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Over the past few months I've taken on a lot of roles that I never asked for nor signed up for. I was hired as a developer. My boss took on a project in which I didn't have a say in the timeline. Due to severe over estimation of how quickly 1 person could build the project he needed to bring on 3 other developers.

Now, to say that these developers were green would be an understatement. None of them had experience writing code at production level. In order to keep this system from blowing up I was often spending much of my time reading their code to make sure it wouldn't do just that, going over reviews, or sitting with them for and hour or 2 a day helping them figure something out. In many cases an entire day would go by and at about 3pm I'd get a message that they couldn't figure out a bug and needed me to do something for them or they'd have to take another day to figure it out.

My boss has been very busy with another client so he's been asking me to meet with and email back and forth with the client for my project on a daily basis. He has also wanted me to look into database management, a field of which I've never even claimed to have a large amount of knowledge in.

Up to this point I've been working 12-16 hour days for the past 2 months and I don't see this ending until September. Even when it does I don't think that it was okay that he put all this on me to begin with, but I acknowledge that I probably shouldn't have let him.

I've decided that I'm not going to work 12-16 hours/day anymore while only being paid for 8. He's asking me to do the jobs of several people, hasn't offered me any raise or compensation, and has been very insistent that I still produce just as much code as I did prior. I'm going home at 5pm and what doesn't get done will need to wait until tomorrow.

When/If he gets upset that work starts stalling how do I politely and professionally let him know that he's asking for way to much from 1 person?

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    Have you spoken to him yet about the level of work you are doing? – DaveG Aug 12 '18 at 14:31
  • I have and he's been very outspoken and thankful, but his gratitude isn't enough anymore as I'm losing my nights a weekends. Essentially working for free. – KAT Aug 12 '18 at 14:37
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    Why are you taking responsibility for 3 other developers? – Kilisi Aug 12 '18 at 15:49
  • Why are they piling all of these extra things on to you? Can they not afford to hire more staff, or did several people leave recently? – Time4Tea Aug 12 '18 at 16:31
  • more staff won't happen. To my knowledge my boss had some incredibly qualified candidates in mind when the first 3 were hired but declined them for cost reasons. – KAT Aug 12 '18 at 17:42
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You are clearly frustrated.

The solution is to talk with your boss, explain the situation, and be clear about what you want done.

I've decided that I'm not going to work 12-16 hours/day anymore while only being paid for 8. He's asking me to do the jobs of several people, hasn't offered me any raise or compensation, and has been very insistent that I still produce just as much code as I did prior.

So before you talk with him, you need to decide what outcome you want.

  • Do you want to be paid more?
  • Do you want to go back to working only 8 hours?
  • Do you want to produce less code and focus on the newly-assigned tasks instead?

I'm going home at 5pm and what doesn't get done will need to wait until tomorrow.

You could state that bluntly. But you would be better served to talk that over with your manager first.

When/If he gets upset that work starts stalling how do I politely and professionally let him know that he's asking for way to much from 1 person?

If you just refuse to do the work and basically say "I'm going home at 5pm. It's not my problem." he will likely get upset. It sounds like you already know that.

But if you decide that only working 8 hours per day is what you want, then you should first talk it over with your manager. Explain that you think there is too much work for one person to do in an 8 hour day, and ask for help prioritizing and perhaps reassigning some of that work so that you can resume a typical work day.

Try to make it come across as a problem that you both can solve by working together, rather than just conveying "I have taken on more responsibilities over the past few months. But I want to drop them all now."

In the end, your manager may or may not get angry. And you may or may not get what you want. Sometimes alternative solutions can be worked out - but only if you talk about them. Sometimes the solution is to leave and find a workplace that doesn't put too much work on your plate.

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    OP may also want to document some examples of how much time he's been spending coaching the other three employees he has, in order to show that they aren't really up to the task. Otherwise the idea of telling him "this is too much work for one person" will likely be met with "but I gave you three other guys!" – Steve-O Aug 12 '18 at 21:08
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    I very much like the idea of making it "our problem" rather than "your (boss's) problem". One thing in addition is to make the problem very clear. For example, explain some cases where not reviewing the other dev's code would have led to really bad consequences. Make it clear that if that work isn't done, it's not "if disaster happens" it's "when disaster happens". – DaveG Aug 12 '18 at 21:30
  • I saw no indication that Kyle T was going to work precisely 8 hours, just not 12-16 hours. There's plenty of room in between working to rule and wrecking one's physical and mental health through overwork. – David Thornley Aug 13 '18 at 16:29
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This is all falling to pieces. The problems are not resolvable as they are.

The boss miscalculated your skills in making the timeframe.

You couldn't handle the work so now you have 3 useless devs.

Your boss thinks hiring 3 sub par devs is more cost effective than one decent one.

You have taken responsibility for these devs instead of letting them sink for reasons unknown.

The boss is doing nothing except making pleasant noises.

You and other devs are taking a whole day to fix one bug in software you wrote.

This is a frequent occurrence implying the software is full of bugs.

The list goes on.

You need to look at moving on to a job you can actually handle. This one is bad for your peace of mind, self confidence, future career and wallet.

  • This was a hard to read, but useful sentiment. I would argue that no sane dev would be able to complete this in the timeline given. I absolutely shouldn't have taken so much responsibility for other peoples work but thought I was doing the right thing by at least trying to keep the project a float. – KAT Aug 13 '18 at 11:07
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    When bosses sell whatever the customer wants disregarding technical constraints, it's usually just a funding mine. Great if they can deliver but not as important as keeping the revenue stream open. Many entrepreneurs have whole careers and fancy lifestyles doing business this way. Techs are just fodder to make it all look professional. You either recognise it and shrug and collect your pay, or you get passionate about a product you don't even own and go slowly mad. – Kilisi Aug 13 '18 at 12:46
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The phrase you're looking for is "core job responsibilities". Whether you're saying that you're 'not going to be able to work beyond your core job responsibilities anymore', or perhaps warning him that his demands are 'jeopardising your core job responsibilities', that phrase almost on its own covers what you're trying to say. Using it should also remind him that you have a day job in addition to all the extras he's piling on.

This could be the beginning of a negotiation about what those responsibilities are and/or compensation, or it could just be a shield which protects your personal life.

Alternatively you could start saying that you can't stay late "because you have plans this evening", but that's not a long-term solution.

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