I was hired as a senior software developer and was briefed about a project while interviewing at a client. When I officially started with this company, something went wrong. Eventually, the client declined my CV, and, from then, I started to feel that something changed.

I was doing absolutely nothing for 2 months. Suddenly, a manager assigned to me an internal project, saying it is intended to ease the work of managers. I worked on the project relentlessly, until I achieved the objectives. That's when it was decided I will be staffed at a different client that uses the same technological stack.

At the end, the manager who was in charge of project didn't want the source code or anything from my project. That's when I realized it was a fake project.

Is it bad news for a senior developer to undergo such a process? Or was it legitimate?

  • That's when I realized it was a fake project. Do you think that only because the work ended up not being used or were there other signs? – BSMP Oct 11 '18 at 0:33
  • You fret a lot about your job - i could not get a clear picture about your situation from your other questions - could you include a clear timeline? – bukwyrm Oct 12 '18 at 13:15

Stop worrying

You were assigned to work on internal project XX in part because you had nothing better to do.

You are now assigned to a client using the same technology stack.

It sounds to me like project XX was a successful training project.

That's not fake and it's not bad news for you.

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    I agree. Seems like the staffing company knew they needed someone to fill an upcoming project, and decided to make you a "perfect fit" by giving you the experience they then advertised to the client. This is an extreme act of kindness. By the way, I've worked on projects for nearly two years that had all intentions of shipping, but didn't. Sometimes it happens (and it is nicer when it doesn't). That said, the work wasn't fake. :) – Edwin Buck Oct 8 '18 at 22:49
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    "I worked on the project relentlessly, until I achieved the objectives" To me it means you showed to your manager you can get things done. Also you keep two months from getting rusty and being paid real money. Start to worry when you are paid fake money – jean Oct 9 '18 at 17:09
  • @EdwinBuck, from my understanding, I am going to be in charge of a specific module that uses the same technologies I used in the "fake" project. I wonder "what if I used primitive frameworks?" – Leonidas Oct 9 '18 at 19:07
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    @Leonidas Whether the framework is good or bad might be irrelevant. Sometimes clients want a specific framework even when it's not the best choice, because that framework is a good choice for their needs. For example, code written to an obsolete framework might integrate perfectly into an environment filled with other bits of code written the same way. Also, modern doesn't always mean stable, easy to use, or extensible. Frameworks and environments mature, and we benefit from seeing the ones that survive, not the ones that died. – Edwin Buck Oct 10 '18 at 14:31
  • I have discovered today, that the junior developer who precedented me was sleeping on the desk because he had nothing to do. He spent three months there and left. Isn't this suspicious to be staffed at the same position? – Leonidas Oct 17 '18 at 19:06

Is it bad news for a senior developer to undergo such a process? Or was it legitimate?

You'd know it's legit by getting paid. If you don't get paid, then worry. Companies are not going to hold a ultra secret conspiracy against you. They're either going to pay you or fire you. No secret agendas.

As always keep your resume up to date and ready. There are no guarantees with anything and you'll always want to keep things up to date in case.

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    -1: Strongly disagree with this answer. This precise situation ("They're going to pay you or fire you. No secret agendas") specifically happened to me relatively recently at a large tech giant (you know who they are), in a story eerily similar to the OP's although over a much longer timeline (~1 yr rather than 2 months). – Ertai87 Oct 9 '18 at 14:30
  • @Ertai87 But they eventually fired you. Sure they waited for whatever reason but ultimately, they fired you, not hold out secret conspiracies against secretly wanting to fire you but not really. My point is still valid because I stated there are no guarantees to anything in life. Your job could be perfect but one day laid off due to downsizing. Look at Telltale. They actually had people who started working the previous day. Imagine the surprise especially if it was a lengthy process that is very competitive. – Dan Oct 9 '18 at 16:30
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    Right, but it took 1 year for them to fire me. The OP has only been at this situation for a few months. About 2 months before they fired me, I was put in a situation very reminiscent of what the OP is going through right now (they gave me a small project that meant nothing, and then they told me to work on a larger project that they said was going to have a purpose). These are the warning signs. – Ertai87 Oct 9 '18 at 18:48
  • Let's suppose the OP is going to get secretely fired due to some conspiracy within the company. Now that it's a sure thing the OP will get fired wouldn't it make better sense to a) save money, b) maintain a current resume, and c) when he gets fired he can comfortably look for a job and have a good resume on hand? Why rush so fast to leave under the notion that you'll secretely get fired and potentially get in an even worse situation? – Dan Oct 9 '18 at 18:56
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    My advice would be to start looking for a new job now, do all those things you mentioned etc. But I do think that your advice of "don't worry" is misguided. I don't think there is no reason to worry (that's a double negative for those counting). – Ertai87 Oct 9 '18 at 19:01

