I'm a student at a company and I work alongside another student (call him Jay. This is his first student work-term and has been here for 6 months). We work in the IT department. Both of us are Computer Science students and the job is a front-end web development position. Our supervisor is a Computer Science graduate with 9 years of work experience. Our manager is a Business graduate and has been in the workforce for 25+ years and I think he's a great manager.
Our job is to create specialized websites for people. We built a decent computer program / tool which automates the process of creating webpages, adding images, creating a decent layout etc.
Background information: When Jay first got here, he wanted to use certain tools, certain programming languages and certain computer applications. The supervisor didn't allow him to use what he wanted for the current job. Jay wanted to make sure that the programs he created are 100% efficient and are so good that it can handle just about anything / all scenarios. The supervisor didn't allow Jay to do this because it would take a much longer time to create applications which take into account all case scenarios. The supervisor said when changes occur and if the team is really pushed to the point that the team's programs are not working anymore and are outdated, then we will recreate them. Manager agrees with supervisor that it is better to be reactive rather than proactive in these situations because being proactive and taking into account all scenarios will take lots of time and it is unlikely that a lot of the scenarios Jay wants to take into account will occur within the next few years.
Recently, Jay had an idea / suggestion. Jay believes that the tool we use is not efficient nor good, and Jay thinks we need to recreate a better one. Jay decided to tell the manager (a business graduate who does not know Computer Science that well) about his idea and why he thinks the current tool is not efficient nor good. The manager calls over our supervisor and lets the supervisor do the talking (because the supervisor is the real computer science / full time programmer in our department).
The supervisor told Jay that we do not have the time to recreate an entirely new, efficient and great tool. Supervisor also told Jay that our team's objective is to create specialized websites for other people, not to build amazing tools which help us create specialized websites. Jay thinks that even though recreating an entirely new, amazing and efficient tool will take very long, the benefits will be much greater. The supervisor told Jay that there is no time and resources to recreate it.
I was talking to Jay last week during lunch and he told me that he is really upset. He hates how all his ideas are being shot down and that supervisor and manager do not care about anything he says. He thinks that supervisor and manager ignore all his suggestions. Jay said "I bet manager and supervisor just think 'oh Jay is just a student is he's gone in 6 months anyways, let's not consider anything he says'". He thinks supervisor and manager have something against him and he thinks supervisor and manager think he's not smart and does not know much. Jay is also upset that this is a co-op workterm for him and he's not getting the chance to learn or develop his skills since he is locked into doing things exactly the way supervisor wants him to do it and that he is locked into using out-dated tools which supervisor makes him use. Jay thinks supervisor and manager are holding him back from learning and developing skills. Jay also believes that supervisor lied to him when supervisor said "our team's objective is to create specialized websites for other people, not to build amazing tools which help us create specialized websites" because our team did spend some time to create a decent (not great) tool which helps us with the job.
My opinion on the matter: I actually think supervisor and manager are right. Our team does not have the time and resources to recreate an entirely efficient tool which takes into account all scenarios. Our team is not a team which has many talented computer science programmers who can even create the tools which Jay wants us to create. Our team is more of a front-end web developer team and our goal is to create specialized websites for others, not to create an amazing tool which can do it for us (we don't have the time and resources). In terms of the supervisor "lying", I don't think supervisor was lying. Yes, we have a decent (not great) tool which helps us but I think the tool is a need. I think that the tool which Jay wants is not a need, therefore the supervisor was still right about Jay's tool not being the objective of the group.
However, I do believe our current tool is not amazing, but it's enough to get the job done. I would love to use a new tool and more up-to-date programs and applications but what Jay wants is way too much IMO. I think Jay is a great computer science student but he does not fully understand the business aspects yet and he does not understand that in the corporate world, we analyze the pros and cons and the moment we feel the pros outweigh the cons, we shoot down the idea. We don't have time to test it out and see how it goes. We don't want to take the risk of putting in a lot of effort, resources and time to create something which may or may not reward us as much as Jay thinks it will. However, I think we can and should use more up-to-date programs (I'm going to discuss this with my supervisor next week so it's not an issue). In terms of Jay thinking that he's being held back in learning and developing his skills, I think that since this is his first workterm, there is a lot more other things to learn rather than computer science stuff (I think learning how workplaces and businesses operate, how supervisors and managers work, how to communicate with co-workers etc. is the main thing which workers should learn on this first work term.. the difference between university and work is huge and I think there is so much non-computer science stuff to learn on the first work-term.).
With that said, Jay is really upset. He mentioned to me that he really doesn't care about this work-term anymore, that he's just going to do what he is told and then leave. He said he regrets this job so much (my first job was working at the gas station, I think he's so lucky to have an IT related first job). I think that for the next 6 months, he's going to be really upset and he will not like being here from 9-5 everyday. He doesn't like supervisor and manager but I think they are great co-workers. What can I do / should I do anything to alleviate the situation?
Thanks in advance for taking the time to help.