19

I started working for a company a year ago. I don't remember exactly what was said in the interview, but the job was for a junior developer. My interest in working in this company, in addition to improving the salary, was to work on great projects and collaborate with other developers.

In my cv it said that my experience was web development with one year of professional experience.

The work started well, but now I am in a difficult and unusual project, not based on web development, where I am the only developer. In the project, I have to use a not very common framework where there are no examples on the Internet. All there is, is the framework documentation, but that is not enough, at least not for me.

My mental and physical health has worsened in the last month and I am supposed to finish this project in the next 2-3 months. But I fear that I cannot comply, the clients have already threatened to leave, and now my bosses are on top of me, but they are very nice and seem to be have my back.

But I really want to quit, because in addition, I don't see that they have very interesting projects and the teams are usually with one developer. The good side is that it is a remote job and I always wanted to travel and work (even though I'm not traveling right now).

But I feel bad for the company if I leave them with this half-done project.

I'm earning a junior salary ($ 1200 after taxes), and I feel that if I take a few weeks to prepare, I can get a better paid job, but I am not sure about the remote thing.

I have two years of work experience and I feel I can stop being a junior, but this project has destroyed my confidence.

I have already told my bosses that I don't feel good about this project, but they tell me that I can do it, and that is normal, considering the project (they also don't have another developer who can take it).

Should I be more specific and tell them that I'm considering leaving?

Should I continue with this project in spite of everything? And after the project is finished, leave?

Are other jobs going to do the same and request things that I am not prepared or do not interest me? I feel that I am wasting my time learning something that I will probably never use again.

2
  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Neo
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 13:26
  • 1
    This question is closed, but one point has not been discussed, so I'll add this comment: Your situation is somewhat normal. Often projects pop up where the company does not have a specialist for that exact job. So someone who is not a specialist is called to do the work. Two years of job experience is not much at all, you still are a junior. You can try to find another job, but you will definitely encounter this situation again. So the real question is: is the job, company and salary (irrespective of the current project) good for you or not?
    – Dakkaron
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 16:00

8 Answers 8

55

First and foremost, it's always okay to quit. Ultimately, unless you're doing something that breaks a contract or other specific legal agreement, employers know that people can leave at any time for just about any reason, and planning for your departure is ultimately their problem, not yours. Of course, it's commendable that you are concerned about your work, and it's smart to quit in a manner that doesn't burn important bridges, but at the end of the day, you have to look out for your own best interests.

That said, whenever I'm faced with difficult situations at work, I try to walk myself through a method of handling things before I decide to jump ship. It sounds like you may have already considered some of these points, but it bears repeating given the gravity of the situation.

  • Be sure you can specifically describe why you are so upset. This may seem obvious, but before you take any action it can be helpful to make sure you can identify the actual root cause of your concerns. When I find myself realizing I'm upset about work, I like to stop and ask myself at least five whys. Why am I upset? because of X. Why does X make me upset? *because I feel like Y. Why do I feel like Y? and so on. Get to the root of the matter before you take any action.
  • Ask yourself: Is there anything within my control I can do to solve this problem at this employer? Before you ask for help, or change your employment situation, make sure you understand your level of freedom to solve the problem yourself. Of course, there are many things that you won't be able to solve yourself, which leads to,
  • Bring the issue up as appropriate and give your employer a chance to solve it. It can be helpful if you can offer not just a problem, but also some solutions. If the issue is lack of tools, can you identify what tools you'd like? If the issue is a framework with no support, can you ask about changing frameworks? Or getting training or other support?

If your employer can't, or won't, solve the problem, and you've decided it's significant enough to cause you to want to jump ship, your thought process shouldn't end there. Ensuring you understand the problem can help you avoid it in the future. If you don't like to work on a "team" of one, or you don't like to work with specific frameworks, or you are otherwise able to identify the root cause, you can use that information to help you pick your next job, more successfully than you picked this one. Consider taking the following steps:

  • Do research on job opportunities and the employers behind them. Sometimes you can get info from the posting or the company's own website to help you understand if your problem would exist at that new job, too. Or you can check your professional network to see if you know anyone who works there, or find past employees' reviews on glassdoor or other online resources.
  • Formulate specific questions to ask during your interview to help you evaluate how happy you would be at this employer. Interviews are meant to be two-way: the employer evaluates your skills, and you evaluate the employer. Most hiring managers will give candidates time to ask questions. If there are things about your current job that are making you so unhappy that you want to quit, use this opportunity to ask questions and determine the situation at this potential new employer. Some candidates will be hesitant to ask questions because they fear that it might reveal a weakness or make you look too picky, but it can be helpful to remind yourself: you need to focus on finding the right job. If you would be incredibly unhappy at a given employer, that's not the right job for you and getting rejected because you asked a specific question might actually be a good outcome.

Finally, it's always helpful to keep a few other points in mind when switching jobs:

  • Consider this a growth opportunity. In hindsight, is there anything you could have done differently to avoid the problem? You're afraid of having to work alone on an important project with a looming deadline. Maybe next time, if your employer assigns you to a project by yourself, you can focus more energy up front on raising concerns, instead of waiting until there is pressure because of an impending deadline. Of course, it may be the case that everything was totally out of your control, but any time there is a bad situation in life, you have the opportunity to learn from it, instead of just running from it.
  • Finally, make sure you protect yourself. Don't tell your current employer that you're looking for another job. Don't give any hint that you're thinking about leaving until you have a firm offer in hand from a new employer. Once you've given notice, don't let your current employer pressure you in to changing your mind, working a ton of overtime, or taking on additional responsibilities on your way out the door. Do what you can to perform your job to the best of your abilities, and follow directions to support the transition, but don't let them play off your sense of guilt.
3
  • What does "okay to quit" mean? I think generally it would mean "will not have adverse effects," in which case it is most certainly not "always" okay to quit. I this case, it will be OP leaving a second job in 2 years and will certainly burn bridges with their company. It's up to OP/future employers to decide if that's "Okay"
    – Mars
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 6:33
  • 1
    The five whys... love this concept! Very wise answer, thanks for taking the time @dwizum
    – don.joey
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 8:01
  • Adding on to this answer might be something important: you work for you. You work to earn money for you, yourself, to live a life. Not your boss. However much companies like to instill the whole "us", in the end, they will replace you if need be and you will replace them. Remember that.
    – rkeet
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 9:24
12

