Thanks for taking the time to potentially help me here. Even if you're not a web designer/developer I think you might be able to offer some advice. I used to work at an ad agency as a webmaster, but they didn't appreciate the importance of their web team. They undercharged for web services and had more web work then they could handle, so myself and my co-workers were overworked and underpaid. A lot of us quit around the same time.

Now I'm working for more pay as the only web designer and developer at a family owned retail store. My background is in design and front-end development, I know HTML, CSS, and Javascript/jQuery. During the interview I told them this bluntly, but I assured them I could figure out what they needed: which was WordPress development and some PHP. I had to quickly learn the basics of WP Codex and PHP. Then our site was hacked (long story) and that set me back a lot. I am not an internet security expert!

Anywho my main issue is that it feels like it's me versus them. They don't get the work involved, that certain requests take more time than others, and just how frustrating and disabling the hack really was. My manager (not someone who knows web dev at all) tried to convince me that it was OK to launch a hacked site! I upright refused! That was the first time we almost got into an argument. I feel like I'm speaking French and their expectations are out of touch with reality. Or maybe it's me? Maybe it's because I'm inexperienced here? This is my first major site launch. Things take me longer to figure out than someone who has had years of experience in WordPress and PHP.

I'm used to being part of a team where there was always someone who knew more than me, or the same as me, who could provide another set of eyes on my coding problems. But here I'm alone with people who I don't think get it. It feels like I'm freelancing even though I'm a full-time employee, there's no buffer between me and them to smooth/translate communications. I try to be assertive and nice. They pay me, at the end of the day it's their website. But they hired me for this, if they knew how to code I wouldn't be here. Yet it feels like they don't trust my design or dev instincts.

On the upside I will say this: they are understanding to an extent. A lot of this could be pressure I am placing on myself. Still, it is very frustrating and stressful that this all falls on me. They keep adding things to the punch list - things I need to do before launch in 15 days! I just put my foot down and said we can not add any more to this list, everything can wait until round 2. I explained this again and again but I think I actually have to just tell them no now. It feels strange having to do that when they are the ones paying me.

My immediate boss is super cool. But he has asked things of me I don't think he should have. I told him I've reached my knowledge limit on xyz and after exhaustively researching the issue I can't fix it. He told me to ask my friends? They don't work here! I don't mind asking them for advice every now and again, but for solving specific development problems they should get paid as consultants, right? He also recommends super unhelpful things because he doesn't know code. Like, "refresh your cache." I know dude, I did that already! Then I have to explain what I've done, KNOWING he doesn't know what I'm talking about. So I wonder if I should even bother explaining these things?

I've never been the only web person before. I really miss being in a team. But... on the other hand, maybe I'm learning this isn't for me? I've had one dev internship I really enjoyed, one terribly demanding design internship, then the company I explained in paragraph one who didn't appreciate the web team, and now this. I have taken on three freelance projects recently and I don't even want to look at them. They are easy compared to what I'm doing now, but my full-time job has felt so stressful I can't even imagine coming home and continuing the same work.

Again I think a lot of the stress is that I am not an expert in what the job requires. But I'm in too deep to bail now. I've only been here 3 months. I at least need to see the site through to launch. But what does this sound like to you? How should I expect to be treated? Generally I am a shy and nice person. I'm not afraid of confrontation, but if I have to confront/stand up for myself, it stresses me out to the point where I'm nauseous 24/7.

UGH any advice would be appreciated. I'm doubting everything right now... my own abilities, my willingness to get better, whether or not I'm being treated fairly... and even if web dev is the right career for me. It's possible I haven't found the right company yet... but I'm going to be 28 in a few months! When will my career be more solid?

OK so if you made it this far thank you! Here are my questions listed out, given my novella of context above:

  1. Am I right in feeling like too much is being asked of me?
  2. Did I make a mistake taking on a job where I wasn't an expert?
  3. Are all web jobs this stressful? Is it possible this isn't the career for me or should I keep trucking?
  4. Should I bail after this site launch?
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    People here are glad to help but you increase your chances of getting an answer if you can concisely describe what exactly you are looking for. From the way the question is currently worded, I see a huge spaghetti of issues, and it is unclear what you are asking. – Masked Man Jun 1 '15 at 17:04
  • Thank you, I guess I am just so scrambled right now it all spilled out. I'll list out my questions. – Kristi Jun 1 '15 at 17:16
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    thunderblaster - OMG THAT IS MY LIFE – Kristi Jun 1 '15 at 17:21
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    Uuugh Joe - that is oddly refreshing to hear. I think my next job I will need to be part of a team, at a company who respects web. – Kristi Jun 1 '15 at 17:56
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    Kristi, you need to understand which responsibilities are yours and which are those of the decision makers. Ask yourself; what can I affect? If you can affect it, take responsibility. If not, don't. You can offer several alternatives to your boss(es), along with the associated risks. Once they select, take the responsibility off your shoulders and "hand" it to them. It will take practice, but it sounds like a skill you will be better off cultivating, for the sake of your health. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Jun 1 '15 at 18:02

Am I right in feeling like too much is being asked of me?

No way to tell. "Too much" is a personal issue. Some folks like to have a lot to do, a lot of daily challenge, and a lot of responsibility. Some like to be the big fish in a small pond. Some don't.

Did I make a mistake taking on a job where I wasn't an expert?

Perhaps. If you strongly feel that you need to be an expert in something in order to be happy/successful, then you might have made a mistake. Not everyone feels this way.

Are all web jobs this stressful?

I'm sure you know that some web jobs are stressful, while some are mind-numbingly boring and simple.

Is it possible this isn't the career for me or should I keep trucking?

It's possible you are in the wrong career. Only you can decide what you should do.

Should I bail after this site launch?

That's something only you can decide for yourself.

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    Hi Joe - I do appreciate the feedback but it seems to me you may have skipped my context and just answered the questions not knowing my background. I don't see anything in your answers that reference anything I said I've been dealing with? – Kristi Jun 1 '15 at 18:02

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