I joined an early stage startup co-founded by my professional acquaintance (let's call him Founder-X). I was interested in working on Distributed Computing and Big Data. The primary reason for me moving into this startup was to learn more about the Big-Data pieces and Founder-X mentioned that I could do it on the side while I would own a piece related to traditional pure systems-level and low-level coding (I have a lot of experience and expertise in this area). I have been working here for 5 months now. My pay and stock offering are average for a startup of this size and my level of experience.
I have not been able to learn on the job, which was my primary expectation when I quit my previous job and joined the current company.
My area of expertise overlaps with Founder-X and he knows the problem I am trying to solve and its solution (it is not exactly a tough issue). The part is quite critical but I am not critical to the team. This is not similar to the other members of the team who each bring in something else useful to the overall problem we are trying to solve. In short, I took over the area which Founder-X was handling and am continuing work on it. In many discussions on the piece I own I feel that my input is not valued much. I feel that I don't bring anything to the table apart from the skilled labor of writing code.
I cannot easily move into other areas of interest in my company as long as I own this feature as there is enough work. My area of work will take a atleast a year for a single person (considering release, maintenance, fixes and new features). The only way I can move out is by hiring someone else to do the job. This will not happen for a year at least.
I feel snubbed by Founder-X when I add my inputs in the design discussions for the Distributed Systems/Big Data areas (where I am not a novice, but not at the level where the others are). The other members of the team are helpful and listen to me or point out where my mistake is, which is useful to me. However when Founder-X is in the room I get into a situation where my comment or question is just ignored and passed. After a few such interactions I stopped interacting in design discussions. I have also stopped getting invitations to some similar meetings that happen in the 5-person company nowadays.
Since I am quite demoralized at work, my quality of work is being affected. I am not able to give my 100% and nowadays only check my email at home and work on side-projects and online courses on my own. This is in sharp contrast to the other places where I worked, when I was putting quite a bit of work from home as well and considered a workaholic. I think that currently I am not doing due justice to the salary that is being paid to me inspite of the fact that I took a pay-cut from my previous company (where I was satisfied and I think my work was worth the pay if not more).
I don't have an offer yet but plan to quit the startup. I don't want to hurt the founders including Founder-X. But staying here longer while being uninterested in the company will also hurt them. I want to explain my intention to quit and mention that I will work as long as they find my replacement. I want to mention this beforehand as I will be looking for a new job but don't want to suddenly quit after I get one. Is this a good idea ?
If Founder-X says that he will let me work in the other areas I will still have more than I can handle. It is very likely that I will be overwhelmed by my own piece and not look at the rest of the areas which I like. Should I still stay and try it out ?
Am I being obtuse ? I have faced one similar situation long ago where I did not like the work but did not talk about it and did not quit for a long time. This affected the quality of my work and thereby my confidence which I took a while to recover. I don't really want to be in this sort of a situation again.
Thanks for reading!