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At the moment I'm in a difficult situation. I've been at my current employer for almost 9 months as a software developer.

Sadly I quickly discovered they lied about the actual role because I went for a full stack .NET Core role. The actual role was working in VB.NET and WinForms.

I made very clear during my interviews that I'm a .NET (MVC) / Vue web developer during my 5 years of working experience.

During my interview they also said that they want to place developers where they are happy / fits with their skillset.

Another lie was the size of the team. In the case of the VB.NET 'team' it's just another developer who has been working for almost 20 years on this project all alone.

This was sadly not the end of the line about the not so great parts of the job. During the first couple of months I experienced that it's very difficult to work with my direct colleague. It is literally his way or the high way, and is not open for feedback / positive engagement.

I've came to know that I'm not the first person which tried to work with this colleague and a bunch of others already have left the company / moved to a different department.

After these months I brought this up to my manager and told him this is not the role which was promised and that it is very demotivating to work along side a colleague which is always negative about your work / ancient tech stack.

First he made clear that my role is to follow up this colleague in the future, so there is no choice..

After a lot of discussions he finally wants to accommodate me and let me work for 50% in another team (which did fit the initial job description).

Months went past and my performance and presence was more than welcomed in the new team by each team member and lead developer.

So for me this was an acknowledgement / re-assurance that it wasn't about my performance or presence why it did not work in the first team. Though as stated above I'm still working for 50% in the other VB.NET team because they want me to take over this guy in the future / bus-factor is 1 at the moment for their most important core product.

For my understanding I'm slowly beginning to navigate this difficult colleague and delivering productive work.

During my latest check-in with my manager I asked about how they feel I'm performing (since my contract end date is coming near), and he also confirmed that he has heard only a lot of positive feedback about the 'new' team, though he and the business is disappointed in the progress I'm making in the VB.NET team and because of this they don't know if they want to extend my contract, even if I'm performing great in the other team.

Sadly the only progress indication / judgement he receives from the VB.NET team is the opinion of this one colleague.

Furthermore he rambled about only the interests of the company (because the bus-factor is a great deal), though I made clear I also have my interest and don't want to risk damaging my career by mainly working with VB.NET.

Guess I should have left when the lie about the job description surfaced, though I did want to give them a chance to turn thing around. Sadly it seems that all my effort went to waste?

Should I already start looking for a new job (even if the other team is very happy with me) or should I take the risk and hope they indeed value my performance in the other team and let go of the idea I should follow up the VB.NET developer?

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    They need someone to backstop the difficult and old-tech developer. You were hired to be that. If you're amazing they might try to find you a home in another team, but they need someone to backstop that VB work. Why would you describe someone telling you the important business reasons you can't design your own job as "rambling"? You're not inspiring me to change the business priorities for you with that kind of talk. Aug 20, 2022 at 13:29
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    Should I already start looking for a new job - It's clear that you're unhappy with a number of things, so why would you stay?
    – joeqwerty
    Aug 20, 2022 at 14:10
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    @KateGregory So you think it's ok to lie about the actual job and tell lies about that they try to place you where you are happy? If they were upfront about the actual job from the beginning I would have not take the job..
    – workharder
    Aug 20, 2022 at 14:16
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    I know you're angry. I know you're sure that someone knew they wanted the backstop and lied to you to trick you into taking the job. You may or may not be right. But whatever, you're there now. They're not running a charity that improves your resume and career prospects. They're running a business that has needs. Many managers also like helping people grow, and are nice people. It doesn't matter whether what they did is ok or not. They did it. You're there. They need that backstop. Are you willing to provide that, maybe indefinitely? If not, why are you there? Aug 20, 2022 at 14:27
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    @workharder. Of course. But the way it works is that the company is looking out for their interests and you are looking out for yours . If the interests overlap enough you have a "good fit". That's what the interviewing process is all about: determine whether it's a "good fit". If you feel this is not a good fit and there is no way to make it better, than it's time to move on. Just make sure that you pressure test any new employer during the interview process. You need to make sure they provide what you need and you don't end up on the same spot again.
    – Hilmar
    Aug 21, 2022 at 10:25

4 Answers 4

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Should I already start looking for a new job (even if the other team is very happy with me) or should I take the risk and hope they indeed value my performance in the other team and let go of the idea I should follow up the VB.NET developer?

Since you believe your employers are liars, you dislike your primary colleague, and you are clearly unhappy with your job, I don't understand why this is even a question. Perhaps you just wanted to vent - that's understandable, but not actionable.

It's pretty simple - if you don't like your job, find a new one. The reasons why you don't like your job are unimportant in the scheme of things.

