Say I am a programmer with a system called ABC and manager / everyone thinks that I am good at this. In reality I am not but just about surviving by working hard and just about manage my day with this.

I have a poor relationship with my manager. She is trying to have me stitched up and expecting me work harder than anyone else - views will differ on this but that's ok.

We have two new starters in the same grade as I am, and both don't know how to work with the system ABC. Recruitment process is poor at my place and they just about take anyone.

Their role title is different. Their title is Senior Solution Analyst and mine is Senior Application Analyst. I think probably the expectation is the same as their predecessors had the same title as I did.

Knowing the manager she will try to put as my objective to train them. It's not possible to do this as I just about survive doing my own. If I say no she will run to the senior managers telling them I am being difficult.

When I started I learnt it from manuals and had training and just learnt on the job and still learning.

This has not happened yet but I see it coming. Where do I stand if I see this coming my way? I didn't recruit them but they definitely probably hoping I will teach them.

I can help them if they are stuck but cant do the work for them. If I set time aside on a weekly basis then that's bad as I cant show them in that hour either in case I don't know myself.

  • 1
    Do you actually have any talent or experience as a teacher? It's a totally different skill from being able to learn on your own.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 4:08
  • Hi Kilisi, no. The place is messy - I have been there for eight years. I can help people but I don't know what training means and the manager will try and have me stitched up that if they don't pick up then its my fault. She will try to put that in my objective and I want to avoid this. If it turns out that they don't learn to their expectation all will come on me as being my fault. To make matters worse, I actually like one of the new recruits (sort of an ex but nobody knows that) and knowing this person she definitely can't learn the system to what is needed in the team - I am stuck. Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 14:05
  • Hello, can you rephrase you Question to give us a clear goal you want to achieve?
    – Daniel
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


This has not happened yet but I see it coming. Where do I stand if I see this coming my way? I didn't recruit them but they definitely probably hoping I will teach them.

First of all you are right: this has not happened yet. Currently, this is not a reality for you, so in part I suggest you don't be too anxious on things that have not happened yet (and that may not even happen)...

Now, your concern on what to do if this happens is quite valid. Let's suppose it happens, and your manager assigns you as a task to train them on system ABC.

It is undeniable that you currently have other tasks assigned to you that require time and effort to complete.

It is then perfectly understandable that, if a new task is assigned to you, and you currently have 100% of your time occupied by present tasks, priorities of all the tasks have to be reconsidered. In plain words: if you are already with your hands full, you will have to put a task on hold in order to take a new one.

So. If and when your manager reaches out to you, and asks you to include this task to your task pool, I suggest you reply with something like this (email, or similar):

Hello, boss. Sure, I know about system ABC and can teach our new colleagues about its use, to bring them up to speed. I would like to know how deep would you like me to dive into the topics, so I can properly plan what should I teach them.

Also, I am currently with my hands full with tasks A, B, and C. Which task should I put on hold so we can start this other one? Thank you.

This will give you a notion on the extent of the teaching involved (just lightly give them pointers or go for a full teaching and exercises?). This will also assertively communicate to your boss that your tasks need be prioritized again, so your boss can then decide where the efforts should go.

  • 3
    Beautiful answer! +1
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 6:00

Knowing the manager she will try to put as my objective to train them.

When she does this, you clarify via email just what is involved and make sure you mention you have no experience with training people. DON'T mention that you barely know what you're doing yourself. Look at this communication as something that may be analysed by others (which should be normal practice with any written communication). This gives you a measure of plausible deniability of responsibility if the trainees can't do it. Because the onus then falls on the manager if she wants to jump up and down to the hierarchy.

Ideally you want it clarified to where you just throw a manual at them. This was always my strategy. Then let them sink or swim while fielding the odd simple question once in a while.

DarkCygnus has a good answer, this is just another strategy. I tend to do it this way because unless I'm getting paid extra to take on another role or some other clear advantage, I would have less than zero interest in additional responsibility or culpability. I would actively try and avoid it. Particularly if my success depends on other people. So I just pass the onus right back to the person getting paid for the headache.

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