This is a follow-up (but not a duplicate) to this question: Recruited for a senior SME technical role but assigned in the medium term to a much more junior project
Basically I was taken on in this company to be a senior-level technical person to give "big picture" and architectural input within the company as a whole (across various teams so not getting too involved in the concerns of each particular team) but then found myself assigned full time to carrying out a junior-level role (entry-level C# coder) within one of the teams I was meant to be 'advising', on "Project X".
There are a total of 5 teams with number of people ranging from 5-13.
I was concerned (in the original question, and still am) about the reputational hit to my resume, and my status within the company and how I would be perceived, with this de facto "demotion". (NB: there were no concerns with my performance in the role I was actually recruited for, I wasn't "demoted" as such and continue to be paid as a SME)
The situation now:
Due to the importance of Project X (the project I am assigned to) within the company, after discussions it seems that at the moment I have no option (other than leaving, which I guess is always an option!) other than to continue to act as a "junior coder on steroids" as a member of the project team, carrying out work that is typical for someone much 'earlier' in their career than I am (it's work I would have been doing 10-15 years ago), rather than the strategic "subject matter expert" role I was actually taken on for (.NET lead architect).
It's frustrating, boring and (maybe more importantly) is now 'retrograde motion' with my career--I'm capable of much more than what I'm doing here.
Project X has tight deadlines and is of major importance to the company to get it right / on time / with good quality. They are not concerned that they're paying over the odds (for a "junior coder") to have me carrying out this role, as long as the project gets completed and have asked me to continue in the role for the foreseeable future. They do not have the budget to recruit an additional person that I could "siphon off" some of this work on to (as suggested in the answers to the original Q).
Project X is likely to continue for at least another year in my estimation and most probably longer.*
Project X is the most prominent/urgent project of the company at the moment, but isn't by any means a "last resort" or something like that -- they have a lot of .NET / C# projects in the pipeline and a healthy backlog receiving attention from Product Managers etc.
Other than leaving (which I already know as an option) and getting myself removed from this project which isn't a possibility at the moment, I would like to know what possibilities exist to mitigate the impact of this.
Is it reasonable for me to ask for some amount of time (say 20%, or maybe more) of my working hours to be 'ring-fenced' for working on "personal" knowledge-maintaining, resume-building activities (e.g. researching Technology Y and its applications, or building a proof-of-concept of "Approach Z" which would have been part of the remit of my SME role)?
If so -- how could I phrase/justify a request like that?
Could I request company resources (e.g. software licenses where needed) be purchased to pursue that?
Are there other options, that I haven't thought of, to help mitigate this situation?
(Or should I now just be in damage control mode and looking to leave?)
- I added in a comment below that it's likely to go on for at least a year, and I'm around 60% certain that it will go on for 18 months or more.