I am what would be considered a junior to mid-level programmer, though at this company I am working at(which is my first job in the field) I am more realistically closer to being mid to senior. For months I was the only one programming anything before they hired a few guys with skillsets below mine(no offense to them).

I am getting burned out.

Firstly, I've done at least 90% of the difficult work in my department since I have started; my co-workers have been consistently given easier tasks or get my expert help when having to make changes to projects I've worked on. I'm exhausted, but this is a symptom of a bigger problem:

I feel that I am responsible for far too much.

Having done the vast majority of the work(4 apps were written entirely by me), thus I am realistically the only provider of support of more than half of in-house software. I'm at a point where half of my day disappears because of people coming to me for feature requests and bug fixes. To make matters worse, the chain of command at my job is too non-linear; I can easily get 3 people coming straight to me for the same issue in spite of having a ticket system as well as my boss who they should go to first for most things. This is one of the issues I have brought up to no avail.

I also find my boss's management style to be lacking, and it has become more lacking as we have acquired more programmers. This isn't entirely his fault, as I feel that he is suffering from a similar problem to mine(why is a growing company's only sysop also the company's only senior developer?). He's so busy with servers that he hasn't done any actual developing or serious code reviews with us in months, yet he tries to enforce design patterns that don't work well and because he isn't working closely with us he becomes frustrated when his patterns have problems. Basically, he allows little creative control. He will also not allow me access to the live servers where my apps run, despite me being given explicit permission to do this by the CEO. Because of this, I'm screwed if he's gone and there's an issue. My perception is that he feels territorial over his domain.

Lastly, I feel that my bosses are poor at expressing their ideas. I don't know how I can further express my frustration in this area without coming off as a jerk, except I always take as many notes as I can and still end up not understanding what they want.

My bosses don't know [all] these things, as I haven't told them. I've refrained because this is my first job and I'm not normally the kind of person to tell my boss how they should be running their business. However, I am feeling more used-up by the day. I want to tell my bosses that the reason that I'm constantly fixing bugs and whipping features out of thin air without testing them is because they are giving me garbage and that is why they are getting garbage.

They haven't given me enough co-worker support, they won't give me the tools/access I need to produce solid work, they don't give me enough information to work with, and they don't give me the time(I'd love to write testing for features if they didn't NEED THEM NOW).

Would I be wrong for politely bringing up these issues? Am I spoiled?

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    – gnat
    Dec 4, 2014 at 8:06

2 Answers 2


In addition to taking it up with the boss, as Aleksander suggests, you need a strategy for the people who are coming to you with requests that should have been entered into your ticket system. My very strong recommendation is that anything that takes more than 15 minutes to fix doesn't get fixed until there's a ticket in the system.

In order to get people to respect this, you need to explain why having a ticket is important. There are some reasons you can give them:

  1. It helps you keep track of what needs to get done, so you can be sure not to miss something important

  2. It helps your bosses know what you're working on

  3. It means people won't need to tell you things twice, as in the case where several people come and tell you about the same issue

  4. It makes it easy for you to report back to the person who wanted something done

All these things are reasons that people can't really disagree with, at least not without being jerks about it.

Secondly, you need to enforce the rule. When people come to you and ask for something, there are some ways that you can handle it:

  1. You can ask them to write the issue down in the tracking system themselves. This has the advantage of getting them out of your hair immediately, but the downside that they may find it rude or unpleasant and be upset with you. Also, when the ticket doesn't contain all the information you need, you'll need to talk to them anyway, so you might as well get the talking over with already...

  2. You can write the ticket while they're there, asking them to tell you what to write and helping them figure out what information you need so that the ticket can be as complete as possible.

  3. If someone comes up with an issue that you know someone else has already asked you for, you search the ticket system while they're there and point it out.

This won't solve all of your problem, but at least it will make it easier for you to show your bosses the amount of work you do and get a good structure for follow-up and setting priorities.

  • 1
    MOst importantly, ticketing allows you and your boss to prioritize work. And it allows you to set expectations based on what is already in your queue when a new task comes in.
    – HLGEM
    Dec 4, 2014 at 15:58

You need to enforce a "take it up with the boss" strategy. It would be far simpler if they would communicate their needs to someone else first, so that most menial tasks and bad ideas would be filtered out before they reach you.

Additionally, you might be in a prime position to negotiate a higher salary. If the management are, or can be, convinced that the bus factor is extremely low, they should be willing to hear you out on all your issues.

My bosses don't know [all] these things, as I haven't told them. I've refrained because this is my first job and I'm not normally the kind of person to tell my boss how they should be running their business.

It's not about you telling them how to run their business. It's you letting them know that you are on their side, but feeling overwhelmed.

Long story short, you'd be right to take this up with your management. If they brick wall you, start applying for other jobs without quitting your current one. Being on the job market is a much more comfortable process if you're not about to get evicted or personally bankrupt.

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