I was moved onto a new team a 5 years ago because they were struggling with not being able to complete their Front End Dev projects. The work on this team is drastically easier than what I used to do, but my new boss has always stressed wanting me to help others get better and improve. Fast-forward 5 years. All of the people I've helped train, are leading their own projects now and doing well.

However I am left with one colleague who after all this time is still stuck with very basic knowledge, and is unable to do her job without constant help. She is an old friend of the boss, and has been written up countless times for not doing her work, however my boss still insists on me working with her to help her improve.

My team has been pushing more and more difficult projects on me this last year, and I'm finding that after all this time of helping others, I have stunted my own growth so much as to where in my eyes, I feel I am still a strong "worker", but now an incompetent "developer". After all our sitdowns we've had with my colleague, my boss is a very nice guy, but I don't feel like my boss will do anything aside from having another 'sit down'.

How do I bring this up to him, or is it best to just leave, and learn on-the-job elsewhere?

  • Can you arrange to ration your time? With your manager's agreement, be available to help her for a limited period each day, and work on other things the rest of the time. Sep 5, 2019 at 0:31
  • What is your relationship with your boss's boss? Do you think your boss is making poor business decisions because of their relationship with your colleague? Sep 5, 2019 at 0:35
  • @PatriciaShanahan I wish! I really do like helping out the team, the work simply piles up until it's too far past due, and gets escalated up to my queue.
    – DomHz
    Sep 5, 2019 at 2:42
  • @GregoryCurrie I haven't talked to my boss's boss yet, but I know our account team & PM's have brought it up to the folks above him as well. Perhaps things are already in the works, and it's just dragging?
    – DomHz
    Sep 5, 2019 at 2:42
  • If I was you, I'd try to wait it out if things are in the works. Though I understand that's more easier said than done. Sep 5, 2019 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


I think you are ignoring a really large part of your professional growth over the last five years.

You were bought on to a struggling team, and were able to get all except one of your team to the point where they are now able to lead successful projects.

You may not be a top notch developer any more, but it sounds like you've been getting some excellent experience as a lead developer.

It might be time to start looking for promotions rather than slipping back into the role you held five years ago.

  • 4
    Why would the manager promote the OP, there have been several opportunities... the manager wants a babysitter for his friend and has one... The OP is left with the option to leave - as the manager is not going to change the status quo.
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 5, 2019 at 5:20
  • 3
    @SolarMike depending on the organisation there may be leadership positions in other departments that the OP can apply for, or the OP may wish to apply for team leader roles in other companies using their last five years as relevant experience. The OP asked "or is it best to just ... learn on-the-job elsewhere", my answer is intended to challenge the assumption that they should be trying to continue with their old job, which is an assumption they seem to be making.
    – Player One
    Sep 5, 2019 at 5:27
  • 2
    The number of people that have been trained by the OP and promoted show how many opportunities are around, that manager won’t promote the OP until the “poor” employee improves, leaves or drops dead... Promotion will only happen by leaving...
    – Solar Mike
    Sep 5, 2019 at 5:30
  • 1
    I upvoted this answer because it points out an important concept the OP seems to be missing. Taking a struggling team and transforming all but one of them into quality, independent workers is a huge accomplishment.
    – dwizum
    Sep 5, 2019 at 15:09

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