There is nothing wrong with leaving a job. At the end of the day we all have to do what's best for ourselves. Finding a replacement is your employers' problem, not yours.

6

At the end of the day, every employer should have contingency plans in place. If you want to quit, just give your regular notice and do the regular handover you would do at any other company.

With regards to your project, just make sure everything is documented, documented, and documented. Your employer can't hold you hostage just because his project has no replacement developers.

3

Should I be more specific and tell them that I'm considering leaving?

Unless you really plan to leave, then I do not recommend this approach.

Should I continue with this project in spite of everything? And after the project is finished, leave?

Sure you can slice and dice it any way you please. It's best you do what's best for you instead of worrying about other people or what they might think.

Are other jobs going to do the same and request things that I am not prepared or do not interest me? I feel that I am wasting my time learning something that I will probably never use again.

Yes, every job has period of time where you do things you don't want to or not interested in doing. It's best not to be too invested emotionally into your job and instead look at it as a way to improve yourself, your own life. Have a job that supports the life you want.

You have to also remember the company invested a lot in you but they also want return on investment. They're not going to put a brand new person and put them right into the most cutting edge thing you ever saw. Then afterwards put you into the next hottest project ever seen or thought of. In that regard, you're going to find no job pleasing.

I do not recommend talking to your boss about leaving unless you have a) a job offer in hand, b) prepared to discuss what you want and future goals, and c) prepare to put in your 2 weeks notice should b not work.

3

tl;dr Start looking for a job now.


  1. It doesn't matter what was said in the interview. What matters is what's written in your contract. Find it and read it carefully.
  2. Try your best during billable time.
  3. Do not exceed billable time. Do not do overtime.
  4. The company does not worry enough to add a second developer, so why should you?

As long as you do your work, the overall state of the project and the client is not your concern. On a junior salary you're not being paid enough to care.

Your manager doesn't know if you can do it or not. He says "you can do it" because it's the only thing he can say. His job depends on it, and if he has to choose between keeping your job and keeping you from getting burned out and destroying your health, what do you think he'll do? Be "nice" to you and lose his job? Think again.

There's nothing to gain by waiting to finish the project. Job search takes time and you need all the head-start you can get. Start looking now.

What do you think will happen if you tell them you're thinking of leaving? You'll get more patting on the back, more assurances, more "you can do it"s, more bullshit, frankly. I'm not saying you shouldn't talk to them, I'm saying think about your goal in doing so, and talk to them to pursue that goal. If you start a discussion just to vent, you will continue to be treated as a junior.


Your confidence level is low because this experience dominates your viewpoint. You're doing fine, and you don't have to prove it to anyone. Start again and see yourself in the position of power that you have.

The company is either in financial trouble, or is systematically exploiting developers like you to burn them out and keep afloat. I suspect it's a combination of both, and they may not even think about this in those terms. That's ok. It's their problem to deal with, not yours. It's actually your health you need to worry about. I'm getting some signs of burnout from your post; I recognise it, as I experienced something similar in my first "real" job.

1
  • 1
    "Do not exceed billable time. Do not do overtime." Unless you're getting paid for it, and you want the extra money.
    – nick012000
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 12:15
2

I'll add another vote to it's fine to leave.

I was watching a video a while ago that helped me get through this by Joshua Fluke that kinda covers this.

To paraphrase it kinda goes along the lines that the company is likely to discard you at the first opportunity if financially they start to fail. You should feel similarly about any company you join, don't get too personal companies are all about making money and most likely the bosses are only being nice to you so that you stay with them and don't leave.

1
  • 1
    wow this is gold
    – evilReiko
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 9:41
1

The general advise is to never announce that you're leaving before the deal is done and to never threaten your employer with it.

But you've already made up your mind. If you can survive the possibility of a nasty counter-reaction (laying you off immediately on some made-up bullshit), talk to your boss in confidence, tell him everything you told us here, and just be completely open saying that this is not what you expected and you are going to quit, but you don't want to leave them hanging.

With all cards on the table, your manager can do his job - manage the situation. There are many options how this can be salvaged. They could offer to pay you more and let you go on your terms with a nice recommendation letter in exchange for you finishing the project. They might offer that you hand over the project to someone else and spend your remaining weeks training that person on this framework. They might offer you to work freelance for them.

Or they may get angry and irrational. I don't know the personality of these people.

This approach gives the company all chances to salvage what can be salvaged and it gives you a clear conscious to exit on your terms if they don't offer a solution that you're happy with.

Also: Before doing that, do what other answers recommend and search the job market at least enough to be confident about your chances and to have an idea how long it'll be until you have a new job. Make sure your finances are such that you can afford to have this talk, assuming the worst possible reaction.

0

Not satisfied? Just leave.

You don't even need to clarify the reasons to management, but since you did already (which is good call), then they have no reason to blame but only themselves.

Love your job but don't love your company, because you may not know when your company stops loving you. -Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .