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Premise

Until a few weeks ago, I worked for a software company as a software developer. Honestly, I tried to do my best every day. Not only I did what I was supposed to do, but I always tried to improve practices and outcomes.

Even though I was working for less than a year, I received many benefits as a recognition for my hard work. Some teammates were seeing me as an example (and I know because they told me).

Dissatisfaction

The problem was: I didn't particularly enjoy my job. It was not technically challenging, and I considered what I was building just another of many projects of its kind. Also, my teammates were slow and inexperienced, and I wanted them to grow. The development practices adopted allowed very-low-quality work.

This, however, did not affect how I was doing my job: I always worked hard to deliver high quality. Also, I believed in the product and in the company, just I though my technical skills were being wasted.

I never hid my dissatisfaction to my boss (the CTO) and the CEO. I told them many times what I thought. I also told them many ways we could improve the development process or let my teammates earn experience. They seemed interested, but they never let me do something practical.

Fired!

Now, one day I told both the CTO and the CEO I had plans to move to another company later this year. I was immediately fired. They told me that they wanted people who were 100% focused on the product and on the company.

Now, I'm not particularly sad, but I'd like to avoid making the same mistake again. Here are my questions:

  • Did I make a mistake saying I was dissatisfied with the job?
  • Did I make a mistake saying I was looking for another job?
  • What's wrong with looking for another job, if you are still doing your best?
  • Perhaps I can understand why I've been fired, however: why wasn't I fired earlier? I though it was obvious to them that I wanted to quit sooner or later.

Update

Many of you have pointed out how my attitude is arrogant. Probably you are right, and rest assured that I'll carefully think on what you said.

However, I'd like to point an important fact. The problem for me is not "me versus them". It has never been. Rather, I want to boost my career, I want to become a better software architect, and I want to work in agile contexts where quality matters.

What I always wanted to say (to my CTO, to my CEO, in this question) is not: "I'm too smart", but: "this is not letting me advance".

I'm 26 and I believe it's my right to expect more from my job, because when I'll be 45 I won't have the same opportunities I have now. Probably when saying such things I'm acting as arrogant, but please keep in mind that my intentions are way different. And my intentions led me write this question: what I wanted to know is how should I behave when I feel that my job is obstructing my career.

marked as duplicate by gnat, Alec, mcknz, Jim G., scaaahu Sep 2 '15 at 11:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Aug 28 '15 at 3:13
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    Please take discussion that is not about improving this post to the chat room linked above. Discussion, comiseration, suggested solutions (why aren't those answers?), commentary... chat is great for that; comments are not. – Monica Cellio Aug 28 '15 at 22:56
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    I considered what I was building just another of many projects of its kind and I believed in the product and in the company seem somewhat at odds. Can you reconcile them? – user2338816 Aug 30 '15 at 6:27
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    In America it is typically not that simple to let go of a worker. You need lots of documentation of past misconduct. There are plenty of lawyers out there that will give you a free consultation on wrongful termination. I think it is wrong that they did not even give you a few weeks for nothing more than being honest about future opportunities. If there are no bridges left to burn I would recommend you seek legal advice. – BAR Aug 31 '15 at 9:19
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    @user2338816: the process of building a product is very different from the product itself – PicPuc Sep 1 '15 at 16:52

11 Answers 11

21

When you're in a position that isn't satisfactory - for any particular reason - you typically have two broad approaches. Which you choose should depend on one initial decision.

  • Do I want to make my career at this company better, or do I want to leave?

It's something you may take a while to figure out, but it's the most important thing to figure out. In your case, it sounds like you figured that out sometime before the end of your story. In the rest of this, I'm going to discuss the fallout from that decision - and not whether you should've made that decision or anything else, other answers cover that (and I feel that's not the point of this question really, anyway). If you decide your answer is the first - you want to improve your career at this company - then you need a different set of advice, both about improving yourself and about accomplishing changes at your company, but that's another thousand words and left for another question (or many others already here!)

Why do you need to answer this question first? Because if you've decided you want to leave - whether it's because you tried the alternative for a while and it didn't work, or just that you don't think you can improve your position - you need to adjust your approach. Stop trying to improve things; instead, be the best worker bee you can, until you leave.

That's because all of your attempts to improve things cost you, and the company, something. They cost you political capital; even after you leave, it matters how you leave, and if you are constantly negative, you're not going to be leaving a good taste in anyone's mouth, which may contribute to less success down the road for you. They cost you stress and aggravation; it's only natural to be frustrated that improvements you suggest are ignored.

They cost the company, also, because they need to spend time considering your improvements or changes, others also will be stressed some by your suggestions (if they run counter to their own preferences, in particular); and if one of your issues is something you expect your boss to help with (for example, better compensation, a different position, etc.), he/she may be spending some political capital trying to help you out - while you've already checked out.

And of course, in some situations they will lead to you leaving involuntarily, before you're ready to leave. I can't speak to why it came to that - nobody here, really, can; we don't know all of the details. Some bosses prefer - as specifically stated - not to employ people who aren't fully dedicated to their company; perhaps you were too negative and they felt it would be a drain; or perhaps you simply offended one or more of them. They may have even felt they were doing you a favor, cutting you loose so you could indeed find a better job.


  • When you've moved on, keep your head down.

This only happened because you stuck your head up and told them about it. Once you've gotten to this point - that you're ready to move on - think about what motivation you might have to tell management that. Will it get them to change something? Remember - you've moved on (mentally). You're no longer trying to fix things. Fixing things is no longer an option! What reason could you have for saying it?

If you're worried about the company figuring out a succession plan, well, first it sounds like you weren't in that kind of position where it really mattered so much; and second, that's their job, not yours. You'll give sufficient notice (when you get a replacement job) that it will be fine, or else it's their fault if it's not (for not having a plan).

If you're still concerned for the company, and are trying to get them to improve for their own sake, don't. You're placing your own judgement above that of the rest of the folks there - while you may be right, you probably aren't the only smart person at that company. Let them sink or swim on their own merits. They've had some length of time to consider your suggestions.

What if your direct report is also your friend, and you want him/her to be able to deal with your loss more gradually? Trust me (I've been there), this doesn't help. At all. What you're doing, instead of helping them out, is putting them in a difficult position. Do they tell upper management you're on your way out (possibly precipitating your firing)? Or do they keep quiet, knowing that it could be their job on the line if management figures out they hid this detail?

Instead - do just what they'd want you to do. Work hard, do your job, and when you do find another position that's right for you, say 'Thank you' to your boss, give notice, and move on. Then, when you need a reference, or when they need a contractor for a side job, or when you perhaps want a new position as senior developer in a few years, the memory in their head will be PicPuc-the-hard-worker-who-got-stuff-done, not PicPuc-the-arrogant-complainer.

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No one likes a Negative Nancy PicPuc

In general, people don't like people who are constantly negative.

Someone constantly complaining about [processes, people, technical skills, etc] will result in a quite negative image of the person.

That sort of person just isn't fun to be around. Trust me, I know, when I was younger I could have written your post. It was so obvious to me how everything everyone else did was wrong/bad/could be improved. It was my mission to inform them!

Being awesome is not the same as being a good team member

Being able to work with people is just as important as being excellent technically in most places (as you just found out). Most people, by definition, are not "A" players.

Let's pretend for a moment I'm a coworker of yours feeling your attitude:

  • I wish we hadn't hired PicPic, he's good at his job but is a jerk. He makes me feel incompetent and came here and started telling us how to do our jobs even as a new employee. He thinks he's above this job and acts like we're a bunch of idiots. I wish he's stop telling us how we need to learn/grow/improve..

Based on how you wrote your question I think this is quite likely how your team feels about you. You can't act condescending/superior to people and try to fix them without them feeling that way.

Now, let's imagine I'm your boss.

  • PicPic is great technically, but really struggles with people skills. He wants everyone to just adopt his ideas because the are The Best and doesn't seem to know how to work with or persuade people. I'm not sure if he's actually a good add to our team or not, he's demeaning and arrogant and people feel it. We were delivering what we needed before and he's causing resentment amongst my team, which might change that too.

You have to be able to work with others effectively. Many if not most jobs will have you working with people of varying skill levels. This answer to a related question applies here, too. People seem to think "I'm awesome, everyone will just respect my awesomeness regardless of anything else!" but it turns out, that's not how it works.

Who am I???

People probably perceive you very differently than you think they do.

You might feel you are "just stating facts" but if this is done poorly it can come across really negatively or critical. Answering questions can either come across as an earnest mentoring or a demeaning dismissal.

I would encourage you to do some self evaluation about how your coworkers/bosses likely perceived you - not what you were intending to communicate, but how they probably interpreted your communication.

Likely you will find this surprising and if not, it probably means you need more of it.


Specific questions

Did I make a mistake saying I was dissatisfied with the job?

Yes, when your reason for being dissatisfied is basically "I think my coworkers suck" and "I'm too good for this" you probably should be very careful in how you say it.

Keep in mind that you need to frame things in a way which is mutually beneficial. This might feel like BS, but you need to frame things in such a way that your employer sees the value in what you are doing. "I'm bored" vs "I think I could be better utilized doing X, Y, or Z" etc.

If you want to move into an architect position someday (also, at age 26 you are very young to be wanting that in the near future, experience in working on a long-term multi-year project from start to support is very helpful for architects), you need to figure out how to find a way to do those things in your current job. But you can't just start doing them because it benefits you - it has to benefit others and your company.

The best way to do this is find things you want to do, document them, and then basically just suggest to your boss, "we sometimes have [problems, issues, etc] with [x, y, z], I was thinking it'd be a good opportunity for me to try to resolve them by doing [a, b], what do you think?"

Managers love saying yes (or tweaking things). Presenting your interests as a way to further their goals is nearly an auto-yes from most managers (wait, you want to add more value and do the hard work of defining the work, too?! great!). This answer to a question of mine is also pretty useful, as it suggests ways to approach career development with a non-helpful boss.

Regardless of how you feel about things, you need to at least try to communicate to your boss why things are in their best interest to do. Saying, matter of factly, "we need to do X" [because it furthers my career goals] will not convince many. But phrased like I say above will do you wonders.

Too often we focus on the how/what of our suggestions and ignore the impact of them. No one cares about a next-best-thing, but people do care about developer time, money, and cost (as examples, most workplaces have plenty of problems which need solving too. Approaching solutions by the things your management care about is really effective and persuasive. Are people wasting time because of something? Keep track of it, and say, "we can save 6 man-months of work a year by removing this problem by X."

All this works both ways. You are more effective in your job because you are better meeting the goals/objectives of your boss(es) and that also lets you accomplish more of these things you want to do.

A manager/employee relationship should not feel adversarial. I will say that you learned that employees are much less than needed/respected by companies, and it's always good to keep this in mind throughout your career. Your job matters a lot more to you than your boss/company.

Did I make a mistake saying I was looking for another job?

You should never do this unless you are prepared to not have your current job or have really, really good reasons to trust that your current employer won't react badly (hint: 1 year seniority isn't it).

What's wrong with looking for another job, if you are still doing your best?

When a new employee who basically thinks everyone is an idiot says they are looking for another job, it doesn't take a genius to realize they are not really committed to their current work.

Waiting for them to quit isn't ideal in most cases, especially if they are (likely) a negative influence on team morale.

Perhaps I can understand why I've been fired, however: why wasn't I fired earlier? I though it was obvious to them that I wanted to quit sooner or later.

Keep in mind, if there was doubt about you being a negative on your team, it's likely this is a great excuse for them to go "finally we can just get rid of him." If you work for a small company, a single person can cause a lot of problems for everyone else. Everything you wrote suggests this to be the case.

Or maybe your boss and the CTO/CEO thought you might grow in your people skills...

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    +1 for the "honesty" probably just giving them an excuse to get rid of somebody they already thought was a problem. Before coming down with a bad case of the Fletchers their attitude might have been "replacing him is more of a pain than dealing with his attitude, and hopefully he'll improve with time." Once you tell them they're going to have to pay the cost of replacing you, that cost is locked in and the hope of improvement disappears. – Air Aug 27 '15 at 17:26
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    Having been in a kind of similar position as OP, I mostly agree with everything with one exception: "When a new employee who basically thinks everyone is an idiot says they are looking for another job, it doesn't take a genius to realize they are not really committed to their current work." You sound so confident you give an impression that this opinion is fact. Well, I can bet it's not. I myself, and a friend, even when on a leave, we were 100% committed to work, at least I believe so, because that's how a professional should behave. I think this is a bogus reason TBH. – luk32 Aug 27 '15 at 23:44
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    Or maybe it's a fallacy. OP's bosses might have same honest belief. I think OP was too ambitious for the company, and handled it poorly. They (OP) made mistakes in terms of soft skills as well as strategically. I think it wasn't that bad everyone thought he's an arrogant ate-all-mind rooster, even though he gave such an impressions in his question. Nevertheless, you certainly don't go to bosses saying anything that might be taken as "Quality of our work sucks, I'll be looking for something else." =) unless you can afford not having a job. – luk32 Aug 27 '15 at 23:51
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    This answer has greatness in it. – MathematicalOrchid Aug 28 '15 at 7:24
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    This is based on the huge assumption that PicPuc thinks his coworkers are idiots, which isn't stated in the question. He doesn't think they're given the chance to grow, he thinks the dev practices are not conducive to creating good software, and he's got ideas for helping to fix those problems. That's a pretty common situation, and it's often someone who is new that points it out. "We've always done it that way." PicPuc's only problem in my view is that he said he would be looking to leave later in the year... Never do that. If the company can't figure it out on their own they're lost. – Alan Shutko Aug 29 '15 at 2:48
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Did I make a mistake saying I was dissatisfied with the job?

Did I make a mistake saying I was looking for another job?

If your goal was not to get fired, then clearly you made a mistake. You may be inexperienced in these matters, but it's not surprising to me that they got rid of you as soon as you openly declared your intentions.

While some companies would work with you to understand, and perhaps overcome, your dissatisfaction, many would not. Clearly yours was in the latter camp.

Perhaps you came across as so dissatisfied that you were looking for another job and couldn't be "saved". So the company figured - why prolong the misery when you were leaving in the next few months anyway?

Certainly managers are reluctant to give important work to someone who won't be around long.

What's wrong with looking for another job, if you are still doing your best?

From your point of view, there's nothing wrong looking for another job. But certainly you can understand the company's point of view that "they wanted people who were 100% focused on the product and on the company." Managers want to assign projects to folks and expect them to be around to complete them. It also tends not to be great for the morale of others in the group when one member declares that they are leaving soon.

While you were probably still doing your best, experience tells us that it's hard to continue to do your best while your heart is set on getting out. People in your situation tend to lose their focus.

Perhaps I can understand why I've been fired, however: why wasn't I fired earlier? I though it was obvious to them that I wanted to quit sooner or later.

There's no way to know why for sure. While everyone quits, retires, or is let go eventually, there's a huge difference between eventually (later) and sooner. You basically just told them "I'm leaving soon". They may have been thinking "He might leave later."

Perhaps it wasn't as obvious as you believed it to be. Perhaps they thought they could eventually "save" you. Perhaps your telling them you were looking for another job was the last straw.

Perhaps they were just waiting for a good time to get rid of you.

Aside from the CTO and CEO there's no way for others to know what they were thinking.

Use this as a learning experience. Try harder during the interview process to find a company and job that gives you what you need, so that you can stick around for more than a year. Work harder to find agile contexts where quality matters. Remember - the time to be honest about your career plans is before you accept the job offer, not less than a year later.

And next time, when you have decided to move on, keep it to yourself until you give your notice.

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    +1 for "when you have decided to move on, keep it to yourself until you give your notice.". You should seek new job when you are working. You will see that finding a new job will be more hard when you are unemployed. – Atilla Ozgur Aug 30 '15 at 18:29
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I'm inclined to describe this as "naïve and idealistic" rather than "arrogant".

But the basic scenario seems quite simple. You made it clear to your managers that the work you were doing did not meet your long-term career aspirations. From the management's point of view, the worst outcome in that situation is to keep you doing what you don't want to do, until either your productivity and motivation go down, or you walk out the door at a time that you choose, regardless of how inconvenient it might be for the company at that moment.

In an ideal world (i.e. ideal for you), a better outcome might have been to move you sideways and/or upwards to give you more input to the company strategy, a technical training role, or something similar.

But if was not an option for the company, and you openly "pulled the trigger" by saying you were job hunting - and from the way things had played out over time, the management judged that you weren't bluffing - the company took the most rational response that was available, and said "OK, this isn't going to work out in the long term, so best of luck with your future career elsewhere".

Unless they are irrationally vindictive, I would hope you would get a good reference from them, along the lines of "you did a good job of work for us, but unfortunately our company could not meet your future career aspirations"

6

Did I make a mistake saying I was dissatisfied with the job?

Not necessarily, but probably. Unfortunately the well of "hey, I want more out of this job" has been poisoned by people who try to hold their jobs hostage. Remember, it's not your employer's job to make you happy (necessarily). What can be a more fruitful line of play is to point out that you have become proficient (I'd recommend being able to say "expert" with a straight face) in your current role and are looking for new challenges. Basically, you need to give a reason why they want to move you up, not why you want to move up.

Did I make a mistake saying I was looking for another job?

Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. There's this idea that you can bring an offer to your boss and get a counteroffer to stay, but I've never heard of it working that way. I'm sure someone has made that trick work, but more often than not you've just attached a giant target on your back. Again, look at it from their POV - you've just announced that you're going to leave. That means it's suddenly in their interest not to give you a raise (you're leaving anyway), not to give you added responsibilities (you're leaving anyway), not to give you anything sensitive (you're leaving and could end up at a competitor)... you get the idea. Unless you have a very special relationship with your boss (if you're not sure, you don't), the first they should hear about you looking for a job is when you give your notice.

What's wrong with looking for another job, if you are still doing your best?

Absolutely nothing. I've had a corporate trainer openly recommend that you should take an interview once a year or so, partly to stay in practice and partly to make sure the grass isn't greener elsewhere. That said, there's no reason for your boss to know that you're doing it. I certainly can't think of any situation where telling them is to your advantage.

Perhaps I can understand why I've been fired, however: why wasn't I fired earlier? I though it was obvious to them that I wanted to quit sooner or later.

Who's to know? It's entirely possible it wasn't obvious to them, or that they just didn't care.

5

Think of it like this. Suppose you went to a dentist and while talking to the dentist he tells you he is immensely dissatisfied with his job and he plans to shut down and leave his office by the end of this year. Next thing he pulls out a needle and tells you he's going to do a major surgery on you. Would you feel good having someone around who doesn't like what they do?

That's the same with employers. They want people who are going to stay not hate their job for no good reason. While being fired is a bit drastic I think it is a appropriate step by them especially if there wasn't any possible solution to solving the crisis especially if you told someone higher up that.

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    The Dentist analogy is really horrible, Customers aren't their boss.. – FiringSquadWitness Aug 28 '15 at 5:07
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    Another problem with the dentist analogy is that OP isn't looking to switch careers. It would be more analogous to a star dentist at a dental practice telling his patients he is moving, and in fact, that happens a lot when dentists change practices. – Chan-Ho Suh Aug 28 '15 at 17:20
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You make the mistake that many employees make - your regard your boss as your friend. The higher ups in any hierarchy, however informal and friendly it may be, are never, never your friends. They are merely people you interact with in a friendly manner so that you can hold on to your job. You should never ever confide in your higher ups about your future career plans or plans to change jobs when you are at work or even at an informal occasion like a party. If a friend or family member in whom you usually confide becomes your boss, then you should stop confiding in them.

The first time that your boss and o-workers should come to know of your intention to change jobs is when you give them your notice or resignation; never before that.

Again, your boss (and other higher ups) are never your friends. It is wise to regard them as your enemies with whom you co-operate temporarily for a few years on areas of mutual self-interest.

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    I find this incorrect in my experience. I have a number of former employers who I consider friends and still interact with from time to time socially. I also have friends for whom I was their manager. – Jane S Aug 28 '15 at 1:39
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    @JaneS: And yet what you say does in no way contradict Zen's comment. You should not treat your boss as your best friend while you're still in the company, at least regarding this kind of "touchy" subjects. – devoured elysium Aug 28 '15 at 10:26
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    @devouredelysium I didn't really see in in the terms that Zen is describing. I was pretty high up in these organisations though, I perceived it as a collaboration rather than "sleeping with the enemy". – Jane S Aug 28 '15 at 10:35
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Yes, you made a mistake saying you were looking for another job. That made you a "short-timer," which means the company can no longer count on you for anything in the future. Why should they keep you around? I'm shocked they fired you immediately, but I'm not surprised.

