My company has good assignments and shitty assignments.

The good assignments are greenfield projects like new flagship contract management system update or our new app build.

The crappy assignments are support tasks and bug fixes for older software that uses older versions of Java or ancient Oracle databases. The maintenance programming. It also involves on-call.

I originally wasn't part of the on-call rotation due to inexperience, but bosses change and now so does this.

Basically, what is the best way to get out of the lower quality maintenance stuff and only be assigned to the nicer stuff? My boss wants to add me to the support rotation and distribute some of my user stories to other team members so they don't spend as much time on support and I would prefer that not happen.

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    Are you willing to put your employment with the company at risk by stating you are not available outside of normal working hours? Mar 3, 2020 at 2:25
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    @さりげない告白 I am looking for a less direct/negative solution. Mar 3, 2020 at 2:30
  • Can you define what you mean by inexperience? Mar 3, 2020 at 2:30
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    So you want to take all of the good projects and tasks and let your teammates have all of the crappy ones? You're not going to build any goodwill with your team with that approach. Why not be a real team member and take your share of the crappy work along with the good stuff?
    – joeqwerty
    Mar 3, 2020 at 4:33
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    With respect, I push back on your position that software maintenance work is "crappy." It actually is what makes the software world go around. It's harder work than greenfield projects. It takes more experience and in-depth understanding of both the industry and your specific application. It takes more planning and more patience. I'll go this far: Any clod can work on a greenfield project, but maintaining a running system takes software engineers.
    – O. Jones
    Mar 3, 2020 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


Based on how you've responded to comments, I think the best answer for you is to find a new job that doesn't have the expectation of you performing maintenance tasks. If your current role has the responsibility to support legacy code and your boss already wants to add your to that rotation, then you're not likely going to get out of it.

You do not see performing necessary maintenance as your problem, so you'll disregard any answer that identifies it as part of your job.

  • My role is being changed to include software maintenance. I just want my old role back. Mar 3, 2020 at 14:07
  • Then ask for it. Bottom line, the person that writes your checks determines what your job is. If you don't like it, you have to either convince them it is in their best interest to not change your role, find a new job, or do the work. Or go into the contracting field and you determine what your job is, and find customers willing to pay you for that.
    – JRodge01
    Mar 3, 2020 at 14:10
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    You temporarily had a role that did not involve maintenance because of inexperience. Whether you realized it or not the intention was that you got better at your job and then start to do maintenance. If you stay in your old role that means staying as an inexperienced, low quality programmer with no chance of advancement. Mar 3, 2020 at 14:11

I originally wasn't part of the on-call rotation due to inexperience, but bosses change and now so does this.

The reason you weren't originally in the on-call rotation is because of your lack of experience. You could simply prove that your old boss was right by doing a relatively poor job of on-call/support tasks. Just be terrible at that support work. During that same period, maintain excellence in your newer work.

Your disdain for older technologies indicates that you are using more modern technology in the new projects. That can be another factor you can point to for underperformance in this area. You just don’t know the tech and have a hard time learning it.

Between you being relatively inexperienced and having less experience with the technologies used than other people, there are plenty of reasons to blame for your failures there while still succeeding in the greenfield project.

I could see this hurting your career development within the company, but if you aren't planning on staying, this may be an option for you.

  • "Just be terrible at that support work" might lead to the desired greenfield projects. It might just as easily lead to the sack. Otherwise, a good answer, though Mar 3, 2020 at 6:39
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    I think this is a terrible idea. Any salt worthy manager will instantly pick up that you are deliberate in being terrible at support work. It will illuminate you're not a team player and can have resulting negative consequences in appraisal, promotion or other interesting projects
    – uR2die4
    Mar 3, 2020 at 22:21

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