Ok, so I have this manager who made me manager, and he hired a guy who couldn't use Git, and forked our private project on his own public repository. He had 10 years of experience, but he basically had 0 since he worked for his family or something along that line. He was really bad, and at some point he was wondering why his changes wasn't getting pushed properly and it was because he was using two different IDE at the same time and he saved on both of them. He got fired.

Then he hired another guy who was equally terrible. He took one month to do a landing page with three big sections, and he wasn't even finished yet. He would constantly tell me to push to staging and I would return his tickets, because for every five items I requested him to correct he would add two more errors and he wouldn't fix one or two of them. He said I was his QA or something along the line and told me to do his job. When I am a senior developer managing him, and he kept telling me to push his fixes when he wouldn't do them correctly. I escalated this to the manager, but he couldn't care less, and didn't do much to help. He probably didn't want to fire him, because he was the one who hired him, and this guy was supposed to be a senior developer. He told me to coach him and I did my best, but certain things cannot be taught. This guy was arguing that something was centered when the element was leaning 30% to the right, and after 10 minutes he couldn't explain to me how I was wrong. I never worked with such bad developers.

Then the guy left and the manager blamed me for being rude. And the example he came up was that I asked him "Do you want me to do it instead? If you can't do it, I will do it." and apparently that was extremely rude. I mean, at what point is it the fault of the "senior developer" who can't do basic tasks and not the guy managing him? I have a lot of tasks to do and on top of that I need to manage him. I need to do devops, sysadmin, frontend and backend and db tasks. I have no experience in two of those fields. That guy couldn't do a basic task. His CV says he has no experience in PHP, and my manager wanted him to do backend PHP tasks and I had to do them instead. I've never seen this before in my life. Is he trying to gaslight me or worse?

I can definitely see that I could have been less rude, but it's impossible when you have so many tasks. I tried to be constructive and took steps so that I manage the next person better, but if he keeps hiring bad people my head is going to explode. What can I do in this situation?

  • 5
    1. Insist on choosing the hires yourself. I have a feeling some compromises are inevitable, but at least you can be more deliberate about it ; 2. Work on how you deal with imperfect people ; 3. [the default answer to all questions here]
    – Pete W
    Oct 6, 2021 at 0:14
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    "...but certain things cannot be taught..." Really? Such as?
    – jwh20
    Oct 6, 2021 at 0:32
  • 4
    Paragraphs. And we don't really need all that technical details. Oct 6, 2021 at 1:29
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    If he really made you manager you should have hiring responsibility, or at least hiring veto. Oct 6, 2021 at 2:27
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    Have you considered inviting yourself to the hiring process?
    – Hobbamok
    Oct 6, 2021 at 9:08

4 Answers 4


Generally if your superior is making serious mistakes and blaming you for them it's best to find other employment. It's a serious danger to your reputation and peace of mind.

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    I didn't downvote, and I don't really agree with the philosophy. I've had similar situations in my career, and the way I've addressed it is to replace everything after blaming you for them with it's time to get involved and become part of the solution. Blame is a thief. It robs us of our ability and desire to really achieve. Oct 7, 2021 at 17:19
  • @JoelEtherton sometimes being 'part of the solution' means being sacked or penalised as the scapegoat and taking a big hit to rep.
    – Kilisi
    Oct 8, 2021 at 13:44
  • sacked maybe, but definitely not a reputation hit. Not ever. You can't disguise or tarnish someone who steps up and acts. I've had many people attempt similar over the course of my career, and it has never worked because my actions speak louder than anyone else's words. Oct 8, 2021 at 13:55
  • @JoelEtherton I've seen people get scapegoated and their careers ruined. But they hadn't analysed things through properly (most people don't).
    – Kilisi
    Oct 8, 2021 at 14:40

Some bosses are not really interested in how the sausage is made and will get bored and frustrated if you tell them all the problems in detail. Also... they are your problems, not theirs, so it's even more boring.