Did you make a mistake saying you were dissatisfied with the job? Probably. It all depends on how you said it. If all you ever did was complain and this and that, and this person and that person, and so on, then that makes you a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner.

If instead, you said things such as "I have some ideas about how we can do this better," or "I'd like to take on bigger challenges," or "I'd like to gain some experience in other areas of the company," then people see that as you wanting to improve things at the company, and wanting to improve yourself.

The way your post is written, I'm guessing you weren't very positive in expressing your dissatisfaction.

  • Actually, I never really complained. I only said that "the project was not technically challenging" and I always proposed ways to improve the quality and the processes. – PicPuc Aug 27 '15 at 17:01
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    @PicPuc, how well did you understand the cost of implementing those new ways? Did you factor in social costs or just think it would be better and didn't need an ROI calculation? – JB King Aug 27 '15 at 18:27
  • @PicPuc having worked with people like you, they are rarely right. At least they're rarely as right as they feel they are. Many of them think it's their way or nothing, and have no clue as to the impact of the changes they propose, of what's been tried and found not to work, etc. etc. Had one coworker who, fresh out of school (everyone else had 10-15 years experience), demanded we all adopt his line of thinking, his favourite toolset, that nothing else would suffice, and kept whining about it for months. Wasn't pleasant to work with to say the least, as I hope you can understand. – jwenting Aug 30 '15 at 14:01
  • @jwenting: oh, yes: I perfectly understand. What happened here is that I repeatedly asked: "I believe we can improve, but do we want to improve?" The answer was always "yes", and I received many words of encouragement. This is why I insisted: they wanted me to insist. – PicPuc Sep 1 '15 at 16:39
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Unlike many other answers here, I'm going to actually support your position. The rationale being as follows. For the lack of better word, I'll use "arrogance" to mean ambition which may seem unfair to a group, while aiming to better your performance. It is very uncommon that truly great things don't involve any arrogance. If you read almost any biography of those who made noticeable contributions to any field of science, arts or society, you will inevitably find that arrogance played an important role in that person's success. To give you one example, here's a quote from Alan Turing:

No, I'm not interested in developing a powerful brain. All I'm after is just a mediocre brain, something like the President of AT&T.

I would imagine that if Turing was applying for funding, he probably had to look for funding in a different place. Nevertheless, every CS graduate knows his name today, and the anonymous AT&T president sunk into oblivion.

Now, to the specifics of your situation. Ask yourself this: are you required by law to stay in the place which hired you for as long as they want to keep you? Is it against the law to look for other jobs, while you are employed? Is it against the law to tell your boss that you are looking for other jobs? I think the answer in each case is obvious: you didn't do anything morally wrong. Others might have had baseless expectations, but that's their problem. Unfortunately for you, those are the same people who have the ability to influence your career. And, since people will often behave immorally, unless enforced to behave otherwise, you also need to account for that. In other words, you should expect your supperiors to want to fire you in this situation, even though they are in the wrong.

  • Being able to ignore negative opinions of your work is important to success, but arrogance is an extreme, pathological version of this. In Turing's case, I'd argue that he was so exceptional that he succeeded in spite of his arrogance. I don't know the OP and don't want to insult him, but the odds are against him being a Turing. Sounds more like the arrogance of youth to me. – Wayne Aug 30 '15 at 14:37
  • @Wayne being able to ignore opinions (no need to restrict it to negative opinions) is important to success regardless of how smart you are (how well you compare to Turing). To the contrary, the premise of the well-accepted answers here really angers me: you are right when you are right, not when any number of people thinks that you are right. Anyone who thinks otherwise lives in a state of sin (you may recognize the last sentence being a quote ;)) – wvxvw Aug 30 '15 at 16:02
  • Yes, you are right when you're right, regardless of what anyone else tells you. But there are two problems that spring up: 1) how you interface with others matters, often a lot, and 2) when you're so inexperienced that you can't even know how wrong you are, you think you're right. I think we've all been there: young and got it all figured out and all the other folks around us are wrong... except we're wrong. Or we're right in a theoretical, simplistic world. Or we're right but there's no practical difference so it's just preference. – Wayne Aug 31 '15 at 18:09
  • @Wayne what you say is actually exemplary of a thinking fallacy known as "reasoning from consequences". I.e. the case when you try to justify a particular claim by saying that were it not true, then the consequences would be undesirable. Knowing what others think can be a good heuristics for making decisions, provided others are likely to be unbiased experts. On top of that, your use of "theoretical" makes me shrug. Understanding or developing a theory requires non-trivial mental effort, whereas thinking by example doesn't. "Theoretical" is anything like "simplistic". – wvxvw Aug 31 '15 at 18:21
  • No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that just because the OP believes he's smarter than everyone else at his company doesn't mean it's so. And you're incorrect that others need to be either unbiased or experts to be helpful to us. Part of being mature is learning to learn even from biased and non-expert people. And "theoretical" has multiple denotations. In the case I was using it, it meant true but incomplete knowledge based on education but not experience. That's part of the Young and Arrogant Syndrome: what we're taught in the classroom is often bite-sized and ideal. – Wayne Sep 1 '15 at 14:44
3

Don't say you're looking for another job because it is always understood that anyone can leave at any time for any reason. Hit the lottery, get hit by a bus, move to the mountains to be a monk. Anything can happen.

It sounds like you were a good employee and the company had some plans for you. Sure there is a risk you could leave, but management doesn't need to be explicitly told this. They cut their losses and avoiding getting any deeper with you into projects only to have you leave. If you could convert the lesser developers to doing things your way, there would be a tremendous brain drain to have you leave. Maybe they would all be better than before, but who knows?

Everybody thinks the: 10x-super-ninja-rockstar coder gets that way just by writing great code: absolutely wrong. Their talents are leveraged by convincing management to structure applications their way. They attract other good coders to come and work on their team. They make the coders around them better. You set an example, help people when they need it, and prevent the entire team/company from making disastrous technical choices. None of this will EVER happen in one year.

Your task as a highly-skilled developer was to make the project better by making others better and not writing fancy-ass code in bleeding edge technology for world-saving projects. When you eventually build something great, you will find yourself surrounded by good people doing good things.

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PicPuc,

It sounds like you were genuinely interested in being a good worker and for helping people: the CTO & CEO, and your co workers.

Since you were just being honest, your actions don't need any changing.

You ask: how should I behave when I feel my job is obstructing my career. Answer: your behavior is absolutely correct, in that you seek to help people and to be honest. In a way, this is the pinnacle of what work is supposed to be. The improvement you may consider is to try (always) to raise the level of the work you do in the sense that it really fulfills your personal goals.

Personally, I don't find anything arrogant in your post. I think you will find that as you move up in life and interact with better and better people, they will (1) be able to distinguish accurately honesty from arrogance (2) care little about what people say or think anyway, and pay attention only to results.

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    Welcome to the Workplace a00 -- since the OP's actions resulted in getting fired, and doesn't want this to happen again, isn't there anything that needs to be changed? Just a thought... – mcknz Aug 28 '15 at 14:00
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    Thanks mcknz. Perhaps if he/she lands at a company where his/her personal goals coincide with the company's, his/her productive attitude will cement his/her staying at the company. (thus he/she wouldn't have to lower his/her standard of honesty and productivity in the feeling that he/she must do this to keep a job, which would be a tragedy.) – a00 Aug 28 '15 at 14:49
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    I think the reason most people are finding his post arrogant is because of comments like "I never hid my dissatisfaction". We're all human, and even coding rockstars sometimes are in a bad mood and are dissatisfied with their work environment for not-justified reasons. I wouldn't want to hear the rockstar going on about something when quite clearly s/he's just being in a bad mood. Eventually OP is going to have to learn that sometimes you should hide dissatisfaction, and that 100% honesty 100% of the time is not appealing in any relationship, work or personal. – Chan-Ho Suh Aug 28 '15 at 22:37
  • @Chan-HoSuh I've been in a close personal relationship for eight years now where we have essentially 100% honesty 100% of the time, and we both do find that appealing. That said, I think that it takes a very specific kind of mind and personality for that to work - I just didn't like the "any relationship" generalization. I'd agree that in the vast majority of relationships, full honesty constantly isn't really viable. – mtraceur Aug 3 '16 at 6:47

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