Start thinking now about how you can determine if the next job is to your liking during the interview process, rather than after you are hired.

because of this they don't know if they want to extend my contract

If you delay, the decision may not even be yours to make. Get over your anger and disappointment, and get started on finding your next job.

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In addition to @Joe Strazzere's excellent answer.

Should I already start looking for a new job (even if the other team is very happy with me) or should I take the risk and hope they indeed value my performance in the other team and let go of the idea I should follow up the VB.NET developer?

and

the business is disappointed in the progress I'm making in the VB.NET team and because of this they don't know if they want to extend my contract, even if I'm performing great in the other team.

If they valued your performance in the other team, they wouldn't be thinking of not-renewing your contract.

From your comments it sounds like you feel they should make things better, to make up for lying, your colleague, etc. That's not going to happen, companies don't do "should". The way to make it better is leave.

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  • Or, fight and win. Might also get you fired, but you were leaving anyway.
    – Or4ng3h4t
    Dec 19, 2023 at 17:32
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Realistically, working with VB.NET and Winforms is not going to damage any career based on .NET, especially if you already have several solid years of experience in C# and web development (so there could be no suggestion in future that you were limited only to VB.NET and Winforms).

But most people do have aesthetic preferences for a particular language, and if you aren't willing to work with VB.NET for that reason, then that would seem to decisively rule out continuing in that aspect of your current role.

A preference for web development vs desktop could be similarly decisive. Winforms might not damage you, but it won't advance you on web technologies either.

I would suggest you do one of two things, according to whether you can afford to precipitate the demise of your current employment before having new employment to go to.

Either start plotting your exit and looking for a new role now and just move on as soon as possible.

Or else, lay it out and be clear to your current employer that (as you see it...) working with some old badger on a legacy application written in an unfamiliar language is not what you signed on for, and that you are not going to be the person who solves their problem in relation to that situation. Ask them, do they want to waste 12 months or two years on training you to do basic things with the legacy app, when your heart isn't in it and you'll probably move on sooner than the incumbent who they are trying to replace?

Many employers make the mistake, with legacy applications on mature platforms, of hiring ambitious young developers on relatively low wages, for whom a tacit part of the bargain is having design freedom and a clean slate to learn principles and new technologies from the ground up.

The guy who started writing the legacy app 20 years ago may have been such a person, and now as the original creator he has solid bargaining power and job security, as well as the benefit of working with something entirely of his own creation.

What the employer really needs now is someone who (like the incumbent) already has solid expertise in the platform, an established preference for the language, and whose wages and circumstances are such that they are oriented only towards meeting the needs of their current employer and leveraging their existing expertise, not towards the needs of future employers and professional development.

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    +1 Almost all companies have legacy code, and the ability (including the patience) to work with it well is a very valuable skill. Aug 21, 2022 at 14:56
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    A very valuable skill that tends not to get rewarded by some companies.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 21, 2022 at 18:58
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    @gnasher729, very true. I think also many firms don't really understand how the circumstances and process of production and reproduction differ, or even exactly what it is that they need to reproduce to pass the baton between two staff members (beyond a very high-level notion of "a worker who does what we need with the computers").
    – Steve
    Aug 22, 2022 at 11:59
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Should I already start looking for a new job ?

The best scenario is that you will spend 50% of the time working with VB, and 50% in the Winforms team. If you are happy with this situation, then stay at the current job.

The company is not hiring anyone else to work in the VB team. So, nothing will change regarding your work with VB. In the future, if the senior VB developer leaves the company, then most likely, you will spend a lot more than 50% of your time working with VB because they know that you are the only VB expert at the company.

On the other hand, if you are not happy with this prospect, then it is a good idea to look for a new job at other companies where you may spend 100% of your time working with your favorite technologies.

Either way, good luck.

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  • Thanks!, but to make clear the other 50% is actually doing the work which was promised in the job description (.NET fullstack webdevelopment) with a larger team. That team wants me for 100% and I would love to work 100% in that team, but it is not allowed. Furthermore my performance is only measured in the VB.NET team.
    – workharder
    Aug 22, 2022 at 6:47
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    @workharder it seems clear from both of those things (they don't want to renew your contract to work for the team you like, an only evaluating your performance in the VB.NET team) that they really need a VB.NET programmer and don't really need a programmer for the other team. Why should they keep you for the other team if what they need is a VB.NET programmer?
    – Esther
    Aug 22, 2022 at 21:02
  • @Esther It seems you are right. Guess I'll have to find a job which offers the tech stack that is being described in the job description. If they told up front that I'll would be working in VB.NET most of the time I would not have applied.
    – workharder
    Aug 23, 2022 at 10:31

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