I'm currently an inexperienced software developer working for a large company.

While I'm extremely passionate about my work, I lacked quite some experience in this field when I was offered the position (2 years ago). I should mention here that I do not possess a bachelor's in engineering or computer science (Social Science B. A. and M. A.). I became involved tangentially, and began acquiring experience as a volunteer (open source), and through small consulting work (web dev. and systems administration.

Within the office, I continue to miss deadline after deadline. The project/product manager seems to enjoy plying me with feature requests, and with pledging my time for unrealistic deadlines to customers. My shoddy work is then put on display in front of my co-workers to be openly ridiculed on a nearly daily basis. Yet, I'm told repeatedly (and reassured) that all is well by the manager.

The customers/stakeholders have been abnormally patient and generous thus far (I suspect that the situation is obvious). But I now live to only to work for these deadlines. I have no weekends, and my time after hours is spent feebly attempting to meet these deadlines.

I'm passionate about my work, and I have (and plan to continue) to enroll in Comp. Sci. courses. But, I don't wish to find myself fired or to force those at the office to tolerate an incompetent employee.

How best to proceed? Should I offer to resign? Or is this normal?

  • Have you talked to your manager yet about your feeling that the deadlines are too tight? – Jeanne Boyarsky Apr 13 '14 at 13:59
  • Could you ask other developers to review your work so that you are getting a different opinion? In being inexperienced, you may not have the best judgment to determine how good or poor your work really is. – JB King Apr 13 '14 at 15:35

First and foremost, privately talk with your manager. Ask why the deadlines for these projects are set so tight, and see if you can convince him/her to extend these deadlines. Emphasize that the quality of your work (and the team's work, I'm assuming) as well as customer satisfaction can be greatly helped with extended deadlines. Furthermore, if you are having to constantly work weekends to meet project goals, you definitely need to bring up work-life balance to your manager, asking for it to be improved. Perhaps you could get some time off in between projects.

If your manager does not agree with you, for some reason or another, I would work very carefully to build a business case to present to your manager's boss, again regarding work quality and customer satisfaction, if possible using hard numbers (as your manager's boss may not understand the situation as well as your immediate manager), to ask for extended deadlines and a better work-life situation.

If your manager's boss does not agree with you, you may want to consider finding a new position, as if you're working late quite often and working weekends, every week, you will quickly experience burnout and turn from being very passionate about your work to viewing work as a ball and chain.

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