Somewhat Related to:
- Work given is not in my area of interest, how to approach my manager?
- Been asked to work significantly "below" my level for a sustained period -- can I ask company for measures to mitigate it e.g. learning time?
A few months ago I began a new position at a small IT consultant & software development company. I advertised myself for software design & architecture, web app development, user experience expertise. During the interview process I did a bit more interviewing of the company than them of me, to try and ensure I was going somewhere I could grow and apply my expertise (Something I had hit a wall at in my current position). All seemed well, so I started on.
The project they had at the time essentially demanded I do BAU (Business as usual) kind of work till it concluded in December. It was a tedious and boring slog, with me being utilized at maybe 20-30% capacity but being unable to concentrate on anything substantial do to the "off and on" nature of it. I spent my "free" time leveling up the company by drafting out much needed policies related to information security, and various engineering related items in coordination with the CEO.
The next client project, that I'll be the sole dev on, starts mid January. I have a month of open time to find something productive and skillful to do. This is where the problems started to really show.
So. The current situation is that I've identified long-standing business needs that I can completely solve for within the next month, however, the emotional & political baggage surrounding this is preventing me from even getting started. I'm unable to utilize my expertise both in the tech stacks I've practiced in, and in the design & development methodologies I've learned and used. I'm being blocked by a couple other devs that have been with this company since it's inception, who started their software development careers here.
This is indicative of a larger problem. I have a devops engineer & developer who are good, a great pinch-hitter, and has been in the industry longer than myself. But they demonstrate a lack of understanding, knowledge, or curiosity of the broader software development landscape, and who is rather cynical and unwilling to accept change. A bit of a "bitter vet". They are somewhat bombastic, and has been friends with others in the company throughout their entire careers. This individual wants to drive, but exhibits inexperienced, naive, and unworkable approaches that seem to be part of the root of the companies inability to make forward progress.
The Problem For Me
I'm unable to move forward to utilize or grow my expertise because I'm regressing in my career and re-experiencing the same fundamental arguments that I've experienced 5+ years ago when I was finally starting to understand the bigger picture. With the same kind of "hand waving" the hard parts and critical analysis away that I experienced then. The same kind of scorning of knowledge & pragmatism, and the same perception of "ageism" from those that perceive me as young & inexperienced (I look many years younger than I am). Arguments, conclusions, examples, and references based around my software development level fall on deaf ears.
Sure, there is a client project in mid January, but it's small, and will only last a couple months at most, and then it's back to sitting on my hands. I've been here for months and have done little to no actual development, and now that the table is open, I'm unable to push forward and work at my level due to the politics, cynicism, and the narrow experience range of my coworkers.
The CEO is very hands-off, and is of the mind that "The team decides". Issue there is that the team is myself, and the 2 devs that have been here for their careers. The "team" is deciding the same as it seemingly always has, and as a consequence are not driving internal results. I'm largely blocked, out-voted, and held back.
I'm not as prepared to fight to advance myself like I have in the past. It takes a lot of energy out of me, energy I could be have spent improving myself, the company, it's products, and it's stance. Even when I "win" and can start driving results, it's a bittersweet victory that leaves me drained and demotivated.
What options do I have to improve upon this situation, while not performing a retrograde-movement on my career?
I'm not willing to sit it out and play the "long con" for 6-12m, I could have just stayed in my previous position and 'maintained' if that was my objective. That's time I could use to progress towards my goals that I won't get back.
Leaving is an option, but it feels wrong as I've only been here a few months, and haven't pulled in much revenue. My position is expensive, and it's a small company, but at the same time it's going to waste.