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Scenario:

Designer/Developer with years of experience in multiple projects spanning a range of technologies who is one of those happy/go-lucky goofy/funny people that tries to get along with everyone regardless of their position or title.

Formerly a back-end developer for several years working primarily in c, shell code, and other languages I was not as interested in.

Got out of backend coding and got into the presentation layer design/development as an artist and designer by nature and went into UX/UI design/architecture/integration graphics/effects etc.

The pecking order of a general software dev shop there tends to be an indifference between backend/frontend devs.

I deal with backend developers (outnumbered with 20+ backend devs vs me for a good sized project.)

Have stuck around for quite some time now but have begun thinking more of moving on for some specific reasons.

Being the only presentation layer guy I get razzed often by the backend developers who seem to disregard what I do. Which I'm used too, and for the longest time razzed back, except its getting old and lately its becoming more insulting.

It's an SL shop, I live in primarily XAML all day long and try to avoid the c# we use primarily on the back.

  • I've put in the hours and continue to try and be helpful where I can.
  • I'm good at what I do, rarely require help of anyone for anything related to what I do.
  • I wear multiple hats and pitch in diversely.
  • I try to encourage better practices professionally.

Problem is that in return;

  • I sometimes get snide remarks that would suggest what I do is inferior (I've worked the other side, wasn't as interesting to me as the visual side is.)

  • Disregarded as just the UI guy with seldom acknowledgement there's only one guy trying to come in after all of them to "make it pretty."

  • I get intentionally excluded from things.

  • Most things I do get discounted as easy. Often provided with delayed requirements too close to deadline which has often had me up late hours working nights and weekends trying to compensate for the lack of notice and communication.

  • Criticized for getting an office of my own including passive comments going to my superiors suggesting its not deserved which makes feel like an a-hole even though I never asked for the thing.

Basically it's beginning to stir resentment, lack of motivation, not enjoying the workplace, and basically steering me towards other opportunities.

I seem to stay for the people I enjoy on the business side, a few colleagues who became friends, and my respect for the business we're in.

So my question is, how can I professionally re-establish a presence deserving of mutual respect and steer colleagues back towards a more normal work relationship.

Any advice welcome.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of When you have passive aggressive co-workers – CMW Apr 9 '14 at 21:44
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    If your job is so easy, then why do they have you dedicated to it? Why not have the backend developers do your job? Maybe if you could lead them to that question (in a non-confrontational way), they might reconsider their position. But they have to be open to it. There is only so far reason can go when people have their minds made up. – Brandon Apr 10 '14 at 12:51
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    What did your superior say when you brought these things up? – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Mar 4 '16 at 0:15
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As a database person I have gotten a lot of the same stuff.

Some people have to believe that any choice other than the one they personally made is bad. So you are wrong if you have a different profession, you are wrong if you have a differnt religion, you are wrong if you drive a different kind of car. These types of people cannot be reasoned with and I prefer to consider them childish and insecure and stay out of their paths as much as possible. Once you look at it as their personality problem, it is easier to take. Frankly I just laugh at the ridiculousness of these people and go on my merry way.

Some of them are jealous of the private office. The only way to get them to stop being jealous is for them to get private offices or for you to give yours up. Frankly, I'd live with the jealousy instead. And the money thing is just over the top. I wouldn't even bother to respond to that just give them my patented teacher with a misbehaving child withering look.

I would stop giving alot of help to the ones who are most vocal about how you are inferior. Or make them uncomfortable when they ask with a snide comment in return about them needing the help of the front end guy. I would only do this with the worst of them, the irredeemable ones.

I'll never forget an auditor being nasty to a trainee because he didn't have an accounting degree and telling him that he couldn't be too smart becasue accounting was the most difficult degree there was (Yeah I know, but accountants often really think that!) and then being very embarrased to find out the guy had an MBA and a degree in physics. Sometimes you give them enough rope to hang themselves. Look for opportunities to make the worst ones look foolish in their assumptions about you. Since you say their code is not especially good, when they talk about how you couldn't do thus and so, you talk about how you did this and that in previous position instead and why it would be a better way to go.

However, some can be shown that what you do is valuable and technically difficult. For those people you need to show respect for what they do and show them you know what you are doing. I do think that being quiet about your background using their technologies is a mistake. I assume your managers already know you have those skills since they hired you. So talk about how you used to do that but find this more challenging and why.

Right now a big part of your problem is not the other devs, it is management. You need to talk to them about how long tasks take and why and make sure that they give you the proper lead time to do your job. You need to push out the deadline everytime they give it to you late rather than staying til all hours to get it done. You need to remind them of how much time your part of the project will take long before you have reached the 24 hours before launch stage. If you say that your part of the project will take 4 days, then make sure they are reminded about that on day six and day 5 and day 4 that the deadline will be missed if they don't give you what you need. Make sure to let them know throughout the project what you need and when and how much notice you need to have. Make sure they are told in public and in writing. It is really important to insist that you need the time and the deadline must slip if they don't give you stuff in time. We had the same problem of people wanting us to build data imports less than a day before launch and it didn't stop until we stopped enabling them.

You also need to to talk to management about being excluded from things you should be involved in.

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    + 1 , Right now a big part of your problem is not the other devs, it is management – the_reluctant_tester Apr 11 '14 at 0:47
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    Brilliant point: "Once you look at it as their personality problem, it is easier to take." – Volker Siegel Jun 10 '18 at 2:14
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As a backend developer who dislikes doing 100% UI dev, I respect what you do. In honesty, I think a lot of UI dev is more complex and error-prone than anything in the backend.