First of all - I don't understand why wouldn't you have a chat with your leaders or managers, asking strangers on the website about decision making in some anonymous company won't give you definite answers.

That said - I did work in software consultancies and agencies and I can see two reasons for the events that happened to you:

You are that good: Company interviewed you and were impressed by you, after Client declined they decided that you are too good anyways, and they decided to keep you for the future project, when they realised that you had nothing to do for 2 months they assigned you to an internal project that either by design or by accident a lot like the project for their next client.

Bureaucratic Mess: Company is going through some kind of bureaucratic mess, and they simply forgot that they hired you after Client declined, when somebody was trying to start a new internal project - your name popped up as "available person", later same happened with next Client.

Latter scenario is less likely unless you working for companies like Accenture with 400,000 employees.

  • Because my immediate boss doesn't talk much and always seem to be frowning and "why are asking?" kind of guy. He would never tell me his real intensions. – Leonidas Oct 9 '18 at 19:03

Get out. NOW. You are a SENIOR developer. This should be an extreme warning sign:

1) As a senior developer, you are probably the most well-paid of your colleagues. However, you are being tasked with grunt work (or no work!). What does that say about your level of respect in the company, that they would rather you do nothing than to do something for the money they're paying you? It means you have lost the trust and confidence of your peers/management (not sure why, maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn't, I can't say for certain).

2) They gave you a training project on a stack you were not familiar with and wasted 2 months of your time on it. That means that the company would rather re-train you to do tasks for which your senior-level competency is not a match, than give you tasks for which you can do the work. This means they are looking for an excuse to treat you like a junior. If you are happy being treated like a junior, then by all means, but they are not giving you the respect you deserve.

3) As a senior developer, you probably have a lot of experience. As such, you probably have a tech stack you are familiar with. The company is attempting to pull the rug out from under you by putting you on a project with a third-party client which is in a tech stack completely unrelated to the one you have built your experience a reputation on. My initial inclination is to believe that this is to build a case under which they can provide an excuse to fire you due to incompetence: "We gave him a software development task, he couldn't do it, therefore he was fired" (the fact that different tech stacks work completely differently and need to be treated in different ways being wholly irrelevant to the non-technical people in HR and the Labour Standards Board or whatever it's called in your country).

It sounds to me like your company is setting you up to fail, or to at least build an excuse to cut your pay or demote you. Get out, while you still can.

  • they would rather you do nothing than to do something He wasn't doing nothing. He was working on learning the stack of an upcoming project. that the company would rather re-train you [...] than give you tasks for which you can do the work maybe no such tasks were available. By the way a company that's open to re-training their employees is a company I'd want to work for (and do, incidentally). That way it's harder for your skills to go stale – rath Oct 9 '18 at 14:55
  • @rath Nice name by the way :) But also that is how I would expect a junior developer to be treated. As a senior developer, telling you to do a project and then just throwing away all your work is highly disrespectful. If the company wanted to retrain OP, they should have just said so: "We want you to work on a project on XYZ tech stack, here's a project to help you learn it". You can beat around the bush with juniors this way, but seniors deserve more respect (disclosure: I am a junior developer IRL). – Ertai87 Oct 9 '18 at 15:07
  • There is no need for panic. He was hired in Company because he was good engineer. Client declined for whatever reason, but company thought - he was a good engineer and decided to keep him for next project. – David Sergey Oct 9 '18 at 15:40

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