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To give some background I am working at a fintech company in India as an Associate Business Analyst in Delivery department of a MNC. Associate BAs are considered as Level 1 employee at this firm meaning they are not very knowledgeable about the systems from business perspective since they are freshers or less experienced. Recently I was assigned a task which involved good accounting and systems current function knowledge in order to prepare the user stories for the given requirement.

These user stories need to be very detailed to the level that every db field mapping needs to be prepared for every scenario related to that implementation and requirement. Now after spending more than a week on it I was not able to make much progress on it and I explained difficulties I am facing to senior business analyst to whom I report daily. He said to pause the work on it and focus on other items to avoid backlogs of other items and said he will look into it.

Now after 2 weeks when I completed the other items assigned to me my senior business analyst asked for a meeting in which he was trying to explain some half baked approach to the problem I was facing earlier. After discussion he also agreed that he didn't had the complete idea on how to proceed with this. So usually what happens if senior BA is also not able to solve the problem we go to manager who then asks us to consult with business architect or senior folks within the team.

Now problem as an associate BA I face is I feel guilty for wasting two weeks working on requirements which was not in my expertise. I also feel my senior BA whom I report daily makes me feel I am incompetent by saying things like "If you think you are only going to work on one feature at a time then we need to take this up with manager" meaning he expects me to finish work anyhow even though he is not able to do. I feel intimidated by his approach towards to me. I feel senior is not able to assist me and also not asking me to take help from business architect directly.

And this is not one off thing. Usually I get assigned such requirements one every month or two. I am looking for new job but not able to find therefore stuck, also this company has 90 days notice period so it is not making easy for other companies to hire me.

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I think there are a few steps we can take to address some of your pain points.

First of all, the most important and concrete step you can take is to improve your communication with your superiors. It sounds like you started this task, and you did not immediately know how to solve it. That is normal and acceptable; after all, they pay you to solve problems, many of them without clear solutions at the outset. However, after a few days of reasonable effort, you should stop and assess how far along your potential solution is.

It sounds like in this instance, you knew that you were failing to make progress after a few days. This is normally okay, especially as a junior member of the team (unless your manager is unreasonable with their expectations). Your issue was continuing to struggle without seeking support earlier. It is important to reach out and ask for support, if you know you will not be able to solve this alone. Remember though, you are expected to make a good faith effort, and to have at least some progress done.

So, when you go to your superior and ask for help, you should have specific questions from the work you have previously attempted. You should be able to fill them in on some of the things you have tried, and any information that you have figured out along the way. For your example, I may have tried to fill out the definitions as far as you can, noting any assumptions along the way. Then, you can use your working definitions to point out the gaps in the knowledge. This is a helpful exercise to find out what you do not know but need to learn.

If you have a particularly large gap in the knowledge you need versus the knowledge you currently have, then you should ask for help sooner. If you cannot make any progress at all after a few hours, and you are completely out of ideas as how to proceed, alert your superior as soon as possible. In short, do not continue spending time on a task where you have exhausted all possible options; instead ask for help.

The second thing I will recommend is a little more abstract, but I would urge you to keep confident and keep working hard. As a new member, you will have a learning curve, and you will need to figure out how to solve problems. As long as you are learning, making fewer mistakes, and slowly gaining enough competency to solve more problems on your own, you are probably doing fine. It is normal and natural to be unable to solve all the problems on your own, especially if your seniors cannot. Remember that when you start a new job, you essentially have a get-out-of-jail-free card in terms of asking a lot of questions. Make sure you learn as much as you can from your superiors, not just in terms of business knowledge, but also their problem solving process. When they have questions about the business logic of an application, who do they ask? What about for the technical side of things? What internal websites or wikis do they use? As you learn from them about how things work in your company, things will get easier. Again, take a deep breath, keep your chin up, and best of luck out there.

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