy, but there are plenty of new products coming up in the future, and we are hiring developers for the .NET stack, which my colleague does not know.

My impression is that the boss isn't satisfied with my colleague's performance, but my boss lacks the technical ability to help or advise him. In fact the boss has only database/SQL skill and is unable to help anyone on a technical level, but knows enough to be dangerous.

I would be willing to help train this person on the .NET stack, I am a confident Senior full stack developer with over 10 years of experience. I feel most of the motivation for the redundancy is because my colleague isn't liked by his boss. Yet I feel the under-performance is a result of not having the right support structure in the company.

For my colleague to be "saved" an idea is forming in my head that I would take responsibility for this person, train them up on .NET and give them the support structure they've been sorely missing. The thing is, I've never been interested in management, and my people skills aren't great, yet they are surely better than the person who has decided to make this redundancy.

I suspect the boss does not have a good relationship with my colleague because of the tension caused by his inability to understand or help. My boss has a vindictive streak and I suspect would be glad to see my colleague gone. I feel like I'm being a spectator to gross unfairness. Should I approach this topic with the boss, or keep quiet and be glad I have a job?

closed as primarily opinion-based by mcknz, gnat, DarkCygnus, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Michael Grubey Jul 30 '18 at 1:26

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Does your company have a referral program? If so, get his resume and put it through. – Dan Jul 23 '18 at 17:46
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    If your boss is vindictive and would be glad to see them gone what motivation would there be for your boss to allow additional company resources be used towards helping them? Seems like sticking your neck out with someone like this offers more chance for backfiring than succeeding. You obviously don't think your boss has their employees best interests at heart; it might be best to look for a new gig. – Myles Jul 23 '18 at 19:40
  • Are you sure that the colleague would want to switch stacks? – DonFusili Jul 24 '18 at 8:27

Doing the right thing is often not easy.

But, before talking to anyone else I would discuss the matter with the collegue in question: does he want to be trained by you? Is he even interested in learning new tech? It is imperative not to be pushy, because you can end up between the nail and the hammer.

Given that your collegue is interested and willing to learn - I would definitely talk to the manager and offer such training. It is not only beneficial for the collegue (and a moral thing to do), but it will be highly developing for you. I know for a fact, that if you want to understand something really good you need to teach it. If there are any gray areas in your understanding of the tech - you will push yourself to get them right.

Go for it.



Its a tricky situation you are in. Your humane side and conscious motivates you to help a fallen comrade. Its good to see this attitude in today's world. However, on the other side you risk offending your boss/manager. So, you have to be careful.

Here's what I would suggest:

  • Talk to your colleague and understand his willingness to take your help. Even if nothing works in the end, you will have a friend :-) (selfish me)

  • Loop in few of your close colleagues/team members who share the same thought. Being lone wolf doesn't always help

  • Talk to your manager/boss about your proposal (training your colleague). However, market this proposal as how will it be beneficial to your manager and to your company. E.g. you can highlight how your colleague's domain expertise can be leveraged, how this would boost the morale of the team, how would it make your boss/manager good look in the eyes of team and senior management

  • In continuation of above, don't make or show this proposal as a personal. It might backfire

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