This question already has an answer here:

I have a concern.

I am a Software Developer, lets say that I don't consider myself a Junior Developer, but I am not an intermediate either, lets say I am on the transition from Junior to Mid level programmer.

My boss just gone to another place, and now I am the developer in charge of what he did.

Sometimes the database guys ask me to do updates and I really don't know what they are talking about, the director of my department doesn't seems to be as if he will calling a new senior programmer, I feel stuck, I feel frustrated and I feel that I don't fit in here.

How should I talk to the director about it?

I how do I explain my situation that I don't feel able to do what they are requesting to me. I am not going to ask for more money to do that work because is not a question about money, it is about the knowledge that I don't have.

My boss has a another building where there is a senior developer, everytime I ask him for something, if I ask more than 3 things, he gets mad, which frustrates me more and more.

EDIT

I don't believe this is a duplicate of Totally underqualified for position, don't know what to do as I've read that and it's a very different issue to mine.

marked as duplicate by David K, scaaahu, Kate Gregory, yochannah, The Wandering Dev Manager Sep 7 '15 at 17:10

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.

  • 1
    I don't really understand your question, it sounds like your manager was a senior developer, who changed positions but no one replaced him. Now you are responsible for all of his previous tasks and are not sure how to do those tasks and are looking to talk with your previous bosses boss (the director)? – enderland Sep 1 '15 at 14:52
  • @enderland I call my boss to the senior developer who gone, and Director to the Director of the department which is still here. He doesn't want to hire a new Senior Developer, so I am doing all the tasks that my ex-boss(the senior Dev) was in charged. – Marcelo Sep 1 '15 at 14:55
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    @NietzscheProgrammer Rather than berating David for suggesting what, on the face of it, seems to be a possible duplicate, explain why your question is different. The linked question seems to be mainly concerned with lack of management experience but it seems like in your situation it's technical knowledge or experience that you're lacking? – Lilienthal Sep 1 '15 at 15:06
  • @Lilienthal yes, something like that. – Marcelo Sep 1 '15 at 15:08
  • Could you clarify what you're trying to accomplish? Training? Additional staff? Reduced workload? More realistic expectations from other teams? – Lilienthal Sep 1 '15 at 15:09
up vote 7 down vote accepted

How should I talk to the director about it?

How do I explain my situation that I don't feel able to do what they are requesting to me

Since in your comments you indicate that you don't want more training, or help - that you just want to do the tasks that correspond to your (current) level of knowledge, I'll answer to that directly.

You go to the director and say something like "You have given me some new tasks and I don't think I'm currently capable of performing them adequately. That is making me frustrated, and sometimes I don't feel as if I fit in here. I would prefer to work on only Junior-level tasks and not have to work on more Senior-level tasks."

Before you discuss it, be aware that this will have some impact on you.

You are basically saying that you aren't as good or capable as your director thinks you are. And that sort of statement has a way of sticking for a while.

I'd rather suggest that you ask for training or mentoring instead, but you seem to have already ruled that out. So at least go into this discussion aware of the possible impact.

  • yes, you just change the way I see the things, I so frustrated that now I can not think in anything else, but actually getting some training will be the best. – Marcelo Sep 1 '15 at 15:22

My friend, you're in a wonderful situation. It's called a STRETCH ASSIGNMENT.

You're highly uncomfortable, I get it. Set that aside for just a moment and let's look at this from your director's perspective. Then I'll offer you some guidance, including how to get the most help from others without them getting mad.

YOUR BOSS (the director)

Your director believed you were the best available person to fill this need. Otherwise you wouldn't have gotten it.

If you merely kick it back up to the director, now he has to start all over finding a new person, AND (as Joe correctly says elsewhere on this page), you'll be seen as someone who doesn't want to grow or take on new responsibilities. (Regardless of how true that is or not.) Such a reputation will not help your career.

Put yourself in his shoes. What he really hopes you'll say is something like:

"Boss, I'm out of my depth here, and if you believe I can do this, then I'm totally willing to learn what I need to learn, so I can do a good job. I'm going to need your support to do this. Is it okay for me to learn on the job, or would it be better for the company to find someone who already knows what I don't know?"

Assume he says YES. Next question you ask is:

"To keep myself prioritized, which results are the most important results you want me to deliver? Here's a list of what I think you want from my position, and I've done my best to order it in what I think is the right order of importance."

(At this point the director may faint from happiness.)

Now you just supply a list of education you need -- courses, mentoring, etc.

HOW TO ASK FOR HELP SUCCESSFULLY

The short summary of "how to ask for help successfully" is, make it easy on the other person. That means:

  1. Spread the questions out -- don't only ask one person
  2. Remember answers so you don't ask twice
  3. Keep a log of questions and answers and study that log for patterns
  4. Queue up non-urgent questions so you can ask them in batches
  5. Do favors for your helpers. Buy lunch. Buy scotch.
  6. Ask smart questions that show you researched the issue, and come in to the session with what you THINK is the right answer for each question -- this speeds your learning and shows your helper that you're not just a lazy dumb guy who wants others to do his job for him

The skills you'll learn handling this situation -- how to see things from your boss's perspective, and how to ask for help successfully -- will pay off for the rest of your career.

  • Spoken like a true professional, good answer. :) – Masked Man Sep 2 '15 at 4:43

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