Here's the situation: I am a junior software engineer and I am part of a team of two developers. I was paired up with a software developer lead who worked on the front end section for the software. In addition, I was working on the back end section of the software.

The software developer lead decided to resign after one year into the project. I had to learn the code he applied on the front end including the APIs he was using.

The Problem: When I was paired up with another software engineer lead, I ended up doing most of the work since he did not set his development environment and he does not have a lot of experience with the front end APIs. He's a nice guy but is not providing any help with the code. He is taking more than two weeks to set up the development environment. Thus, I am getting pushed hard to add a lot of features on the front end and back end by myself.

Conclusion: I was thinking about looking for another job since I already have one year and 5 months of experience. However, I don't know if this is the right thing to do. The project manager knows about the situation but still only pushes me.

I think I might get terminated due to the fact that this is a lot of work for me to handle.

Thanks for reading my post!

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    @Joe Strazzere: Is it fair for a junior software developer to do all this work? I thought team work is important in any workplace? – cyberspace009 Mar 31 '16 at 17:06
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    Bumper sticker but so true : Teamwork is essential. It lets you blame someone else for all problems. – MelBurslan Mar 31 '16 at 17:11
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    @cyberspace009: What on Earth gave you the idea that life is fair? What I would ask is whether management knows that you're the one who's been carrying the bulk of the load. If they do, they would be pretty stupid to terminate you. Of course, management has been known to be stupid - see above about non-fairness of life. – jamesqf Mar 31 '16 at 17:46
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    The Law of Rainbow Unicorns states that junior developers cannot be blamed. – TheMathemagician Apr 1 '16 at 13:57
  • Your project manager giving you important tasks directly and pushing you is the opposite of being in danger of getting terminated. – pmf Sep 7 '18 at 7:44

First, if you are in the US, you can get terminated because you come to the office at 7:59 instead of 8:00 o'clock sharp, or for having blue eyes. Most states in the US have employment-at-will contracts. So, they do not have to give you a reason to terminate your employment. If you are elsewhere, it all depends on the rules governing employment in your locality.

Second, if they are letting you go, because you can not produce two people's work all by yourself, it is best for you to not work for them as the expectations will not be realistic, ever !

Third, if you think 1 year and 5 months experience is a lot, think again. But by all means put your feelers out to see if there is anything better on any other employer.

And last but not least, have you voiced your concerns about this new lead developer, to the project manager in charge and amount of work expected of you because the new lead is a doofus ? Or you think your flustered looks and pouty face should give them the clue that you are overworked and under appreciated ? If you have not officially let this person know the situation, there is no better time than now. Write a polite but to-the-facts email to this person, explaining your difficulties keeping up with his deadlines. If you are not getting a response, make sure you cc'ed your email to his superiors as well.

All else failing, I hope your specialty is not so rare that this is the only job out there for you. Go look for another job. No job is worth getting frustrated day in and day out

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  • This a good answer but i'll email the manager later on today and see if this helped me. Thank you for replying :-) – cyberspace009 Mar 31 '16 at 17:19
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    +1 as I always say, they can fire you if your socks are untied. It's always good to have a paper trail as an ace in the hole. – Old_Lamplighter Mar 31 '16 at 17:36
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    Even in states that are not at-will. Software Engineering is an excluded class for most employment law. They can work you to death, pay you peanuts, fire you because you looked at them wrong and still be in the right. Also means, you can say see yaa and go somewhere better. – Bill Leeper Mar 31 '16 at 21:24
  • "Most states in the US have employment-at-will contracts." I doubt this to be true. – Rolen Koh May 6 '16 at 5:29

That's a terrible situation to be in, however you have to be careful on how you go about trying to fix it.

First of all, you have to consider that management may not be aware that the lead developer's set-up time is significantly longer than it should be. You'd be surprised how ignorant of development needs, time frames, and practices most managers are. You also have no idea what excuses the senior dev might be feeding them.

In other words, if you simply walk up to your manager and start complaining about him you don't know what to expect. Most likely you'll simply make yourself look very bad. There's very few scenarios in which I would recommend walking up and complaining about a fellow employee - especially before he's even had a chance to sink his teeth into the project. You want to avoid coming across as making a snap judgement about your new project leader.

Second -and this ties in with not understanding development- your managers may not understand how much they're demanding of you.

In this situation you need to calmly, politely, and matter-of-factly inform them of the reality of the situation. Simply ask to see your manager in private:

hey boss, I know that we need X, Y, and Z implements ASAP, but I have some concerns about being able to pull that off in the given time-frame. Please understand that when the old lead dev left I did my best to pick up the slack and learn the front end systems, but I don't have enough experience to be an expert yet. Realistically, I think I can get X done by next Friday (always double or triple your expected delivery times), and Y in another week. But I can't get Z done in the next 2 weeks. Maybe we could discuss the project priorities and I can get started on the most urgent things first.

and then you can be sneaky and shine a light on the new senior dev:

Maybe if Joe got his development environment set up this week he could handle feature Z while I work on X and Y! (you're just being helpful, not pointing fingers!)

Depending on your manager's reaction you can decide whether you want to start looking for a new job or not.

If your boss goes off the rails, update your resume/linked-in and start looking. If he understands that there's only so much you can do, then consider sticking around until the 2 year mark, as it will look better on your resume.

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