4

I was hired at this company about a month and a half ago as a junior programmer.

I realize that they were looking for a senior dev, but felt like I could do the position with a little training based on my portfolio and interview responses.

Things have been difficult from the very beginning but, somehow I managed to survive by asking a lot of questions. Slowly adding features and building up confidence.

It seems like they noticed this, give me more projects, larger ones. Not something as simple as the add 50-100 lines of code, and write few queries to the production database.

Recently they gave me this large project which will take about 2 weeks to complete, and it’s a very important feature which has been talked about for a while.

I am sure in their eyes (senior devs) they look at all the features as being the same, since they have worked there for so long (one 5 years another 2 years).

However I am feeling a lot of pressure and my stress levels are unhealthy. One of my co workers suggested breaking the project into smaller tasks so I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Other juniors I have spoken to told me they get as much as 3 months of training, but it seems like everything is very accelerated at my job. How do I manage this situation and not feel so much pressure, I am worried that I will not complete in time or complete but not to their satisfaction.

0

I think I can guess the root cause reading between the lines.

Looking at various people, there is a range of how much they voice their self-directed thoughts (or rather emotions), especially the negative ones: lack of confidence, other doubts, fears, anger.

The "whining" end of that spectrum is occupied by babies. As we mature, we notice the ineffectiveness of the behavior, and mostly change ourselves. But herein lies another danger, that we land on the other extreme where we constrain ourselves to only emanate confidence and power, always and everywhere, no exceptions.

I think you are around this place, reading how you relate to other juniors and how the seniors challenge you.

This extreme of the spectrum is not optimal. Although you'd be colloquially called a "perfectionist", in fact this is far from perfect. You can upgrade productiveness and mental stability, when you go back to the middle ground. Within the team, allow yourself an occasional conversation starter such as:

  • I'm so afraid I won't cope this time
  • Honestly, I have no idea where am I heading with that project
  • I can't imagine the consequences when I miss this deadline

Not often; but when the feeling is persistent, do signal it. The benefits you could expect:

  • People will like you more.
  • People may offer help and some of it could be useful.
  • By saying such things, you open yourself (and others) mentally to a very important realization: that you can risk failing a project, and manage this risk, and plan for that variant, and still be supported within your team/org. With this stuff, you can get much much further outside of your comfort zone. You'll start very daring projects and, hopefully, succeed big from time to time.
8

Recently they gave me this large project which will take about 2 weeks to complete. And it’s a very important feature which has been talked about for a while.

It looks like your hard work has paid off and you're getting an important feature to work on.

However I am feeling a lot of pressure and my stress levels are unhealthy.

A month and half into the role, I would say you're still onboarding, which means you'd be paired with one or more seasoned engineers to bring you up to speed and mentor you on projects. I normally say you're onboarding at least until you hit between 3 - 6 months, but varies from company to company and group to group.

One of my co workers suggested breaking the project into smaller tasks so I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Your coworker's suggestion is a great one. I can't tell you how many projects I've gotten where some well meaning non-technical manager says this project is easy, one engineer can do it in two weeks. Sure enough as soon as I start looking the feature it's way more complex than the manager suspected.

It's important to look at the feature and break it into deliverable bodies of work. Don't feel like you have to deliver everything in two weeks. Do your homework, lay out all of the different deliverables and provide time estimates for each to your manager and/or product manager. They can help prioritize what is critical and what isn't with you. If necessary, they may even pull in more people to help or push out the deadline.

Remember don't feel like you have to go it alone and keep communicating with your manager.

  • 1
    I want to add to this already excellent answer that a major part of becoming a professional is learning to manage expectations. Working with your direct manager to manage expectations and set boundaries will help avoid being overwhelmed and, in the long run, lead to better productivity. – Oubliette Feb 22 at 16:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.