That said, I've never ragged on UI guys without good reason. You say that they have an attitude, but has that caused you to develop a chip on your shoulder as well? You talk about wanting to get into a fistfight with some of them--that seems like a red flag to me that maybe you are part of the problem.

You mention that you write "as many lines as they do". Who uses that metric to measure the effectiveness or skill of any programmer/developer?

A lot of your other points are a lot of "tooting my own horn". Everyone thinks highly of themselves, including the backend devs that are picking on you.

How to fix it

I don't suggest you attempt to prove that you are "on their level" by using any of the points you have mentioned. Those are antagonistic. Measuring a good UI dev is different from measuring a good backend dev.

Similarly, your second set of bullets is derisive of their abilities. Don't talk about that, either, as it will just piss them off.

Next time they complain about one of your perks (like the office), ignore it. It's sour grapes, and they should be more mature than that. It's not that big of a deal, anyway.

When they make a snide remark about "why should that take so long", offer to discuss the Level of Effort estimate with them in detail. If they don't take you up on your offer, again, ignore the remark.

Your post has some of the hints of you being a martyr, as if you chose to do what you are doing to save the company. That may be the root of the backend devs' issues. Perhaps they feel that you think you are better than them, and they are attempting to cut you down to size with their snide remarks.

I think humility is important here, as well as a willingness to honestly and openly show them what you do when they press you. Again, don't try to equate what you do with what they do--you both fill different, if similar, niches. Show how you compliment each other.

5

As has been mentioned, there is a lot of "snobbery" flying about in both directions. It seems to be a very common thing in the IT world. Hardware vs firmware. Firmware vs software. Backend vs UI. Coding vs design. And so on. There isn't any solution...haters R gonna hate.

Now, that being said, I noticed an interesting point.

If the ratio of UI to backend is 20:1, that's an oddly big split. I assume the work is very backend oriented (probably not a user app? UI is configuration?)

How is the department organized? Do you report to the same person the backenders report to? Or are you in a different department? If you are a one-man department all your own, that would certainly explain why you get the office, but from the backenders' point of view it wouldn't seem fair that you get the lion's share just because UI's part of the project is so minor as to require only one person.

But back to the department structure. If this resentment that the backend team has built up is severe enough that it is affecting productivity and morale (and it sounds like it may be) then it isn't your responsibility to deal with it, it is your manager's, and potentially his manager.

Have you spoken to your manager about this? If not, you should do so. If so, what has happened as a result? Did the manager ignore or downplay your concerns? If so, you might have to express yourself more formally. Document your concerns, with specific, concrete instances. If you are still being ignored, maybe your manager thinks you are overreacting and you might seriously explore this possibility with a senior person who you trust. Or maybe he is a conflict avoider and you might have to go over his head with your documented and carefully professional concerns.

Or did your manager do something that only increased the resentment? In this case, the problem may be your manager's incompetence or favoritism and the only thing I could suggest is looking for another job, either under a different manager or in another company.

A couple of your bullet points deserve attention:

  • Disregarded as just the UI guy with seldom acknowledgement there's only one guy trying to come in after all of them to "make it pretty."

So... they write the UI and you just "make it pretty"? It sounds as if they feel that the UI they develop is good enough and doesn't need any input from you. That begs the question; who uses the UI? Is this an internal product, used only in-house? Or is it a customer facing product? If the former, they may have some basis for their resentment (basis, not excuse, mind you). Does what you do add measurable value to the project? Either in ease-of-use or, if this is a customer facing product that needs to attract users, in attractiveness and effectiveness.

If the answer is no, it doesn't add measurable value, then you may have to think about either finding a way to add "measurable" value to the project, or move to a company with projects that your talents are more valuable to. You might ask your manager to set up a meeting with the team (if the team drives UI design) to figure out what UI enhancements will add value to the project. If design is driven by marketing or UX, it isn't up for discussion and these guys are way out of line.

Another bullet point that caught my attention:

  • Criticized for getting an office of my own including passive comments going to my superiors suggesting its not deserved which makes feel like an a-hole even though I never asked for the thing.

So, how did you find out that they suggested such a thing? Did the superior tell you? Did they? You need to ask yourself what motivated the disclosure. If the former, is your boss regretting giving you the office and he's bringing up these complaints as a way of trying to get you out of it? Bad sign...I'd get my resume updated and start looking about. If the latter, it sounds like an unprofessional attack of sour grapes. Nothing you can do about it.

And the last point I'll bring up:

  • Most things I do get discounted as easy. Often provided with delayed requirements too close to deadline which has often had me up late hours working nights and weekends trying to compensate for the lack of notice and communication.

Who gives you these tardy requirements? Are they captured in any sort of formal process or documentation, or is it a casual "oh, by the way, we need this" from someone? If the former, you need to be clear to whoever is providing the requirements that x amount of time is required to get them done, and is when you will be able to have it done by. If they insist, make it clear that you will be required to work overtime to meet the requirement. Don't just passively take one for the team, make sure they know you are putting in extra effort. If the requirements are not documented, push for more accountability. Make sure they are routed through whoever is responsible for time management, don't let them slip you overtime under the door.

If you don't stand up for yourself and insist that your effort be recognized, it won't be. It sounds like you are under the impression that hard work will be recognized just because it exists; sadly, this is almost never the case. You need to make it happen.

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