You need to package your concerns in an envelope or languae that your boss can understand. "Boss speak" if you will. Don't make it about your problems, make it about their problems:

Hey Boss, this new hire is not a senior developer. I have to coach him every single day, he is a junior at best. I can work with that, but if you pay them major senior bucks, you may want to think about that. As I said, their output is junior level at best.

Done. You just made your problem into their problem. They are not too bad for the job, they are way overpaid and a strain on the budget for what they deliver. That are terms your boss can understand easily, because they are in their problem domain, not yours.

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    Also: make sure the communication is in some persistent form like email rather than an ephemeral chat conversation or verbally in-person.
    – Theodore
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:51

I'm going to post this from the management perspective. While I agree there are problems here, most of the other answers are positioned with the idea that what we read here in the text is all there is to the story.

I'm assuming the position that I'm your manager for this. What I see is a senior developer who is currently incapable of meeting the requirements of the position they're in. As a senior, you're expected to teach, to mentor, and to enable your team members. While it's possible that the individuals may be completely incapable or unwilling to accomplish the tasks at hand, instead of treating this as a problem to overcome, I see a lot of complaining.

First step, discover for yourself what result you would like to see happen in this situation. Are you looking for a better way to deliver product? Are you looking to be a participant in hiring so that you can assure quality candidates? Are you looking not to be blamed when stuff goes wrong? What outcome do you want to see when everything is proper?

Second step, self assess your own behavior. Being busy is no excuse for being a toxic jerk. As a manager I would never tolerate that behavior in any of my leaders or senior developers. Identify in your actions what you're doing to make the situation better. Belittling people isn't going to get you anywhere, and it's just going to put a target on your back as a "toxic high performer" (someone who needs to be fired). Change your behaviors and interactions so that they lift the people around you rather than put them down. If you find they continue to under-perform, document it and have a discussion with your manager. In that discussion include what you've done to correct it and why it hasn't worked. Avoid blame.

Third step, get involved in the discussion. Ask for a seat at the candidate review table. This is someone you have to work with. Do what you can to reinforce the idea that you should be a participant in this person's hiring and onboarding. It's one thing to say "These people you're hiring are terrible." It's an entirely different thing to say "The last few people haven't worked out, and I think I can help." Those two things say effectively the same thing, and they say it with two completely different attitudes.

Lastly, consider what you want out of your career. Do you want to be in management/leadership? Do you want to continue in an individual contributor role as a developer? What are you doing to progress either of those goals? From the description I read in the text, all of your actions have actually served to subvert them both. Being a developer is more than just writing code and delivering product. You're a member of the team, and the most senior at that. You need to act like it. Your priority needs to be the fulfillment and enablement of the team. You may think that you're being measured only by the team's delivery of product, but the fact of the matter is that you're being judged by so much more than that. Have a conversation with your manager on these kinds of expectations and determine a rubric for how you're being measured. Once you understand those things, you can begin to model your behaviors and actions to ensure that you're meeting that standard.

Here's the good news that I see. I see all of this as easily correctable through some small actions on your part. These really are small changes. Address your attitude, get involved, figure out how to properly measure your success. Take control of your situation by being part of the solution. The question I always ask myself when I find myself in a situation where I feel as you do. How can I be better for my team?


I could have been less rude, but it's impossible

It isn't impossible to not be rude regardless of your workload. Own your actions here and don't blame others for them. You control how you react.

You need to focus on people's actions, not their skill level. If people don't deliver, you need to escalate to the boss. If the boss doesn't care, you probably shouldn't either. If you have the same boss that's pretty straightforward, if not, you should engage your boss about it. Again, focus on behaviors. "I can't implement the project because Cody McCodeface isn't delivering unit tested code."

blames me for anything that happens

Your post doesn't say this. It says that they told you that you were rude when the person quit, probably as a result of an exit interview where they said they quit because you were rude. This isn't the same as "anything that happens."

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